Arsenal vs Stoke City. 12 September 2015. Emirates Stadium.
Arsenal face Stoke City at the Emirates this weekend and will be looking to get their third win of the season against a team that has become a perennial pitfall for the Gunners.
We look at three things that Arsenal must do to take all three points from this difficult Stoke City side.
1. Quick passing and high pressing tactics should be deployed
The Stoke City team Arsenal are about to meet are no longer the long ball, bullying team we used to know. They now employ possession play under Mark Hughes, so much that against Liverpool in the absence of Ryan Shawcross, he opted to use Cameron in Center back which made his defence – that also featured former Liverpool right back Glen Johnson, much more ball playing than physical.
So we can expect not to meet a team that would sit back and use long balls, and as such we can’t allow them space to make the threat of Arnautovic and Shaqiri assist Walters and Diouf upfront.
So we would need to press them from their own box and close down spaces while making quick passes when we gain possession.
2 Arsenal need pace on the right flank
This has become something we say almost every game, and it shouldn’t have been a talking point at all if Wenger hadn’t been repeatedly stubborn about sacrificing the pace and power of Chamberlain on the right flank for Ramsey and that now brings us to how it would affect us against Stoke.
Eric Peiters is not the fastest left back around, he would be a piece of cake for Chamberlain but a huge task for Ramsey, combined with the fact that the threat of Afellay would be so much on Bellerin if Chamberlain doesn’t start because Ramsey doesn’t track back well enough like a natural winger would.
This has been a major problem for us since the start of the season. Now with Ozil coming back we hope Wenger would finally brave up and make the decision between Santi and Ramsey and use a natural winger on that flank, Joel Campbell is also an option.
3 Paulista over Mertesacker
Gabriel Paulista has so far staked a strong claim for a starting shirt or at least more tactical rotation, and this is going to be one of those tactical rotation opportunities.
Peter Crouch is very likely not to start against Arsenal, removing the threat of his height, that leaves us with the threat of the mobility of Diouf and Bojan or Walters or Odemwinge, this is where Paulista has the edge over Mertesacker, given that the German hasn’t always been the most mobile of defenders.
We now we have a more mobile option in Gabriel, we should use it, and allow Mertesacker handle the more physical and less mobile attacks.
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