Arsenal earned what in the end was a comprehensive victory, but we were made to sweat for our three points, as Stoke put in a shift to frustrate us for the majority of our Premiership match.

Two goals from Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and a welcome goal for Alexandre Lacazette sealed our win, but it was anything but as convincing as the final scoreline suggests. Stoke had a gameplan and sat back to force us to try risky passes, which allowed the Potters to break and pose us problems.

The selection for our team saw some rotation with Thursday’s Europa League game against CSKA Moscow in mind. Jack Wilshere was given a surprise start, and Laurent Koscielny was also rested, with Calum Chambers given the start. Mohamed Elneny was named ahead of Granit Xhaka in midfield, but it meant our bench was strong, with the likes of Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Xhaka, Koscielny and Lacazette able to be called on.

The first half was an exercise in dropped possession, as time and again we gifted the ball to the away side. Our midfield were being pressed as were our defence, as Stoke were sensing that we were obviously there for the taking. Paul Lambert had set his stall out, and we were looking a little alarmed when Shaqiri was being given the ball.

There was a premium on chances though, mainly due to the lack of efficiency in both sides passing. We were trying to get through ridiculously tiny spaces and surprisingly for Stoke, we were dealing well with their counters. The only chance of note came after Jack Butland flapped at a ball and Aaron Ramsey was quickest to react but his effort hit the top of the crossbar.

The half came and went and was met with a chorus of boos, although it wasn’t universal around the ground.

The second half was a different story, as we came out with a little more purpose than the first half - although that wasn’t difficult. We started to show more pressure in the final third and Jack and Aaron were industrious in getting the ball forward. The problem was though, our secret weapon was thus far neutralised. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang on the shoulder of the last man, if implemented correctly, would be pretty unstoppable. the majority of the time however, Stoke had at least seven players inside their own 18 yard box, and were reliant on Shaqiri and Allen to work together to set Biram Diouf free.

We were doing a pretty good job of keeping that quiet though, aside from a few hairy moments where their press got us into some tight spaces. The time was ticking down and we brought on Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Alexandre Lacazette to give our attack more power - and it worked.

On the 74th minute, Mesut Ozil cut in and a slight shift of weight allowed him to cut through a gap. Martins-Indi had other ideas, and his close presence meant that as Ozil’s foot drew back to strike, it hit the Dutch defenders leg, causing him to fall over. Craig Pawson was the ref and didn’t hesitate to point to the spot, where Aubameyang sent Butland the wrong way.

We kept the pressure up and ten minutes later, we had killed off the contest. It was that man Aubameyang again, as he lashed home from a near post flick on.

The Gabon striker was on a hat-trick, and three minutes after he got his second, he had the chance for a third. Lacazette ran into the box, closely followed by Badou Ndiaye, who needlessly shoulder-charged the Frenchman and gave away a stonewall penalty.

Perhaps the best part of this game? The fact that Aubameyang passed up his chance of a hat-trick to give his team mate a chance to get back on the goal trail after a lengthy injury. LAcazette stepped up and recreated his fellow striker’s effort, low into the corner.

The final whistle blew soon after, and we had another win, and we had toughed it out. It gives us a good platform for Thursday’s Europa League tie against CSKA Moscow and also, gives our players a little more confidence.

Not only that, Stoke are a little nearer to the drop...

We need to keep this up, no room for mistakes now. #UTA