Once again Arsenal fans went home disappointed. This time the Gunners have lost against Stoke City 1-0, but we have to say that both luck and in some moments referee Andre Marriner were against them.
Jese Rodriguez had a memorable debut for the Potters in this event, and right after the second half has started, Paris-Saint Germain player on loan scored a decisive goal.
Arsenal had several huge chances, but Jack Butland was excellent, and without the doubt, Stoke City's goalkeeper was the man of the match.
Let's go from the start.

Game recap

Arsene Wenger started this game in a 3-4-2-1 formation, and from the outset, it was evident that Arsenal will have problems when defending counter-attacks. Jese made a run in the 4th minute of the game, on the left side, but Petr Cech was calm and denied that effort.
Since that moment, Gunners are taking over the initiative, and they are dominating the pitch during the entire first 45 minutes. But eventually, there were no goals despite a few good chances. The first one came in the 18th minute when Oxlade-Chamberlain made a fantastic lob pass over the entire defensive line of Stoke to Danny Welbeck who made a shot directly into Butland. Some 9 minutes later a similar situation had happened. Free kick from the left side of the box, high ball from Oxlade-Chamberlain towards Aaron Ramsey who rushed into the goalkeeper area on the far post, but again, the ball was stopped by the exceptional Butland.
The defense on the other side didn't have much job, but when they did, they were very insecure. In the 30th minute, Ryan Shawcross was left alone in the box, but from some 7 meters (20 feet) his header ended above the bar. That could have easily been a goal.
The first half concluded with several more shots from a distance, and the leading man in all Arsenal attacks was Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain who was, in fact, the best player among the guests.
The second period started shockingly for Arsenal fans and players. The defense was caught napping by Saido Behraino and Jese Rodriguez in the 47th minute, and the Potters got what they wanted, a goal from the counter-attack.
Jese passed the ball from the center of the field to Behraino and made a full sprint into the box, where he received it back, on the left side some 5 meters away from Cech who was unable to prevent the execution.
Arsenal defense, and especially Nacho Monreal didn't react appropriately. The Spaniard's reaction was bad because he didn't follow and marked his player. A similar situation had happened in the 61st minute when Behraino managed to cut in front of him and to send a dangerous header which was later denied by Cech.
On the other side, Arsenal didn't have a solution for Stoke's defense. And when they even had a chance, Danny Welbeck's reactions were awful. In the 66th minute he had an excellent chance when he entered the box, and instead of passing the ball to Ramsey he took a terrible shot and made Butland a hero again.Former Manchester United player had one more chance just a few minutes later when Ramsey made a perfect cross pass from the left side. Welbeck was left alone in the middle of the box, and he didn't even properly hit the ball, but instead, it deflected off his shoulder wide over the bar.
Just 5 minutes later Arsenal had a disallowed goal. Alexander Lacazette was one inch behind the defense and one good chance for the Gunners was wasted.We have to say that in both actions Olivier Giroud was involved and that his entering had improved the game up front.
Until the end of the match, the guests were pressuring, but nothing happened.


In the end, Arsenal had in 78% time possession of the ball and made 732 passes, compared to 212 by the hosts. But when we look shots on target we see that the Gunners had 6 and Stoke City only two less. That undoubtedly means that Arsenal lacks proper finishing up front, especially against the teams who are defending. Yesterday, Stoke was dominating in the aerial challenges, and their defense was more powerful in duels. Against defensive minded teams, who have strong and robust players, Giroud is priceless, and he has to start the matches. Dany Welbeck, as the time goes by, is proving to be a good player, but nothing more than that, and he would be an excellent replacement from the bench, but not a starter.
One thing is certain. Alexis Sanchez's absence is making a huge negative impact on this team. Without him, Mesut Ozil is not a half of the player he can be. Simply the German and the Chilean built a fantastic partnership up front, and at this moment Lacazette can't replace the flamboyant forward.
Flamboyancy is the next thing. Except for Oxlade-Chamberlain, no player showed some energy and aggressiveness in the attack and made some one-on-one crosses. In this situations, we think that Giroud would help because Kurt Zouma and the rest of the players would have to double-team him, and that would open a lot of space for others. Lacazette couldn't ''wrestle'' with more bigger players than him. Granit Xhaka totally failed to make a difference in this game. Aron Ramsey was trying, but he couldn't score, and perhaps along with Oxlade-Chamberlain, the Welsh player was the best in Arsenal team.
Now we come to the weakest part of the team. The defense. Monreal is just too slim for the central defender position, and Wenger and the management have to bring some defender who can endure more physical style of play. Kolasinac is still adapting to the Premier League game, and he will need time, which means that Arsenal will have to bring some player who can make an immediate impact. Yes, Laurent Koscielny will be back, and Per Mertesacker too, but having in mind that they are vulnerable to injuries, strong, powerful centre-back, like Zouma, needs to land at Emirates.
Just look how many goals Arsenal has conceded since the start of the preseason until now.
There is no time to waste, the transfer window is closing soon, and the potential replacement for Alexis Sanchez, if he leaves, has to be signed.

Player ratings:
Cech 7,5, Bellerin 6,5, Mustafi 6, Monreal 5,5, Kolasinac 5,5, Oxlade-Chamberlain 7,5, Ramsey 7, Xhaka 5,5, Ozil 6,5, Welbeck 5,5, Lacazette 6
Subs: Giroud 7, Walcott 6, Iwobi 6.
Arsenal Man of the Match: Oxlade-Chamberlain