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Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Ozil stars on home debut as Arsenal beat Stoke

Mesut Ozil put in his best Arsenal performance yet as he set up all three of Arsenal's goals in their win over Stoke on Sunday. All of the Gunners goals came from set-pieces as they seemed to beat Stoke at their own game. It was a fairly average performance in which Stoke had most of the ball in the second half. The match saw Aaron Ramsey, a man in the form of his life, come up against the side in which he broke his leg. It was the perfect game for the Welshman to score in and he did indeed do that. The other goals were scored by defenders as Mertesacker and Sagna netted rare goals. Despite Ozil setting up all three goals the unsung hero was Mathieu Flamini. He grabbed the man of the match award for a fine performance in the middle of the park. There was one change from the side that had beaten Marseille in the week. Theo Walcott missed out through injury as 18 year old Serge Gnabry started for the first time in a Premier League fixture. Nicklas Bendtner, a man back from a troublesome loan spell with Juventus, was on the bench. Meanwhile Mikel Arteta made his comeback from injury as he came on late in the second half.
All three of Ozil's assists came from set-pieces.
Within the first 4 minutes Arsenal were ahead. Jack Wilshere was fouled which resulted in a free-kick. Ozil swung it low towards the back post in which Begovic pushed it away. It fell only as far as Aaron Ramsey who slid home for his seventh of the campaign. The goal provided an eruption of noise around the Emirates as Ramsey silenced the Stoke fans.

Stoke's first opportunity came when Adam's cross was headed away by Giroud. It was then met by Cameron but Gibbs managed to clear it out for a corner.

Gibbs was then to turn defence into attack. Flamini fed him on the edge of the area but the left back tried an optimistic effort with his right foot which soared high and wide.

Minutes later Stoke found an equaliser. Artnautovich's effort hit the post and then it came back out to Geoff Cameron who slotted the ball past the despairing dive of Wojciech Szczesny.

Just after the half hour mark the Gunners were almost back in front. Ozil's corner was met by Mertesacker but Pieters managed to head the ball away.

The same corner routine then ended up in a goal. Ozil found Mertesacker again but this time, instead of finding a defender, it nestled in the corner of the net.

Giroud and Wilshere then played a nice one-two on the edge of the area but Begovic managed to come out and prevent the Frenchman from getting a shot away.

Ozil was looking for yet another assist as he cut inside from the right and found Gnabry but his first time shot went wide.

The score at half time was 2-1 to Arsenal.

The first chance after the restart fell to Serge Gnabry. He drifted inside from the right and then struck a low shot with his weaker left foot but it was straight at Begovic.

Gnabry was then involved again as he was completely wiped out by Huth but managed to find Giroud just before that. Giroud then ignored Ozil to the left of him who was in acres of space and saw a shot tipped over the bar instead.

Oliver Giroud was looking to score in his fifth successive league game but he saw another shot go over the bar after great work in the middle from Ozil.

Just after the hour mark Ozil had a chance of his own as he drove the ball with his right foot but it resulted in an easy save for Begovic.

Stoke City then found space to work a shot as Wilson drove an effort from range which swerved but forced Szczesny into making a save down at his near post.

With Stoke looking the most likely to score after a period of pressure of their own Arsenal all but sealed the points. Ozil's free-kick was met by Sagna whose looping header made it 3-1.

With 2 minutes left Ramsey came close to adding a second but his fizzing shot was tipped over by Begovic.

The final score finished Arsenal 3-1 Stoke.

The teams lineups:

Arsenal: Szczesny, Sagna, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Gibbs, Flamini, Ramsey, Wilshere(73), Ozil(80), Gnabry(73), Giroud.
Subs: Viviano, Vermaelen, Monreal(73), Jenkinson, Arteta(80), Ryo(73), Bendtner. 

Stoke: Begovic, Wilson, Huth, Shawcross, Pieters(67), Nzonzi, Adam(59), Cameron, Walters, Artnautovic, Jones(75).
Subs: Sorenson, Whelan, Palacios(67), Ireland(59), Etherington, Pennant(75), Crouch.  

My man of the match: Mathieu Flamini

Referee: Mike Dean
Attendance: 60,002

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