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Stoke City 1-0 Arsenal: 3 talking points

Sunday 20th August 2017
On Match Day Two, the Gunners faced one of the season's toughest matches. It did not go well, the final score at the Bet365 reading Stoke City 1-0 Arsenal.

Arsene Wenger made two changes to the team that beat Leicester City 4-3 on a richly entertaining opening night for the Premier League. Shkodran Mustafi returned from injury for Rob Holding. Aaron Ramsey replaced Mohammed Elneny.

Mark Hughes returned the favour by ringing two changes of his own. Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting made his debut, as did Jese Rodriguez.

What followed was a game that some, though not all, expected. A debut goal for Jese Rodriguez was enough to separate the two teams in a hotly contested affair. The Potters ran out 1-0 victors, harking back to the unassailable fortress days when their ground was known as the Britannia. The Gunners fell short once again under Arsene Wenger.

Here are 3 talking points.

Hector Bellerin excels at LWB

The Spaniard is already known to be a very offensive-minded right-back. On the left side, he took his attacking contribution to new heights. Perhaps it was chemistry with Danny Welbeck and Sead Kolasinac. In any case, Arsenal's movement down the left offered its only hope in an otherwise dire performance.
The 22-year old tormented Stoke's Mame Biram Diouf throughout the game. He constantly got in behind the right wingback, nullifying the Senegalese's attacking threat. Bellerin's performance was so encouraging Wenger took off Kolasinac when he switched to a back four.

Stokeare a finely balanced team

The three at the back sensation continues to sweep the Premier League. Mark Hughes joined the growing list of managers to deploy a three-centre-half formation. Stoke lined up with a quick front three, a competent midfield pivot, two industrious wing-backs and a strong back three. The team possessed the perfect blend of pace, trickery, tactical nous, strength, and work rate.
The 3-4-2-1 suited the Potters to a tee. Every player showcased his strengths. The system made them hard to break down, difficult to stop on the counter, and even more so to compete against in the air. If Sparky's squad can retain their compact shape throughout the season, they'll be a problem for every team in the league.

The3-4-3 can't save Arsenal's makeshift defence

Arsenal have now conceded 4 goals in two games against Leicester City and Stoke City. This is hardly world class competition. Using the same system last season, the Gunners conceded 7 goals in ten games. Something doesn't add up. Questions must be asked of the players chosen for Arsenal's makeshift back three.

A defensive line consisting of two left backs playing at centre half was never going to work. It leaves the team unbalanced, lopsided. Why play two players where they're uncomfortable when Calum Chambers and Rob Holding are available?
Mark Hughes anticipated this inept approach from Wenger, lining up three forwards to run one-v-one at each defender. Jese, Choupo-Moting, and Berahinho thrived on the challenge, running Wenger's uncomfortable back three ragged all game.

Nacho Monreal, as the middle centre half charged with organising the line, failed to position himself properly on several occasions. His tendency to surge forward left his partners exposed in half spaces, with Stoke able to run in behind.
Mathaeus Abuwa

Arsenal fan with ample amounts of passion for both Cristiano Ronaldo & Real Madrid. I'm one of those bandwagonist hipster fans that will claim to know everything about football, but only watches the El Clasico outside of the Premier League. Forgive me, I'm trying. Oh yeah, #WengerOut. 

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