News ID: 199036
Published: 0248 GMT August 20, 2017

Arsenal stunned by Stoke

Arsenal stunned by Stoke
Jesé Rodríguez celebrates scoring the winner against Arsenal on his debut for Stoke City in bet365 Stadium on August 19, 2017.
CARL RECINE/REUTERS

“We were quite good last year on corners and I believe overall that, with a bit of work, we can get that out of our system,” admitted Arsene Wenger after Arsenal’s opening day Premier League victory over Leicester.

The 4-3 comeback provided a glimpse of what most Gooners have become accustomed to over the years; excitement in attack, fear in defense and a continuous sense that their team is about to concede when the opposition is in Arsenal's half, goal.com reported.

Saturday evening's game against Stoke conjured up more of the same as far as Arsenal was concerned, with Wenger’s side dominant in possession yet unable to finish the chances it created before being caught out defensively.

Danny Welbeck was wasteful in front of goal and Alexandre Lacazette was unlucky to have a second-half goal ruled out for offside, but it is Stoke’s Jese Rodriguez who comes away with the headlines after finishing neatly past Petr Cech shortly after the break to hand Stoke a 1-0 win.

The questionable decision to play Hector Bellerin at left wing-back almost paid off as his deft touches and superb linkup play contributed to a swarm of first-half attacks.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain put in an equally good shift at right wing-back, but it is evident that Wenger still doesn’t know what his best starting XI is.

But, whether it’s Nacho Monreal alongside Rob Holding or Per Mertesacker, and indecision over who should start at wing-back, these are the issues which should have been resolved in preseason.

Arsenal has had ample time to bring in top-quality additions this summer and the arrivals of Lacazette and Sead Kolasinac have certainly made a difference – but the Gunners need more.

The pursuit of Thomas Lemar has died down due to Monaco’s reluctance to sell yet there is belief that Wenger will make a final attempt to land his man before the transfer window closes at the end of the month.

"We have 33 players at the moment and that's too many. I'm not thinking about buying players tonight," said Wenger after the game.

His comments suggest Arsenal is now finished in the window which will almost certainly ignite the fury of fans who believe Arsenal is still one or two players short from competing.

There can be no question what Arsenal needs right now more than any new signing, and that is the club’s Chilean talisman Alexis Sanchez.

He’s expected to be fully fit for the Gunners’ trip to Liverpool next week and the infectious work ethic and ability to create something out of nothing makes him the ideal man to fire up Arsenal’s attack when the going gets tough away from home.

Arsenal had no trouble in scoring four against a shoddy Leicester defense, but when faced with the man-mountains of Kurt Zouma and Ryan Shawcross, it was another story completely.

New signings and the return of Alexis are imperative if Arsenal does not want a repeat of last season's fifth-place finish.

   
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