Arsenal have sensationally returned in the ‘top four’ hunt following a series of positive outcomes and closed down the gap with fourth-placed Liverpool.
Wenger had a massive setback in Champions League following a disastrous defeat against Bayern Munich but the Gunners’ boss has guided them to the Emirates FA Cup final where they will encounter Premier League champions and bitter rivals Chelsea at Wembley Stadium.
Although they won only once at Stoke in last eight league meetings, the Gunners’ snatched a huge 4-1 victory against the Potters this evening and get closer to a Champions League place piling pressure on inconsistent Liverpool.
Below are the Gunners players rated from the game.
Petr Cech: 7
Made a few fine stops in the second half when Stoke opened the game up in search of goals. Was unlucky to concede from a controversial Peter Crouch header which came off his hand.
Rob Holding: 8
Another outstanding display by the youngster who started on the right of Arsenal’s three-man backline. Did well to contain Mame Diouf and later Saido Berhaino. Pulled off a few crucial blocks and clearances.
Laurent Koscielny: 7
Led his defence from the middle and impressed with his aerial presence and passing skills.
Shkodran Mustafi: 7.5
Reckless at times, however, the German international had a solid defensive display against the Potters as he registered a few crucial blocks, tackles, clearances and also won the most number of duels.
Hector Bellerin: 7.5
Started the game in place of injured Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and marked his return with a stellar performance down the right-hand flank. Troubled Erik Pieters with his blistering speed and also registered two assists to set up Olivier Giroud in the first half and Alexis Sanchez in second.
Francis Coquelin: 7.5
Worked hard in the middle of the park as he helped his defence by winning possession on repeated occasions and impressed with his passing skills.
Granit Xhaka: 7
Lost possession a couple of times, otherwise an impressive display by the Swiss international who managed the most number of successful passes during the game.
Nacho Monreal: 7.5
Settled in perfectly in left wingback role as he kept on making forward runs and linked up well with Alexis Sanchez that caused a lot of troubles for Stoke’s Glen Johnson. Was unlucky in first half as his header struck the woodwork.
Mesut Ozil: 7.5
The German international impressed with his skills runs and scored a fine goal to double the lead early into the second half after picking up Alexis Sanchez’s perfect through ball. Was taken off to be replaced by Danny Welbeck towards the end.
Alexis Sanchez: 8.5
The Chilean shows his quality yet again as he kept on pressing upfront and broke the Stoke back-line repeatedly before setting up Ozil’s goal and then he himself scored one that wrapped the game up for his side. Was taken off after his goal (with a suspected knock) to be replaced by Aaron Ramsey.
Olivier Giroud: 8
The Frenchman netted a brace. He broke the deadlock late in the first half as he tapped in from Bellerin’s cross. Also, scored the final goal of the night with a powerful left-footed strike that found the top corner. Was replaced by Theo Walcott in closing minutes.
Aaron Ramsey: 7
Impressed with his channel runs and made an impact straight off the bench as he beat Shawcross to tee up Giroud with a low ball.
Danny Welbeck: NA
Played too little to warrant a rating.
Theo Walcott: NA
Played too little to warrant a rating.
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