Arsenal were able to all but erase the memory of their limp defensive display against Stoke earlier this season by recording a comfortable victory over Mark Hughes’ side at the Emirates Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
Laurent Koscienly opened the scoring with a first-half header from Alexis Sanchez’s cross, while the Chilean doubled the advantage before the interval with a neat finish past Asmir Begovic from a tight angle.
Sanchez further embarrassed Begovic in the second period when his free-kick squeezed between the wall and into the back of the net via the hand of the Stoke goalkeeper, and there was to be no consolation for the visitors.
Arsenal climb into the Premier League’s top five with these three points, and their Champions League ambitions are back on track once more.
Here’s how Arsene Wenger’s side rated…
David Ospina - 6.5
Hard to offer an accurate rating for a player who barely touched the ball, although there was one slight handling error in the first-half.
Mathieu Debuchy (no rating)
Lasted only 13 minutes until he was removed from action with a suspected dislocated shoulder. Given his lack of action we shan’t be rating the Frenchman, but his replacement Hector Bellerin gets a solid 7.
Laurent Koscielny - 8
An excellent day at the office with a goal and a clean sheet for the France international. Arsenal tend to look much more secure when he plays.
Per Mertesacker - 7
Had Peter Crouch to contend with all afternoon and, unlike at the Britannia Stadium, was able to deal with the aerial threat posed by the Stoke centre-forward.
Nacho Monreal - 6.5
Took one in the chops from Crouch which left him bloody and bruised, and proved a worthy replacement for the injured Kieran Gibbs.
Tomas Rosicky - 8
Tomas Rosicky looks fit and confident and, when he’s on song, Arsenal tend to tick. Got the assist for Sanchez’s first.
Francis Coquelin - 7.5
Enjoying a good run in the team having started each of Arsenal’s last Premier League matches. Will not be the long-term option for Arsene Wenger, but his performances have been encouraging.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain - 7.5
Was busy and energetic, as he always is, and broke through the Stoke midfield on a number of occasions. Subbed for Theo Walcott in the second-half.
Santi Cazorla - 7.5
Less influential than he has been in recent weeks but still a key performer. It will be interesting to see if he keeps his place when there is a fully fit squad to choose from.
Alexis Sanchez - 9.5 (MOTM)
An assist and two goals. Was the best player on the pitch by some distance.
It was always going to be a tough afternoon for Olivier Giroud and he did well to keep his discipline against Ryan Shawcross. Drew a good save from Asmir Begovic, and was replaced by Mesut Ozil late one.
Hector Bellerin - 7
A solid and confident performance from the youngster.
Theo Walcott - 5
Still looked very rusty. Woeful attempt at goal when put clean through by Sanchez.
Mesut Ozil - 7
Showed some nimble footwork and very nice touches on his return.
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