Arsenal vs. Stoke: The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly

I CAN SEE THE TOP OF CROUCH'S HEAD, I THINK - Michael Regan

All the little stars wanna be like Clint / They all wanna be like Clint / But I wanna be like Lee van Cleef

[Ed. note: sorry for the lateness of this post--been a bit crazy lately!]

Arsenal played and defeated Stoke on Saturday. We are writing a post based on a movie where one of the fellows is described as "ugly". I hear you tittering in the back, there. Calm down.

Away we go!

The Good

- Laurent Koscielny's marshaling of Peter Crouch, Human Mantis and Destroyer of Galaxies. Stoke's attack on Saturday was about as ambitious as a krill in the middle of a pod of blue whales, I'll grant you that. One shouldn't read too much into one game from the errant Koscielny against that kind of attack, but the few times that he was called upon to keep Peter Crouch and, to a lesser extent, Jonathan Walters at bay, he did what he needed to do. For a defender that's had his share of derps this year, we'll take it.

- Arsenal's center forward, that French dude. If you had to spend 90 minutes trying to do things while Ryan Shawcross and Robert Huth tried to demonstrate their alternate theory that solids can be compressed, would you produce flicked-on headers and passes of the quality that Olivier Giroud did? He missed a chance, to be sure, but the million other things he's starting to do very well are handy indeed. So handsome.

- Arsenal's new left back. Kieran Gibbs is out for a while, so Arsene Wenger bumps up his planned summer signing, a left back that NOBODY had linked Arsenal with AT ALL (hello, press!), and tells him "by the way, you're starting tomorrow against, uh, well, Stoke". And aside from two minor errors, Nacho Monreal slips right into the side like a pair of perfectly broken-in blue jeans. I think I have that backwards. No matter. He overlapped, he crossed viciously, he dribbled past his marker, he held off Walters physically. A strong debut.

The Bad

- Arsenal's movement. Again, it was Stoke, who are set up specifically to deny Arsenal space in which to move, but holy moly was it frustrating at times in the first half on Saturday. Abou Diaby stood for ten seconds at one point with the ball, not moving, while the rest of the team didn't move either, in Stoke's third. Stoke are very good at their jobs defending, but Arsenal will have to find some quick passing triangles in the back of the cupboard here soonish.

- Michael Owen punching Mikel Arteta. Nobody seems to care, though, least of all the FA. It might be for the best for what was a pretty minor frustration punch, but strictly speaking, that's a three-match ban. "Strictly speaking" and the FA are like oil and water, though.

The Ugly

- Nahhhhh...nah. Nah. Nope.

What do you think? What were your good, bad, and ugly from Saturday?

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