Three things learnt as Stoke City claimed a shock 1-0 victory over Arsenal
Jese Rodriguez enjoyed a stunning debut by scoring the only goal of the game as Stoke City shocked Arsenal in the Premier League’s evening game.
The Potters had been massive underdogs beforehand, but they found a way to win despite having only 23 per cent of the possession.
Goalkeeper Jack Butland made several fine saves to keep the home side in contention before Jese struck the decisive blow shortly after the second-half restart.
Arsenal do not have fond memories of the Bet365 Stadium and this was another forgettable occasion for them to add to their collection. Here are three things we learned.
A debut to remember for Jese
He only officially joined on a season-long loan from Paris Saint-Germain on Wednesday, but Stoke manager Mark Hughes had no hesitation in throwing in Jese at the deep end.
The former Real Madrid winger repaid his boss’s faith by scoring on his debut as the Potters earned their first points of the season. After latching on to Saido Berahino’s pass, the 24-year-old showed great composure to slide the ball home from a tight angle, much to the delight of the home faithful.
Goals have been hard to come by in recent times for Stoke, so Hughes will be delighted with the newcomer’s immediate impact. Jese has always been a talented player but suffered a huge setback when he sustained a serious knee injury before the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
Could Stoke prove to be the perfect place to resurrect his career?
Arsenal’s Bet365 Stadium hoodoo strikes again
Arsenal’s poor record at the Bet365 Stadium is usually blamed on their failure to withstand Stoke’s physicality, about which Wenger has often complained.
This time, however, it was due to their inability to translate possession and territorial dominance into goals. They managed 18 shots during the 90 minutes – six of which were on target – but could not find a way past goalkeeper Butland.
Alexandre Lacazette, Arsenal’s big-money summer signing, had a goal chalked off for offside which would have levelled the scoreline, but this was not to be their day.
The Gunners have too many days like this and last season it cost them a Champions League position. After netting four goals in their opening fixture against Leicester City, drawing a blank would not have been in Wenger’s mind.
Butland enhances his England prospects
As referenced above, Butland turned in a fine performance in front of the BT Sport cameras, which would most certainly have caught the eye of England manager Gareth Southgate.
Indeed, the former Birmingham City gloveman was named man of the match for a string of excellent saves, particularly in the first half when the game was goalless.
Last season was practically a write-off for Butland, who spent 12 months on the sidelines after breaking his ankle for England against Germany in March 2016. It cost him his place at last year’s European Championship, just when he was putting pressure on Joe Hart.
Butland is set to be named in the England squad for the upcoming World Cup qualifiers against Malta and Slovakia – and on this evidence he may well take the number one jersey from Hart.