Final Score – Stoke City 0-0 Arsenal
Jack Butland – 8
In a tale of two goalkeepers at differing ends of their careers he once again proved his credentials as a top Premier League shot-stopper. Olivier Giroud was denied with excellent saves which matched the heroics of Petr Cech at the other end. With these types of performances there are set to be some hungry sharks in the transfer market circling around the youngster.
Glen Johnson – 7
Got forward throughout but did not create many openings for his teammates as he has done regularly in recent weeks. Although the ball was given away at times, his assurance at the back making intelligent tackles and interceptions did emphasise how useful his experience has been for Stoke this season.
Ryan Shawcross (c) – 7
Put in another solid performance looking strong aerially when tested by the Gunners, giving Giroud minimal scoring opportunities. Good display by the captain overall which bodes well for the rest of the season if his team are to reach their objectives.
Phillip Wollschied – 6
On the whole had a steady game staying tight to his central defensive partner but was clumsy when Arsenal were dangerous failing to deal with their intricate play. Debatable but could have given away a penalty.
Erik Pieters – 6
A good attacking outlet on numerous occasions, however his delivery was mostly poor. Had a sharp game defensively dealing well with Arsenal’s fluid movement in attacking areas.
Glen Whelan – 7
Kept things ticking as always in the middle of the park when Stoke had possession. His passing was accurate allowing Stoke to build attacks, especially in the first half. With his timely blocks and coolness in tight areas of the field this calming influence meant Jack Butland had few saves to make when Arsenal were dominant in the latter stages.
Ibrahim Afellay – 6
The ex-Barcelona player had an effective game not just staying limited to a holding role as has been the case during most of his time in the Potteries. Played with a greater attacking purpose moving the ball forward quickly and was even a threat himself.
Jon Walters – 6
Always can guarantee one hundred per cent effort from this man and again worked tirelessly. Has been mostly out of the picture for Stoke this season but has still scored important goals, putting a real shift in when called upon. The attacker did have a job on his hands defensively with Johnson at right back being often dragged inside by the movement of the Arsenal frontmen but was up to this challenge. When going forward despite winning headers to hold up the ball failed to cause Arsenal enough problems.
Bojan Krkic – 5
A bit off par in this game. Mostly a passenger for Stoke, getting easily shoved off the ball on far too many occasions. His fragility when in possession meant he had no real impact on proceedings. Had a few shots on goal but overall did not have a great day at the office.
Marko Arnautovic – 6
A worthy candidate for Stoke’s player of the season had a quieter game then usual for the prestigious standards he has already set himself so far in this campaign. Worked hard throughout at both ends of the pitch but only had one clear sight of goal which was blazed over the bar under pressure. Struggled to have a significant influence on the game.
Joselu – 6
Many Stoke fan’s would have been wondering what all the hype was about when the spaniard was bought from Hannover in the summer. Up until the busy Christmas period the jury was still out on whether Joselu would cut it in the premier league as he was often looking a stranded figure up top. In contrast to then, the forward is now having more of an involvement in games. Had some neat touches on the ball and carved out a good chance for himself effeciently getting the ball out of his feet to test Cech from range. On a day where Stoke had few clear-cut opportunities and both sides defended well he could not really get into this game though.
(Bojan – 64) Mame Biram Diouf – 5
Came on in the second period replacing the ineffective Bojan but had limited opportunities to impress offensively with Arsenal in control of the game at the time. Assisted at the back but has not looked sharp for most of the season given his lack of consistent playing time.
(Arnautovic – 87) Charlie Adam – 6
Despite being on the pitch for under five minutes his fresh legs offered more potency to Stoke’s attack. Provided Walters with a decent chance in the closing stages and could have made something happen for the home side if brought on earlier. Even so the midfielder’s run out should not this time cause too much of a selection headache for Mark Hughes’.
(Affelay – 88) Marko Van Ginkel – 4
A difficult start for the on loan Chelsea midfielder to his Stoke life. Slotted in nicely in midfield but hard to judge the Dutchman’s performance based on a few minutes. Unless there are enough injuries within the squad he looks set to be keeping the bench warm for the remainder of the campaign.