Arsene Wenger could be accused of not getting the balance or approach to some games quite right this season and it has cost points. He has persisted with the same approach and formation, as well as personal, injuries permitting, even though the opposition have many different approaches. Players like Jack Wilshere for example and Santi Cazorla have been played out of position to accommodate them at times with the balance being adversely affected. Yesterday’s game versus Newcastle required a change in formation largely due to injuries to key players but the effect was positive and effective.

Perhaps the Stoke game has shaken the team up a bit but they all played well and their finishing was good which is key but the formation helped as it played to the team’s current strengths. The best team available to him was played as close to their best positions as possible. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is a very versatile player who played centrally against Galatasaray and on the flank today. In both roles he is equally effective with his drive and work rate. 

Two good wins in a week sort of puts us back on track. But let’s not get carried away.

Galatasaray showed why they finished bottom of the group and Newcastle lacked any sort of threat in the final third.

Unlike previous games this season, a bright start was rewarded with an early goal. If there’s a criticism, we didn’t finish the game off and could have been made to pay if it weren’t for Szczesny’s double save.

That said, there was good tempo going forward – Alexis, Giroud and Welbeck look really good together and the increasingly influential Ox means Walcott may struggle to nail down a regular starting berth when he returns (just ask crowd favourite Podolski).

Looking to rectify yet another defeat away at Stoke, Arsenal looked full of energy and ambition as they comfortably beat an in form Newcastle side 4-1, who are currently the only team to beat leaders Chelsea this season in all competitions.

The first half started brightly with Arsenal dominating the play, having 78% possession 20 minutes of the game. The deadlock was broken 15 minutes in to the game, Giroud scoring past Alnwick with a powerful header following some good build up play and delightful cross from Alexis Sanchez.

Welbeck then thought he had doubled the Gunners lead, however the ref disallowed the goal for an alleged foul which looked very soft on the replay. Both sides had strong penalty appeals as Olivier Giroud was tripped inside the box and a Newcastle cross was blocked by the hand of Danny Welbeck, but neither were given.   

This season Arsenal have been continually repeating mistakes of the past even some quite resent ones.

In this game they started slowly against a Stoke team that have always known how to be tough at the Brittania Stadium. Arsenal needed to be tough back to counteract this strength and work rate they are famous for in these games.

Bellerin's inclusion was perhaps a bit forced by the injuries lately and he was often left wanting for strength, and Wilshere and Ozil being out meant that Santi Cazorla was a central figure but he has been quite lightweight in recent big games.

Q: What do you get when you cross a kamikaze team selection with abject mediocrity?

A: Yet another defeat away to Stoke City

When will the testicular descent of the Arsenal board occur? When will they finally have the cojones to draw to a close a ten year embarrassment of zero tactics, zero motivation, zero touchline passion.

Wenger, for many years, was able to hide behind the leadership of Adams, Keown, Campbell, Wright, Vieira, Bergkamp, Henry et al. The last of our legends has long since retired and with it any pretence Wenger had to being a world class manager. The reality is he has been found to be shockingly deficient. A world class manager would have won the PL on at least three occasions with the teams he had over the last 10 years.