Have you ever watched that show based in North London? The one where an opposition goalkeeper comes to the Emirates stadium with his team and then plays an absolute blinder, keeping out a host of chances from the home team? Yeah well it replayed again yesterday afternoon, this time the keeper in question was Stoke City's young stopper Jack Butland.
A combination of wonderful saves and poor finishing left Arsenal fans, staff and players scratching heads before the half hour mark. The first 8-10 minutes was an onslaught and we really should have scored three goals before the tenth minute. Alexis Sanchez had rattled the post twice while Walcott had missed two great chances, one a near post slice and the other a header over the bar when he really should have scored.
While the finishing touch was frustrating to see, it is very encouraging to see the fluency in our game look so good after an international break. The movement and speed of our passing completely destroyed Stoke City's game plan. Whatever it may have been.
It was interesting to hear Arsène Wenger talk up Walcott's movement as a tool to move around Stoke's deep defence. Interesting because I wrote pre match that the deep defence would not suit Theo so that just proves how much I know.
Whether or not our chances were directly down to Theo's movement, the team looked very creative and inventive. I enjoyed watching Alexis Sanchez, he seemed far more rounded in his performance. His mixture of beating his man and finding the pass seemed far more balanced than usual. His driving runs inside from the left caused Stoke problems for the entire match. His link up with Özil seemed much improved also.
But I would say that the waves of attacks were built upon our excellent defensive performances from the team. Koscielny, Gabriel, Coquelin and Alexis were key to pinching the ball back often within seconds of Stoke regaining possession.
It was a superb Francis Coquelin tackle in the middle of the pitch that started the move for our opener. Sprinting after Arnautovic and then launching into a fantastic clean yet aggressive tackle. Özil picked up the ball and launched a £42.5m pass through to Walcott who darted in behind, I am not sure if Walcott's first touch actually took him into the direction he intended, regardless of intent the ball ended up in a perfect position, allowing Walcott's body to shield the ball from the defender and he then guided the ball past the advancing Butland.
The Walcott striker debate will continue and I am on record in saying that I haven't been convinced to date of him in that position but what is extremely promising is the amount of chances he is getting, not just yesterday but at Newcastle also. His finishing is currently nowhere near his best but we know he has more in his locker so hopefully games and confidence will sort that problem out. You get the feeling that Walcott will be given a little run in the side and it will be down to him to take that chance. Maybe his goal is just the start. It wouldn't be the first time a player changed the opinion of supporters.
Walcott was replaced by Oliver Giroud late in the second half and Giroud quickly missed a similar chance to the one he missed for France, dragging his shot wide after a terrible Stoke City mix up. But Giroud did not have to wait for long to make amends. The excellent Santi Cazorla floated in a free kick and Giroud steered the ball in with his head for the second goal and the clincher.
We deserved the safety net of the second goal and hopefully it will boost Giroud who has probably had a difficult week. In stoppage time he should have been awarded a penalty after Bardsley pulled him down in the box.
After a slow start to the season we find ourselves on ten points and not yet clicking in attack. Our defence looks back to how it should so hopefully we have good things to look forward to.
We will more than likely get a good gauge of where we are over the next three tough away fixtures in Zagreb, Chelsea and Tottenham. Come through those undefeated and with an improvement in our finishing and we will be in good shape. Let's see what happens.
Right, check out the post match Q&A with a collection of Gooners. Podcast up today or tomorrow, you will be able to find it on the Podcast page