Of course the way Stoke conduct and have conducted themselves in the past makes this a stand out fixture. Football v Rugby on the opening day of the six nations. Whilst some would try and have you believe Stoke have changed today confirms they haven’t.
A low number of away support, even though tickets were £35, only singing to provoke every now and then. They must be one of the poorest supported sides on the road now? Perhaps it’s their style?
Stoke’s only tactic seemed to be try and find some space in your own half and pump it up to Crouchy. The freak wants everyone to know he’s a skilled player, so why play in a team like this, literally he spent 90 minutes backing into Mertesacker trying and failing to win the ball. God knows what Nacho though of all this? Can you imagine Santi and Mikel trying to explain it to him before the match?
Arsenal put in a determined performance and nobody hid from this one. Walcott was playing again, well the weakest left back in the league, he was passing Wilkinson for fun. Wilkinson spent the afternoon trying to kick Theo. Chris Foy seemed have with that.
Wilshere and Giroud had chances but the shot of the half came from Chambo, Diaby to Wilshere, and Jack with a slick through ball. Begovic confirmed why all the top clubs are looking at him with a big save. He would be Stokes man of the match. Begovic again made a huge save from Koscielny and Chamberlain again was kept at bay.
As the game went on Arsenal cranked up the pressure and Stoke cranked up the dirty tricks. It’s seems acceptable because they are Stoke. Why? Walcott was knocked down off the ball ignored by the ref, but then next time Walcott would win the battle, as he cut inside he was lunged at from behind, finally a yellow.
Podolski just on claimed the ball, a low left footed strike hit a Stoke foot and flew into the back of the net. There was an appeal and the Lino flag went up. The ref though couldn’t disallow it, clearly he could see no Arsenal player in sight, a phantom offside hey?
Chesney celebrated with the ClockEnd – ‘Who are ya’ ‘Who are ya’ – it was classic Chezza!
Stoke went mental with their challenges now. Trying to hit Arsenal as hard as possible. Despite the lunges Santi made Begovic pull off a world class stop with 15 to go.
Shawcross two footed stud tackle into Koscielny’s chest and then a melee caused buy a Machael Owen punch, of all people! Shawcross can’t help it can he? Dick head! But Owen? Luckily the ref didn’t see the punch and then the kick on Wilshere from Owen, it has to be a three game ban, just because it’s Stoke is not good enough.
Arsenal stood strong and took home the three points despite the antics. A really good result in the face of adversity. Football 1 Rugby 0.
Arsenal: Chesney, Sagna, Nacho, Koscielny, Mertesacker, Diaby (Cazorla 68), Arteta, Wilshere, Walcott (Rambo 90), Chambo (Podolski 68), Giroud. Subs not used: Mannone, Santos, Jenkinson, and Rosicky.
Goals: Podolski 78