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Match Report

Barclays Premier League

Saturday, 6 December 2014,

Stoke
3
-
Full Time
Live
-
2
Arsenal
  • Kickoff: 16:00 BST
  • Stadium: Britannia Stadium
  • Referee: -
  • Stadium: Britannia Stadium
  • Attendance: 27,367
  • 1' Peter Crouch
  • 35' Bojan Krkic
  • 45' Jonathan Walters
  • 68' Santi Cazorla - pen
  • 70' Aaron Ramsey
  • 78' Calum Chambers

Stoke City

Half time

Full time

Arsenal

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Hughes hoping for more home help

Mark Hughes hopes Stoke's fans can help them get back on track when Arsenal visit the Britannia Stadium on Saturday.

Potters fans enjoy nothing more than beating Arsenal and always give Gunners manager Arsene Wenger - a critic of their style of play under previous boss Tony Pulis - a 'warm' welcome.

The rowdy atmosphere has inspired Stoke in recent matches against Arsenal, with the Potters losing just one of the last eight clashes between the teams at the Britannia.

Keeping that run going would be particularly timely as Hughes' team look to end a run of three straight defeats.

"This fixture always seems to generate a really good atmosphere," said the Stoke boss.

"It started before my time I would suggest. It's an incredible atmosphere inside the stadium for matches like this and it takes a good team to deal with it.

"For the most part Arsenal are an outstanding team but in recent times we've done very well. The help we've had from our crowd has been part of that. It's a huge part when you're trying to get positive results. I enjoy coming up against them and I am sure the lads do, too.

"We are performing well at the moment - we just aren't converting our chances when they come along. From my experience in the game, these runs can't keep on going.

"If we play as well as we have done recently then we will soon start to win matches in a convincing manner, I am certain of that."

After losing their last home match to Burnley, Stoke have suffered narrow losses on the road against Liverpool and Manchester United, leaving them only three points above the relegation zone.

Hughes has made evolving Stoke's style of play a priority since replacing Pulis prior to last season but insists Arsenal should not expect an easier time of it.

"Over the years we've made it difficult for Arsenal to play their game," he said. "We're a different team now but we can still compete. After going up against Liverpool and Manchester United, we certainly won't fear Arsenal."

Wenger has endured a difficult start to the season, with calls from some fans for his long tenure to be brought to an end, although Arsenal have won their last three games.

Hughes said: "I think most respect the job he's done. He won a trophy last year. In football, sometimes familiarity brings contempt. Maybe some people want a change for change's sake. Sometimes you have to be careful what you wish for."

Hughes has plenty of injury problems to deal with but is hoping one or two players could be back, with Jonathan Walters and Robert Huth the most likely contenders.

"It is undoubtedly the worst run of injuries that I have had during my time at the club and, when you consider the fact that we have had a bout of illness going around the place too, we have been unfortunate," said Hughes.

"Stephen Ireland has picked a bit of illness up disappointingly, because we thought we had seen the last of that."

Wenger is confident his side can cope with whatever awaits them at Stoke, but could do without "exaggerated" pre-match comments aimed at turning up the heat.

Stoke captain Ryan Shawcross - whose horror tackle on Aaron Ramsey in 2010 left the Gunners' midfielder with a double leg break - claims the home fans "dislike" of Arsenal will lead to a "tasty game" at the Britannia Stadium.

Wenger - who once labelled Stoke's tactics under former boss Tony Pulis as "rugby on the goalkeepers" - believes his side must concentrate on their own game rather than worry about what they might face both on and off the pitch.

"I think that is exaggerated. It is a football game, it is not a hate game. You want to focus on playing football," said Wenger, whose side have just one win at Stoke from seven matches since 2008.

"Stoke is always a tough and very committed place to go, but we prepare ourselves to be at the level of our commitment and dictate the way we want to play. The most important thing is to not forget how we play our game.

"They have a little bit of a different style (under new manager Hughes), but against us it is always a very committed game anyway."

Wenger added: "We are in a job where you have risks. The physical risk is part of our job, we accept that.

"What you want is to go into a game with everybody being 100 per cent committed, but fair. After, you accept that any accident can happen.

"You do not want to have any suspicions before the match starts, that is not very good."

Since the disappointment of losing at home to Manchester United, Arsenal have put together three straight wins with three clean sheets to progress to the last 16 of the Champions League and close up on the Barclays Premier League top four.

Chile forward Alexis Sanchez netted a late winner against Southampton on Wednesday night to continue his impressive form since a big-money summer move from Barcelona.

Wenger feels the 25-year-old "is in the red zone" given how many matches he has played this season for both club and country, so must be carefully managed over the hectic Christmas schedule.

"Unfortunately you never know how far you can push (a player). We are not scientific enough to predict that completely, but he has a great recovery potential," said Wenger.

"He recovers very quickly, is always sharp and wants to play.

"Alexis has a huge desire, no complex, and has a fighting attitude that means even when he misses something it doesn't affect him.

"He is very mobile, very determined and he has the sense to be in the right place in the box."

Sanchez has netted 14 goals so far, but Wenger feels it is unjust to label Arsenal as a one-man team.

"Let's say it does not reflect the truth," Wenger added.

"On the goalscoring record, you can say he is dominant, but in the game of course not."

Arsenal have some defensive worries, with Nacho Monreal having suffered ankle ligament damage early on against the Saints, and so could be out for a few weeks.

Centre-back Laurent Koscielny will be assessed on his inflamed Achilles.

Full-back Mathieu Debuchy is close to a return from three months recovery from an ankle injury, and may be taken to Istanbul for next week's Champions League tie at Galatasaray.

Arsenal have been linked with a move for promising Ipswich defender Tyrone Mings when the transfer window opens in January.

Wenger said: "On the defensive front, we will try to bring somebody in, but we are not on any special case.

"We are on a few young players yes, that we always follow. He (Mings) is one of the players we follow, but we are not close to signing anybody at the moment."

91'+5

End Regular Time

91'+5

Second Half ends, Stoke City 3, Arsenal 2.

91'+4

Mathieu Flamini (Arsenal) Throw In at 95'

91'+4

Mathieu Flamini (Arsenal) Throw In at 95'

91'+3

Peter Crouch (Stoke City) Blocked Pass at 94'

91'+3

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (Arsenal) Blocked Pass at 94'

91'+3

Erik Pieters (Stoke City) Throw In at 94'

91'+2

Mathieu Flamini (Arsenal) Throw In at 93'

91'+1

Substitution, Arsenal. Joel Campbell replaces Kieran Gibbs.

91'+1

Kieran Gibbs (Arsenal) Corner Kick at 92'

91'

Mathieu Flamini (Arsenal) Throw In at 91'

90'

Erik Pieters (Stoke City) Throw In at 90'

90'

Kieran Gibbs (Arsenal) Throw In at 90'

89'

Phillip Bardsley (Stoke City) Throw In at 89'

89'

Santi Cazorla (Arsenal) Blocked Pass at 88'

88'

Erik Pieters (Stoke City) Throw In at 88'

88'

Erik Pieters (Stoke City) Throw In at 88'

87'

Erik Pieters (Stoke City) Throw In at 87'

87'

Substitution, Stoke City. Robert Huth replaces Bojan.

86'

Alexis Sánchez (Arsenal) Corner Kick at 86'

86'

Corner, Arsenal. Conceded by Erik Pieters.

85'

Santi Cazorla (Arsenal) Corner Kick at 85'

85'

Corner, Arsenal. Conceded by Asmir Begovic.

85'

Attempt saved. Santiago Cazorla (Arsenal) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom left corner. Assisted by Aaron Ramsey.

85'

Aaron Ramsey (Arsenal) Assists Shot at 85'

85'

Alexis Sánchez (Arsenal) Free Kick at 85'

84'

Charlie Adam

84'

Foul by Charlie Adam (Stoke City).

81'

Erik Pieters (Stoke City) Throw In at 81'

81'

Attempt missed. Bojan (Stoke City) right footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the left. Assisted by Charlie Adam.

81'

Charlie Adam (Stoke City) Assists Shot at 81'

80'

Kieran Gibbs (Arsenal) Throw In at 80'

80'

Phillip Bardsley (Stoke City) Throw In at 80'

79'

Charlie Adam (Stoke City) Free Kick at 79'

78'

Calum Chambers

78'

Foul by Calum Chambers (Arsenal).

76'

Santi Cazorla (Arsenal) Blocked Pass at 76'

76'

Asmir Begovic (Stoke City) Free Kick at 76'

75'

Offside, Arsenal. Mathieu Flamini tries a through ball, but Alexis Sánchez is caught offside.

75'

Lukas Podolski (Arsenal) Corner Kick at 75'

75'

Corner, Arsenal. Conceded by Erik Pieters.

74'

Attempt saved. Lukas Podolski (Arsenal) header from the left side of the box is saved in the bottom left corner. Assisted by Kieran Gibbs.

74'

Kieran Gibbs (Arsenal) Assists Shot at 74'

73'

Charlie Adam (Stoke City) Free Kick at 73'

72'

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain

72'

Foul by Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (Arsenal).

72'

Emiliano Martinez (Arsenal) Free Kick at 72'

71'

Emiliano Martinez (Arsenal) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

71'

Bojan Krkic (Stoke City) Free Kick at 71'

71'

Kieran Gibbs

71'

Jonathan Walters (Stoke City) wins a free kick on the right wing.

70'

3 - 2

Goal! Stoke City 3, Arsenal 2. Aaron Ramsey (Arsenal) right footed shot from the centre of the box to the centre of the goal. Assisted by Alexis Sánchez with a cross following a corner.

70'

Alexis Sánchez (Arsenal) Assists Shot at 70'

70'

Danny Welbeck (Arsenal) Corner Kick at 70'

70'

Corner, Arsenal. Conceded by Asmir Begovic.

70'

Attempt saved. Danny Welbeck (Arsenal) right footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the top right corner. Assisted by Alexis Sánchez with a through ball.

70'

Alexis Sánchez (Arsenal) Assists Shot at 70'

69'

Substitution, Stoke City. Charlie Adam replaces Mame Biram Diouf.

68'

3 - 1

Goal! Stoke City 3, Arsenal 1. Santiago Cazorla (Arsenal) converts the penalty with a right footed shot to the bottom left corner.

67'

Penalty conceded by Mame Biram Diouf (Stoke City) after a foul in the penalty area.

66'

Emiliano Martinez (Arsenal) Free Kick at 66'

65'

Mame Biram Diouf (Stoke City) Assists Shot at 65'

65'

Offside, Stoke City. Mame Biram Diouf tries a through ball, but Bojan is caught offside.

65'

Asmir Begovic (Stoke City) Free Kick at 65'

64'

Offside, Arsenal. Danny Welbeck tries a through ball, but Mathieu Flamini is caught offside.

64'

Phillip Bardsley (Stoke City) Throw In at 64'

63'

Substitution, Stoke City. Glenn Whelan replaces Marc Muniesa because of an injury.

63'

Substitution, Arsenal. Lukas Podolski replaces Olivier Giroud.

62'

Phillip Bardsley (Stoke City) Blocked Pass at 62'

62'

Erik Pieters (Stoke City) Free Kick at 62'

61'

Calum Chambers

61'

Peter Crouch (Stoke City) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

61'

Emiliano Martinez (Arsenal) Free Kick at 61'

61'

Hand ball by Peter Crouch (Stoke City).

61'

Handball

60'

Corner, Stoke City. Conceded by Mathieu Flamini.

60'

Mame Biram Diouf (Stoke City) Corner Kick at 60'

60'

Attempt blocked. Mame Biram Diouf (Stoke City) right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked.

60'

Erik Pieters (Stoke City) Free Kick at 60'

58'

Mame Biram Diouf (Stoke City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

57'

Alexis Sánchez (Arsenal) hits the right post with a right footed shot from the right side of the six yard box following a fast break.

56'

Attempt blocked. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (Arsenal) left footed shot from a difficult angle on the left is blocked. Assisted by Alexis Sánchez with a through ball.

56'

Alexis Sánchez (Arsenal) Assists Shot at 56'

56'

Santi Cazorla (Arsenal) Free Kick at 56'

56'

Santiago Cazorla (Arsenal) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

56'

Phillip Bardsley (Stoke City) Throw In at 56'

55'

Alexis Sánchez (Arsenal) Blocked Pass at 55'

55'

Ryan Shawcross (Stoke City) Free Kick at 55'

55'

Foul by Santiago Cazorla (Arsenal).

54'

Phillip Bardsley (Stoke City) Free Kick at 54'

53'

Peter Crouch (Stoke City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

53'

Alexis Sánchez (Arsenal) Free Kick at 53'

53'

Olivier Giroud (Arsenal) wins a free kick on the left wing.

53'

Kieran Gibbs (Arsenal) Throw In at 53'

52'

Kieran Gibbs (Arsenal) Throw In at 52'

52'

Asmir Begovic (Stoke City) Free Kick at 52'

52'

Steven N'Zonzi (Stoke City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

51'

Attempt missed. Geoff Cameron (Stoke City) right footed shot from the left side of the six yard box misses to the left following a set piece situation.

51'

Bojan Krkic (Stoke City) Free Kick at 51'

50'

Mame Biram Diouf (Stoke City) wins a free kick on the left wing.

48'

Bojan Krkic (Stoke City) Blocked Pass at 48'

48'

Phillip Bardsley (Stoke City) Throw In at 48'

47'

Danny Welbeck (Arsenal) Corner Kick at 47'

47'

Corner, Arsenal. Conceded by Ryan Shawcross.

47'

Attempt blocked. Danny Welbeck (Arsenal) right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Alexis Sánchez.

47'

Alexis Sánchez (Arsenal) Assists Shot at 47'

46'

Per Mertesacker (Arsenal) Free Kick at 46'

46'

Peter Crouch

46'

Per Mertesacker (Arsenal) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

46'

Start 2nd Half

46'

Substitution, Arsenal. Danny Welbeck replaces Héctor Bellerín.

46'+1

Halftime

45'

3 - 0

Goal! Stoke City 3, Arsenal 0. Jonathan Walters (Stoke City) right footed shot from the right side of the six yard box to the top right corner following a corner.

45'

Attempt blocked. Peter Crouch (Stoke City) header from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Bojan with a cross.

45'

Bojan Krkic (Stoke City) Assists Shot at 45'

45'

Corner, Stoke City. Conceded by Héctor Bellerín.

45'

Erik Pieters (Stoke City) Corner Kick at 45'

45'

Phillip Bardsley (Stoke City) Throw In at 45'

44'

Alexis Sánchez (Arsenal) Free Kick at 44'

44'

Marc Muniesa

44'

Foul by Marc Muniesa (Stoke City).

42'

Hector Bellerin (Arsenal) Throw In at 42'

42'

Kieran Gibbs (Arsenal) Free Kick at 42'

41'

Olivier Giroud (Arsenal) wins a free kick on the left wing.

41'

Kieran Gibbs (Arsenal) Throw In at 41'

41'

Asmir Begovic (Stoke City) Free Kick at 41'

40'

Handball

40'

Hand ball by Alexis Sánchez (Arsenal).

40'

Hector Bellerin (Arsenal) Throw In at 40'

38'

Corner, Arsenal. Conceded by Asmir Begovic.

38'

Olivier Giroud (Arsenal) Corner Kick at 38'

38'

Attempt saved. Olivier Giroud (Arsenal) header from the centre of the box is saved in the top left corner. Assisted by Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain with a cross.

38'

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (Arsenal) Assists Shot at 38'

38'

Alexis Sánchez (Arsenal) Corner Kick at 38'

38'

Corner, Arsenal. Conceded by Phil Bardsley.

38'

Attempt blocked. Alexis Sánchez (Arsenal) right footed shot from the left side of the box is blocked. Assisted by Aaron Ramsey.

38'

Aaron Ramsey (Arsenal) Assists Shot at 38'

37'

Erik Pieters (Stoke City) Throw In at 37'

36'

Aaron Ramsey (Arsenal) Blocked Pass at 36'

35'

2 - 0

Goal! Stoke City 2, Arsenal 0. Bojan (Stoke City) left footed shot from the centre of the box to the centre of the goal. Assisted by Jonathan Walters with a cross.

35'

Jonathan Walters (Stoke City) Assists Shot at 35'

34'

Attempt missed. Geoff Cameron (Stoke City) right footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the right.

32'

Emiliano Martinez (Arsenal) Free Kick at 32'

31'

Offside, Stoke City. Jonathan Walters tries a through ball, but Mame Biram Diouf is caught offside.

31'

Bojan Krkic (Stoke City) Free Kick at 31'

30'

Jonathan Walters (Stoke City) wins a free kick on the right wing.

30'

Kieran Gibbs (Arsenal) Blocked Pass at 30'

30'

Calum Chambers (Arsenal) Free Kick at 30'

29'

Foul by Peter Crouch (Stoke City).

28'

Hector Bellerin (Arsenal) Throw In at 28'

27'

Attempt missed. Peter Crouch (Stoke City) header from the centre of the box misses to the left. Assisted by Bojan with a cross following a corner.

27'

Bojan Krkic (Stoke City) Assists Shot at 27'

27'

Mathieu Flamini (Arsenal) Corner Kick at 27'

27'

Attempt blocked. Steven N'Zonzi (Stoke City) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Bojan.

27'

Bojan Krkic (Stoke City) Assists Shot at 27'

27'

Bojan Krkic (Stoke City) Blocked Pass at 27'

26'

Kieran Gibbs (Arsenal) Throw In at 26'

25'

Corner, Arsenal. Conceded by Jonathan Walters.

25'

Kieran Gibbs (Arsenal) Corner Kick at 25'

25'

Alexis Sánchez (Arsenal) Throw In at 25'

24'

Attempt missed. Kieran Gibbs (Arsenal) header from the centre of the box is high and wide to the left. Assisted by Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain with a cross.

24'

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (Arsenal) Assists Shot at 24'

23'

Hector Bellerin (Arsenal) Throw In at 23'

23'

Attempt missed. Erik Pieters (Stoke City) left footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the left. Assisted by Jonathan Walters with a headed pass.

23'

Jonathan Walters (Stoke City) Assists Shot at 23'

22'

Attempt missed. Santiago Cazorla (Arsenal) right footed shot from outside the box is too high from a direct free kick.

21'

Foul by Phil Bardsley (Stoke City).

21'

Calum Chambers (Arsenal) Free Kick at 21'

21'

Offside, Stoke City. Asmir Begovic tries a through ball, but Peter Crouch is caught offside.

20'

Erik Pieters (Stoke City) Throw In at 20'

19'

Attempt missed. Santiago Cazorla (Arsenal) right footed shot from outside the box is just a bit too high. Assisted by Aaron Ramsey.

19'

Aaron Ramsey (Arsenal) Assists Shot at 19'

18'

Attempt saved. Phil Bardsley (Stoke City) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom right corner. Assisted by Geoff Cameron.

18'

Geoff Cameron (Stoke City) Assists Shot at 18'

18'

Mathieu Flamini (Arsenal) Free Kick at 18'

18'

Hand ball by Mame Biram Diouf (Stoke City).

18'

Handball

17'

Asmir Begovic (Stoke City) Free Kick at 17'

16'

Geoff Cameron (Stoke City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

16'

Attempt blocked. Olivier Giroud (Arsenal) header from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain with a cross.

16'

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (Arsenal) Assists Shot at 16'

16'

Bojan Krkic (Stoke City) Blocked Pass at 16'

15'

Alexis Sánchez (Arsenal) Throw In at 15'

15'

Calum Chambers (Arsenal) Free Kick at 15'

15'

Foul by Peter Crouch (Stoke City).

14'

Attempt missed. Peter Crouch (Stoke City) header from the left side of the six yard box misses to the left. Assisted by Bojan with a cross.

14'

Bojan Krkic (Stoke City) Assists Shot at 14'

13'

Alexis Sánchez (Arsenal) Blocked Pass at 13'

13'

Santi Cazorla (Arsenal) Free Kick at 13'

13'

Santiago Cazorla (Arsenal) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

12'

Mame Biram Diouf (Stoke City) Blocked Pass at 12'

12'

Hector Bellerin (Arsenal) Throw In at 12'

12'

Santi Cazorla (Arsenal) Free Kick at 12'

11'

Olivier Giroud (Arsenal) wins a free kick on the left wing.

11'

Attempt missed. Olivier Giroud (Arsenal) header from the centre of the box is close, but misses to the left. Assisted by Héctor Bellerín with a cross.

11'

Hector Bellerin (Arsenal) Assists Shot at 11'

7'

Kieran Gibbs (Arsenal) Throw In at 7'

7'

Bojan Krkic (Stoke City) Blocked Pass at 7'

7'

Asmir Begovic (Stoke City) Free Kick at 7'

6'

Phil Bardsley (Stoke City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

6'

Geoff Cameron (Stoke City) Blocked Pass at 6'

6'

Santi Cazorla (Arsenal) Free Kick at 6'

5'

Foul by Phil Bardsley (Stoke City).

5'

Phillip Bardsley (Stoke City) Throw In at 5'

4'

Asmir Begovic (Stoke City) Free Kick at 4'

3'

Offside, Arsenal. Héctor Bellerín tries a through ball, but Olivier Giroud is caught offside.

3'

Erik Pieters (Stoke City) Throw In at 3'

3'

Calum Chambers (Arsenal) Free Kick at 3'

3'

Foul by Peter Crouch (Stoke City).

3'

Erik Pieters (Stoke City) Throw In at 3'

3'

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (Arsenal) Blocked Pass at 3'

3'

Ryan Shawcross (Stoke City) Free Kick at 3'

2'

Phil Bardsley (Stoke City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

1'

1 - 0

Goal! Stoke City 1, Arsenal 0. Peter Crouch (Stoke City) right footed shot from very close range to the bottom right corner. Assisted by Mame Biram Diouf.

1'

Mame Biram Diouf (Stoke City) Assists Shot at 1'

1'

First Half begins.

Show all commentary

Possession

43%
57%
  • Stoke City
  • Arsenal

Shots

13
15

Shots on target

4
6

Fouls

17
14

Corners

3
9

Yellow Cards

3
2

Red Cards

0
1

Head to Head

Stoke3 - 2Arsenal
Stoke1 - 0Arsenal
Arsenal3 - 1Stoke
Arsenal1 - 0Stoke
Stoke0 - 0Arsenal
Stoke1 - 1Arsenal

Stoke

  • 1Asmir Begovic
  • 5Marc Muniesa
  • -> Glenn Whelan
  • 17Ryan Shawcross
  • 2Phillip Bardsley
  • 3Erik Pieters
  • 27Bojan Krkic
  • -> Robert Huth
  • 19Jonathan Walters
  • 15Steven Nzonzi
  • 18Mame Biram Diouf
  • -> Charlie Adam
  • 20Geoff Cameron
  • 25Peter Crouch
  • Subs
  • 7Stephen Ireland
  • 34Oliver Shenton
  • 24Oussama Assaidi
  • 22Jack Butland

Arsenal

  • 26Emiliano Martinez
  • 21Calum Chambers
  • 39Hector Bellerin
  • -> Danny Welbeck
  • 3Kieran Gibbs
  • -> Joel Campbell
  • 4Per Mertesacker
  • 15Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain
  • 20Mathieu Flamini
  • 19Santi Cazorla
  • 16Aaron Ramsey
  • 17Alexis Sánchez
  • 12Olivier Giroud
  • -> Lukas Podolski
  • Subs
  • 70Ainsley Maitland-Niles
  • 6Laurent Koscielny
  • 1Wojciech Szczesny
  • 37Semi Ajayi

Stoke City 3-2 Arsenal

Stoke held on to beat Arsenal 3-2 after a dramatic afternoon at the Britannia Stadium.

The Gunners are the team Stoke relish taking on more than any other and the home fans were in dreamland after Peter Crouch, with the fastest goal of the Premier League season, Bojan Krkic and Jonathan Walters put them three up at half-time.

But, after Bojan had a fourth ruled out for offside, Santi Cazorla pulled one back from the penalty spot and two minutes later Aaron Ramsey reduced the deficit further.

There were still 20 minutes to play but the sending off of Calum Chambers for two yellow cards reduced the heat a little and Arsenal could not find a third.

The result brought an end to Arsenal's run of three successive wins and ended a losing sequence of three for the hosts.

The bad blood between these teams dates back to the challenge made by Ryan Shawcross on Ramsey nearly five years ago that broke the Arsenal player's leg.

Arsene Wenger was unhappy with pre-match comments from Shawcross hyping up the rivalry and the Stoke captain's name was greeted with loud boos from the visiting fans.

But they were silenced only 19 seconds into the match as Steven Nzonzi got away down the right and sent over a cross that Chambers failed to clear under pressure from Mame Biram Diouf.

The ball ran to Crouch, making his first start in more than a month - and he had the simple task of tapping it in after goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez lost his balance and fell over.

Teenage defender Hector Bellerin was making only his second Premier League start for Arsenal and his fine cross in the 11th minute should have set up an equaliser but somehow Olivier Giroud headed wide.

Bojan has grown into Stoke's main creative force and his link-up play, in particular with Crouch, was causing Arsenal real problems.

Stoke were relishing the lively atmosphere and tempo and full-back Phil Bardsley got into the spirit with a fierce shot that Martinez could only push uncomfortably away.

Fortunately for the Arsenal keeper, Chambers reacted quickly to ensure Crouch could not take advantage of the rebound.

Arsenal looked sporadically dangerous and Asmir Begovic may well have been struggling had Cazorla's 20-yard effort been on target rather than just over the bar.

But largely the game was being controlled by Stoke and it was no more than they and Bojan deserved in the 35th minute when the Spaniard classily converted Walters' terrific cross.

The gleeful chant of '2-0 to the rugby team' rung around the stadium - mocking a famous Wenger jibe about Stoke's style of play under former manager Tony Pulis.

But even the Arsenal boss must have been impressed by the fluidity of Stoke, who were simply outplaying his side.

Begovic had to be alert to preserve the lead in the 38th minute when a Giroud header deflected off Shawcross, but just before half-time Stoke added a third.

Bojan's corner was headed down by Crouch and an unmarked Walters slammed the 100th club goal of his career high into the net.

Unsurprisingly, Wenger shuffled things around for the second half, sending on Danny Welbeck for Bellerin, with Mathieu Flamini moving to right-back.

Welbeck was straight into the action, seeing a shot deflected wide, but Stoke continued to pose plenty of problems.

Martinez was having an uncomfortable afternoon and he was caught out by a Bojan free-kick in the 51st minute.

The keeper had to dive back towards his goal to keep it out and was fortunate the ball arrived at Geoff Cameron's feet too quickly for the defender to do anything with it.

At the other end, Alexis Sanchez almost made Nzonzi pay for a poor error when he ran through on goal, beating Shawcross and Begovic, but shot against the post.

It looked curtains for Arsenal when Bojan found the net for the second time in the 65th minute - but a belated offside flag cut short the celebrations.

The Gunners went down the other end and won a penalty when Diouf tripped Flamini. Begovic got a hand to Cazorla's shot but could not keep it out - and two minutes later Ramsey reduced the deficit to a single goal.

Begovic produced a fine save from Welbeck but Sanchez's corner picked out Ramsey at the back post and he shot through a crowd of players.

Arsenal pushed hard for an equaliser but found themselves reduced to 10 men 12 minutes from time when Chambers was shown a second yellow card for pulling Bojan.

And, despite putting Stoke under a lot of pressure, the third did not come.

ends




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