Arsenal 1 (Podolski 78) – Stoke City 0
Man of the Match – Asmor Begovic (Stoke City)
In the end, it was a case of Arsenal handing out a footballing lesson to rugby side Stoke. And, not only did it involve some quick rasping moves from Arsenal throughout, it was also an indication of this side being able to stand up to those bloodthirsty ogre’s who come travelling from the North.
It was some surprising team selection from Arsenal as Santi Cazorla and Lukas Podolski were both rested, and Abou Diaby and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain were selected in their place. Nacho Monreal made his debut for Arsenal, while Thomas Vermaelen’s absence meant a start for Laurent Koscielny. Mikel Arteta too made a return in midfield.
Arsenal started attacking an unambitious Stoke side right from the start. Mikel Arteta released Walcott, but there was no one to meet his cross across the box. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain had a go, but his effort pulled just wide. The young English wingers gave a torrid timt to Ryan Shotton and Andy Wilkinson.
Stoke were having to rely on counters, and long balls, and they had their first go at goal, through a typically ogrish Stoke move. Peter Crouch leapt high, to play the ball into the path of Walters, who hit straight at Szczesny.
Peter Crouch would constantly heckle Arsenal’s defence, winning most aerial duels, and some of the refereeing decisions on the evening were contentious as well, with the ogre’s managing to escape more than once, while Arsenal getting cautioned even for the tiniest of fouls.
Arsenal had a great chance to open the scoring, when Mertesacker beat the savages at their own game, by flicking a header off a corner, right into the path of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, but the winger could shoot only directly at Begovic, who was producing saves of the most immaculate order.
And, Monreal warmed up to the home fans, as he inflicted a blood wound on Jon Walters, in a mid air collision. Yes, a skinny Spaniard, with questionable physique forced blood to trickle down the face of an ugly ogre face.
Arsenal started the second half from where they had left the first, attacking with much intent, but bore the brunt of poor refereeing. Walcott received a couple of whacks from Wilkinson on the face, but with no free kick to account for. The Stoke full back just couldn’t handle Walcott’s pace.
Monreal looked to be slowly bedding into the side, when he combined with Jack Wilshere to set up Olivier Giroud, but the bandaged Robert Huth got it clear. Arsene Wenger sensed the need for more drive, and bought on Santi Cazorla and Lukas Podolski in place of Abou Diaby and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.
And the benefit of the changes was quick to see, as Arsenal upped gears. Glenn Whelan saw yellow for being a coward. Clearly not in the same league as any Arsenal player, he decided to hack Cazorla from the back, when Arsenal were swiftly looking to counter.
Wilkinson, by now, was owned by Walcott, and he again fouled the speed merchant, Arsenal being awarded a free kick in the 78th minute. Lukas Podolski powered home a free kick, and clearly there was a deflection or two in between, which took Begovic completely by surprise.
Even as the stadium and players celebrated, the linesman, decided to raise his flag. Arsenal protested furiously claiming there was no offside, even as Arteta and Shawcross were involved in a bit of a scuffle.
In the end the decision stood, much to the delight of the home crowd. Arsenal had finally got the goal they deserved. Arsenal kept driving forward, through Cazorla who had a couple of bites at the cherry.
By now, Tony Pulis was peeing his pants, and decided to get on his attacking trio of Cameron Jerome, Kenwyne Jones and Michael Owen, in an attempt to salvage something from the game. Jones did get the better of Monreal once, but the danger was cleared.
In the end it was a case of Stoke resorting to wild tactics in order to compensate for their utter lack of footballing quality and ambition, to force an equalizer. First, Ryan Shawcross went with a poor late studs up challenge on Laurent Koscielny. Surely, he deserves to be sodomized for all his deeds in his footballing career.
Koscielny took a hit, where it hurts most, but ambled on, while the ugly cunt got away with a yellow. Moments later, Mikel Arteta made a mistimed challenge of Michael Owen, and the former England striker lashed out at the Spaniard. Surely, no one has seen this avatar of a man, who has been in a freefall ever since his move from Liverpool.
Clearly, he had been influence by Stoke’s fuckall mentality of using brawn rather than brains. Wilshere was involved in the scuffle, and Owen escaped with just a warning. Late on, Aaron Ramsey would come on to a loud cheer.
As the final whistle blew, Arsene Wenger sported a cheeky smile, while the joke of a manager that Pulis is, walked away with his sorry Stoke baseball cap. Mug! Not that kind of player, Shawcross! Take that you scum!
Ok! That helped me get a lot off my back. Have wanted to abuse Stoke right to death. Plenty of positives. The team has found a new desire to go out and attack opponents, which is clearly heart warming. The effort is there to be seen, and with a little more application, we could be winning games by a bigger margin.
Monreal had a great debut, I thought. He knew when to get back, and when to get forward, the most important trait for full backs. Defensively, we were solid. In midfield, there were little worries, but we managed to get through. Diaby was at his silky best, while Arteta and Wilshere were tireless as usual.
Up front, Walcott made Wilkinson his bitch, while Chamberlain too showed signs of getting back to his best. Giroud would have expected a rough evening, but he did reasonably well. The fact that we got players of the caliber of Podolski and Cazorla off the bench was good to see.
More so, these 3 points, compounded with Chelsea’s loss at Newcastle, and Everton’s draw with Aston Villa means, we have caught up on some ground. A vital win, over a loser bunch of sorry ugly ogres!
Clearly, football was the winner!
Jai Arsenal 🙂
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