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Premier League

  • April 28, 2012
  • • 10:00 AM
  • • Bet365 Stadium, Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire
  • Referee: C. Foy
  • • Attendance: 27502

Stoke 1-1 Arsenal: Van Persie to the rescue but Gunners miss chance to tighten grip on third

Stoke 1-1 Arsenal: Van Persie to the rescue but Gunners miss chance to tighten grip on third

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Gunners unable to break down resolute Stoke defense as both sides have to settle for a point, meaning Wenger's side miss chance to pull away in third place

Arsenal missed out on the chance to pull away in third place as it had to rely on Robin Van Persie to earn a point in a 1-1 draw with Stoke.

The home side took the lead early in the game as Peter Crouch rose to head home a Matthew Etherington cross, but five minutes later Van Persie earned his side a point with a simple tap-in following an inch-perfect Tomas Rosicky cross.

The visitors were quickly into their stride and created two good opportunities in the opening eight minutes for Benayoun and Van Persie. The Israeli was released by the Dutchman in the sixth minute but his low shot from inside the penalty area lacked power and Asmir Begovic was able to save with an outstretched left hand.

Two minutes later Van Persie had his first sight of goal but he too was denied by Begovic. Tomas Rosicky delivered an inch-perfect cross onto the head of the unmarked striker at the back post but the Bosnian stopper made an excellent reaction save to turn the ball behind.

The Gunners were made to rue those misses in the 10th minute as the home side took the lead with its first attempt on goal. Matthew Etherington was found on the left wing and he delivered a the ball right onto the head of Crouch and the striker made no mistake, jumping above his marker and heading into the bottom corner.

However Stoke's lead lasted just five minutes as Arsenal equalized through Van Persie. Rosicky found more space on the left wing and delivered a lovely cross behind the Stoke defense to find the run of Van Persie and the Dutchman had the simple task of tapping it into the net.

After such a bright start to the game the rest of the opening period was fairly uneventful as both sides struggled to create clear-cut chances and neither goalkeeper was forced into a real save. Gervinho found himself in some good situations but his final touch seemed to always let him down, while at the other end the Arsenal defense coped well with the dangerous balls put into their penalty area by Pennant.

The second half began in lively fashion and five minutes in Arsenal had a great chance to go ahead through Van Persie. A typically neat and flowing move from the Gunners ended up with Bacary Sagna being released down the right wing, his low cross was perfect for the Dutch striker to fire a diving header towards goal but Begovic saved well down to his right.

Tony Pulis’ decision to introduce Cameron Jerome late in the game for Pennant was met with a few boos from the home crowd but it was nearly a masterstroke as the striker found himself with a clear shot at goal, his effort was on target but Szczesny saved well and Arsenal was able to clear.

The Gunners pushed for a late winner, and even threw Marouane Chamakh up front to support Van Persie but Stoke remained resolute and held on for a much-deserved point.

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