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May 8, 2011
• Britannia Stadium, Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire
Referee: M. Halsey
• Attendance: 27478
K. Jones 28'
J. Pennant 40'
J. Walters 82'
R. van Persie 81'
90' + 4'
FULL TIME. STOKE 3-1 ARSENAL. Arsenal's title challenge is over and they can have no complaints. Goals from Jones, Pennant and Walters were enough to beat Arsene Wenger's men despite Van Persie giving Arsenal hope with ten minutes remaining. Stoke deserved the victory and attention will now turn to Arsene Wenger's summer redevelopment, as he has to invest in talent to ensure that his side can come back stronger and challenge for the title again next season. Stoke rise to 8th in the table and have an FA Cup Final to look forward to next week, fabulous stuff from the Potters and they are in dreamland at the moment!
90' + 3'
Bendtner tests Begovic only to see Mark Halsey whistle for a foul on the edge of the box. Seconds away from the final whistle now.
FOUR MINUTES ADDED ON.
The camera cuts to Arsene Wenger who looks a frustrated figure on the touch-line. The fans, players and the Arsenal bench look visibly deflated in the recognition that their title hopes are now over. Its now seven years without a Premier League title for Arsenal.
Arsenal win a free-kick on the edge of the area and Walcott curls it straight into the wall before Sagna blazes the ball high and wide. Some of the Arsenal fans are heading for the exits and you can't blame them after todays horrow show.
GOAL!! STOKE!! WALTERS!! STOKE 3-1 ARSENAL. Arsenal in a nutshell, brilliant going forward and a mess in defence. Koscielny fails to deal with a simple ball into the box which results in the ball being fired at goal. Johan Djourou has the simple task of smashing the ball away but fails to get any sort of connection and instead rolls the ball straight to Jon Walters who toe pokes the ball into the back of the net to seal three points for Stoke and kill off Arsenal's flagging title ambitions.
Goal Jonathan Walters
Assist Marouane Chamakh
Goal Robin van Persie
GOAL!! ARSENAL!! VAN PERSIE!! STOKE 2-1 ARSENAL. Game on! Superb intricate play from Arsenal on the edge of the Stoke box finally results in a goal. Van Persie shuffles the ball onto his right foot and smashes a low shot that squirms underneath the body of Asmir Begovic.
Incredibly Arsenal have nearly scored via a long throw. Sagna launches the ball into the penalty area and Begovic comes out and gets nowhere near it. The ball falls on the bounce to Van Persie who has to spin to get a shot away, he does, but his shot flies over the bar.
Stoke are showing Arsenal how to counter-attack! Walters plays in Whelan who fires a shot towards Szczesny's near post that the goalkeeper does well to parry out for a corner kick.
Arsenal's best chance of the match, and they really should have scored. Wilshere plays another defence splitting pass to Bendtner who finds Van Persie ten yards out with just Begovic to beat, but the keeper makes a world class save to keep his clean sheet intact.
Yellow cards for both Jermaine Pennant and Jack Wilshere as this game threatens to get out of control. Wilshere jumps in to a tackle on Pennant and goes over the ball, causing Pennant to react. Both deserved yellow cards.
Yellow Card Jermaine Pennant
Yellow Card Jack Wilshere
Kenwyne Jones wins yet another free-kick for his side after he is clattered by Alex Song. The former Sunderland man has been outstanding this afternoon.
More of the same from Arsenal as they continue to dictate possession and fail to penetrate in the final third. So frustrating for the Arsenal fans at the moment.
Theo Walcott sums up Arsenal's afternoon as he miscontrols the ball and it rolls out of play for a Stoke throw-in. Walcott has been really poor this afternoon.
Yellow Card Nicklas Bendtner
Bendtner picks up the first yellow card of the game as he cynically swipes the legs of Pennant after losing the ball down the left hand side. Deserved yellow for the Dane.
Arsenal have their first attempt on target of the afternoon, but its a tame mishit half volley from Van Persie. The game is a lot more open than it was in the first half though and Arsenal aren't out of this one just yet.
Sagna goes down clutching his face and believes he has been elbowed my Mark Wilson. Replays show that he was caught but it wasn't a deliberate movement from the Stoke player.
The two substitutes have two efforts in quick succession. Bendtner curls one wide of Begovic's left hand post, before Chamakh shows good strength and skill, only to drag his right-footed shot horribly wide. Positive signs though from the two substitutes.
Huge worry now for Tony Pulis ahead of next weeks FA Cup Final as he is forced to replace the injured Robert Huth. Abdoulaye Faye comes on in his place.
Abdoulaye Diagne Faye
A little bit of a scuffle after that corner between Huth and Song. Replays show that Huth pulled Song to the ground in winning the header and ripped the Arsenal midfielders shirt, Song retaliated by throwing his elbow into the German defendes face. Its fair to say that Arsenal and Stoke players don't really like each other!
Normal service resumed as Jones wins Stoke a corner. Pennant whips the ball and and its met by Huth who heads the ball over the bar.
Back underway at the Brittania. Two changes for Arsenal as Wenger brings on Chamakh and Bendtner for Ramsey and the disappointing Arshavin.
Wayne Veysey on the joy expressed by Potters fans on the half-time whistle: "Lots of love now from the home supporters to their Wembley-bound team. After soaking up the Arsenal pressure, they have counter-attacked with a trademark set piece goal and a long-range drive from Pennant, who got lucky with a deflection off Djourou. However, Arsenal's defending was every bit as poor as for the first goal as they stood off Pennant and virtually invited him to have a go. '2-0 to the rugby team', chant the home fans."
45' + 1'
HALF-TIME. STOKE 2-0 ARSENAL. Arsenal with all the possession, Stoke with all the goals. A familiar story in Arsenal's season! Goals from Kenwyne Jones and Jermaine Pennant separate the two sides and we definitely haven't seen the last of the goals. Arsenal's title challenge looks to be in tatters as Stoke prepare for the FA Cup Final in style!
One minute added on.
Inches away from 3-0! Walters steals the ball off Sagna down the left hand side and gets to the byeline before whipping a fantastic effort against the Arsenal crossbar. Arsenal are all over the place and desperately need the half-time whistle!
Goal Jermaine Pennant
GOAL!! STOKE!! PENNANT!! STOKE 2-0 ARSENAL. Arsenal's title hopes are drifting away as Stoke double their lead. Ramsey gives the ball away and Pennant is allowed to wander forward unchallenged before hitting a shot that takes a wicked deflection off Djourou and loops into the back of the net via the hand of Szczesny! Stoke fans erupt!
Wayne Veysey comments on the goal that separates the two sides: '1-0 to the rugby team', chant the Stoke fans ironically after taking the lead in as soft a way as imaginable. Kenwyne Jones bundled the ball home after Arsenal failed miserably to deal with Pennant's free-kick close to the corner spot. Fingers can be pointed at van Persie, Gibbs and Djourou for allowing the ball to reach Stoke's No9 so easily."
Robert Huth makes a fantastic tackle as Arshavin looks to break through the heart of Stoke's defence. Arsenal look clueless on how to break down Tony Pulis' side at the moment.
Wilshere shows his frustration with the way this afternoon is going for Arsenal as he fouls a Stoke player on the edge of the Stoke area before begging referee Mark Halsey to believe that he got the ball. Replays show that he did, but not after clattering through the back of the Stoke defender.
Good break from Stoke as Walters breaks down the middle and finds Jones. The goalscorer looks to return the ball to Walters but his through ball is expertly blocked by Koscielny and Arsenal clear.
Assist Jermaine Pennant
Goal Kenwyne Jones
GOAL!! STOKE!! JONES!! STOKE 1-0 ARSENAL. Vintage Stoke City. After Arsenal have dominated this game without seriously testing the Stoke goal, Arshavin fouls Pennant deep down the right-hand side and he clips in a free-kick that Van Persie somehow fails to head clear and the ball is bundled in via the chest of Kenwyne Jones. 1-0 Stoke City!
Wilshere, who was involved in a feisty confrontation with Whitehead earlier in the match, shows his class by clipping an inch perfect pass in behind for Theo Walcott, but the England winger fails to deliver a ball into the box and it goes behind for a goal-kick.
Koscielny decides to take attacking matters into his own hands as he breaks forward from the centre of defence. However the same pattern continues and Arsenal cross the ball in the box only for Shawcross to hammer it clear. The Gunners' lack of an aerial threat is very evident today.
Arsenal have another attempt on goal, through Bacary Sagna who cuts in from the right to strike a poor left footed effort wide of Begovic's nearpost. Thats seven attempts on goal for Arsenal, none of which have hit the target.
Fantastic work from Robin Van Persie in the middle of the park as he skips past three Stoke players before linking up with Ramsey to set up an Arsenal attack. Still no penetration from Arsenal though!
Wayne Veysey is our man at the Brittania today, he gives his thoughts on the atmosphere at the game today: "It is a feisty atmosphere here at the clash of two different football philosophies at the Britannia. Arsenal have completely dominated the play, and carved out a couple of reasonable chances, but Stoke are tying to make it as hostile as possible for the cultured visitors. 'Boring, boring, boring' chant the home fans every time Arsenal begin pinging some passes around while Arsene Wenger has been singled out for some attention."
Arsenal are having the majority of the possession here at the Britannia but are struggling to break down Stoke's stubborn defence.
Good work from Arshavin earns Arsenal a corner on the left-hand side that the Russian drills to the backpost. Laurent Koscielny does well to bring the ball down in a congested penalty area and gets a shot away, but it goes well over the bar. Neither team has tested the opposition goalkeeper yet.
Huge chance for Arsenal. Ramsey plays a beautiful dinked pass in behind the Stoke defence for Van Persie, but the Dutchman fails to get the ball out of his feet and scoops the ball well over the crossbar.
Stoke have their first attempt of the match, Glenn Whelan striking an ambitious effort from all of thirty yards that flies well over the crossbar.
Early chance for Arsenal as Arshavin finds some space in the Stoke penalty area, however he drags his shot horribly wide and wastes a good opportunity.
Arsenal get us underway attacking from right to left in their change strip of yellow shirts and maroon shorts.
The teams have made their way onto the pitch and we are moments away from kick off!
Arsenal welcome back Thomas Vermaelen to the Arsenal squad for the first time since August. Aaron Ramsey keeps his place in the centre of midfield with Arsene Wenger making two changes from the side that beat Manchester United last weekend, Kieran Gibbs replaces Gael Clichy, and Andrey Arshavin comes in for the injured Samir Nasri. Stoke are unchanged from last weeks draw with Blackpool.
Here are todays teams: Stoke: Begovic, Wilkinson, Shawcross, Huth, Wilson, Pennant, Whelan, Whitehead, Delap, Walters, Jones. Subs: Sorensen, Collins, Pugh, Diao, Carew, Faye, Shotton. Arsenal: Szczesny, Sagna, Koscielny, Djourou, Gibbs, Walcott, Ramsey, Song, Wilshere, Arshavin, Van Persie. Subs: Lehmann, Vermaelen, Rosicky, Squillaci, Eboue, Chamakh, Bendtner. Referee: Mark Halsey (Lancashire)
Hello and welcome to www.goal.com's live coverage of the Premier League clash between Stoke City and Arsenal from the Brittania Stadium. Arsene Wenger's men must win to have any chance of winning the title and with Stoke's sights set on the FA Cup final next weekend, this is a huge opportunity for Arsenal to put the pressure on Manchester United and Chelsea.
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