Stoke 3 Arsenal 2: Pathetic First Half Display Cost Gunners Dearly
Stoke 3 (Crouch 1′, Bojan 35′, Walters 45′) – Arsenal 2 (Cazorla 67′ pen, Ramsey 70′)
Three wins in a row. Three clean sheets on the bounce. Then ‘this’ happened. Typical Arsenal.
The day started really well as we watched Chelsea continue their unbeaten run against Newcastle. *psyche*. The only record that remains a source of sheer pride to Arsenal fans worldwide was taken so cruelly from the hands of Jose Mourinho and his hordes thanks to their newly found nemesis, Papiss Cisse. As expected, Arsenal fans laughed at the club as Twitter was buzzing with tweets from our faithful. Little did we know that our darling team was going to give us another shit-fest to witness.
Arsenal had fresh injury concerns to contend with as Laurent Koscielny and Nacho Monreal, two of our best defenders by a far mile this season, had fitness issues. This saw Per Mertesacker and Calum Chambers play through the middle thereby handing another chance for young Hector Bellerin. Further up the pitch, Danny Welbeck was having a groin problem so Olivier Giroud spearheaded the attack. Following his great cameo performance against Southampton, better things were expected of the French forward. Little did we know that he was going to have one of those games that would make you want to tear some hair from your head.
From kickoff, yes, kickoff, Stoke launched an attack from the left hand side with Kieran Gibbs going to sleep and Mertesacker caught out of position. Somehow the cross managed to evade Chambers and Bellerin lost his footing. When the ball arrived at Peter Crouch’s feet, Emi Martinez had already committed himself and he laid his arse flat on the turf allowing the lanky forward to score one of the easiest tap ins of his career. 21 seconds gone, Arsenal were already one nil down. shii!
The Gunners did well to see if they could respond to the massive disappointment and they should have had an equalizer when Bellerin used his raw reserves of pace to get to a ball that was on the brink of going out of play and he managed to provide a cross that came straight to Giroud. It was the kind of cross you’d expect the big forward to kill off but he somehow managed to miss the target when it seemed easier to score. If the game was tied at 1-1, it would have changed the outcome of the contest but you know how cruel football is. You have to take you chances or you’d be punished.
Phil Beardsley was given a chance to let one rip from distance but Martinez failed to handle a shot that came straight at him. Luckily, he has his defenders to clear the ball to safety because had Crouch been the first person on the rebound, it would have been a very embarrassing moment for a keeper that had looked so assured in recent weeks. There were a few half chances for the Gunners with Santi Cazorla blasting another shot wide. I’d also learned from the game that Arsenal has played 110 corners and it has only yielded one goal, with 106 or so defended by the opposition at the near post. That’s just terrible.
Stoke upped the ante with Miram Diouf heading a ball that was saved by Martinez but the offside flag came to the goalie’s rescue. Stoke extended their lead when Gibbs and Mertesacker went to sleep again on the left hand side with a cross evading both of them and coming straight to Bojan Krkic’s feet. The young Spaniard placed the ball past Martinez with the goalie on the prowl. If you think conceding two goals to Stoke wasn’t bad enough, Arsenal shot themselves on the foot yet again at the stroke of halftime as another array of shitty defending saw Jonathan Walters blasting the ball into the roof of the net to make it 3-0.
It’s also worth noting that Stoke smothered the Gunners anytime they had the ball and Alexis Sanchez was a player that was marked tightly. However, he created a moment of sheer individual brilliance when he took on the entire Stoke defense and even dribbled the goalie only for his effort to smash the post. Arsene Wenger put Giroud out of his misery by summoning Lukas Podolski but every Arsenal fan was utterly shocked when Bojan made mince meat of the defense before firing the ball in to make it four for Stoke but the ref ruled out the goal for offside.
From then onwards, it was all Arsenal. Wenger made a tactical switch by replacing Bellerin with Flamini and dropping Ramsey to the holding role with Welbeck coming in to support the attack thereby changing the entire dynamic of the team. It was Flamini that made a rear foray forward before he was clipped by some bloke in the box leaving the ref no choice but to award a penalty. Up stepped Cazorla, a player that had not scored in 27 Premier League games (since January) to sidefoot the ball past Asmir Begovic to make it 3-1. As expected the keeper acted by a cuntly cunt when he failed to release the ball. Three minutes later, Ramsey showed off his great technique to blast Sanchez’ corner into the net to make it 3-2. Two players that goals were hard to come by suddenly found their shooting boots to put Arsenal on the brink of an unlikely comeback.
Just when things were looking good for the Gunners as they pinned Stoke to the edge of the wall, Chambers decided to show off his naivety and inexperience by getting himself sent off for grabbing a player. That act took the winds off the sails to the team and from there on I knew that the game was as good as over. It’s moments like this, you take stock and wonder why a 19-year-old would be playing consistently for a team like Arsenal. Don’t get me wrong, Chambers has been great since he joined but times without number, his inexperience has gotten the better of him on many occasions.
In the end it was not to be as the Gunners dropped points yet again to a team that they should have beaten on paper. Yes, the Britannia is a hard place to come and play football but Stoke had lost in that stadium to Leicester, Burnley and Aston Villa. Those that watched the game can also attest to the fact that their goals came from lapses in concentration from the Arsenal rearguard, it’s not like they tore the defense apart with some ‘great football’.
This is a great concern for me and everyone connected with the club. These lads never seem to learn anything as they continue to make the same mistakes on a consistent basis. It’s rather unfortunate to see things pan out this way but we have to move forward and hope for the best.
It’s Galatasaray up next. I hope we don’t cock up in Turkey.
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