Arsenal 2-0 Stoke  

Sunday, 6 December 2009

Arsenal leapfrogged Tottenham Hotspur into third place in the Barclays Premier League with a morale-boosting 2-0 win over Stoke City.

Andrey Arshavin, who was by far the Gunners' best player, slotted home from a tight angle in the first half minutes after Cesc Fabregas had missed a penalty on his 250th appearance for the club.

After a largely frustrating second half, impressive substitute Aaron Ramsey sealed the win with a cool finish 10 minutes from time.

The Gunners started brightly and Fabregas put Arshavin through one on one with Thomas Sorensen but he came out to block the Russian's shot.

Stoke's first meaningful attack came eight minutes in when Manuel Almunia had to come out and punch away one of Rory Delap's trademark long throws.

Delap's throws were the Potters' main attacking option and Almunia looked nervous as he struggled to deal with the defender's third throw of the match 11 minutes in.

shot straight

Arsenal were then given a golden chance to take the lead in the 20th minute when Arshavin was tripped by Delap in the box and referee Mark Clattenburg pointed to the spot.

Fabregas stepped up to take the penalty but Sorensen stretched to his left to palm the ball around the post.

Six minutes later, Arshavin made amends for a mis-hit by slotting the ball home from a Fabregas pass to pick up his seventh of the season and give Arsenal the lead.

They then came agonisingly close to doubling their lead straight after the goal.

Armand Traore slipped in Fabregas, whose shot rebounded off Faye onto the post. The ball then fell back to the Spaniard, who lashed the ball towards goal only for Emmanuel Eboue to accidentally block the ball on the Stoke line.

Arsenal felt they should have had a second penalty on the stroke of half-time when Samir Nasri's pass brushed Faye's hand but Clattenburg waved away the Gunners' appeals.

Tuncay turned neatly on the edge of the box but shot straight at Almunia for Stoke's first attack of the second half as the rain started to fall on the Emirates pitch.

striker's shot

Arshavin, who continued as Arsenal's lone striker despite Carlos Vela's introduction, continued to pose a threat and forced Sorensen into a fine save shortly after.

Tuncay then broke the offside trip to latch onto Liam Lawrence's long ball down field but he lacked pace and composure, allowing William Gallas to track back and block the striker's shot.

Arshavin was unlucky not to add his second when his shot was deflected onto the bar by Stoke captain Faye.

The home crowd sensed the Gunners needed a second and it came with 11 minutes left when Ramsey picked the ball up on the edge of the box, jinked inside and calmly stroked the ball past Sorensen.

Fabregas and Arshavin both had chances towards the end for the Gunners while Gallas finished the match hobbling with what looked like a thigh injury.


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