A 76th minute gifted penalty converted by Jonathan Walters was all Stoke City needed to continue their superb run over the top teams at the Britannia.
Arsenal arrived Stoke bouyed by their 4-1 victory over Sunderland at the Emirates with Wenger making just one change bringing in Gibbs for injured Monreal. The line up was same with Ozil on the bench. The Gunners’ Arsenal could not break down the Fort at the Britannia.
Drab and Sparkless.
The first 15 minutes were tight and scrappy in equal measure. Stoke settled more quickly but neither side created anything of note. There was no spark in the half. Cazorla’s Curler was off, Podolski side netted the best chance and Giroud had a tame header. Szczesny had to save to keep Arsenal into the break.
Arsenal lacked spark, pace and idea. The passes eluded them, the flicks were woeful, hold-up play was laughable, but the defense held on till Mike Jones awarded a penalty in the 76th minute, harshly. Yes, Koscienly’s arms were not by his side, but the ball rebounded onto his hand as he challenged with Jonathan Walters. He didn’t make any move towards the ball with his hand and it was a generous decision from the referee.
Referees And Arsenal.
I hate to take on referees but Mike Jones seemed to have awarded that penalty harshly. In Wenger’s words:
He [Koscienly] is one yard away. How can he take his hand away? He has no time to take his hand away from the ball. There’s is no intention at all but I feel we cannot influence the decision of the referee. I feel going forward we were not good enough to create chances and that’s why we were punished.
Honestly I don’t want to talk about the referee.
Giroud got stamped twice on purpose by Charlie Adams et al but it seems Jones felt otherwise. Decisions seem not to favour the gunners. And just before the break, Rosicky was racing on goal and Mike blew. Is Arsenal not….
Ox and The Late Rally
Prior to the Ox introduction, Cazorla had a chance to lay on to Podolski on the left but he opted to shoot and Begovic had it covered.
Wenger brought on Ozil for Podolski but the German had little or no impart as he was starved of the ball. Oxlade-Chamberlain had to come in for Rosicky and then the gunners looked to have bite on the right flank. Sagna have been starved all day and the right flank have been dead until the Ox arrived. The Ox has been a bright spark in Arsenal’s attack, bullying his wasy through, garnished with pass.
The Quest For A Striker
Prior to the beginning of the season, Arsenal flirted with Suarez and Higuan but failed to get any. Giroud seem to have shown he would do better than his 1st season and thus Wenger stuck with his French Striker. Another French Striker came in on free transfer to add to Arsenal’s power. Power? Yes, Sanogo showed guts against Liverpool and Bayern Munich.
The Ox rumbled through the Stoke City defence, getting to the byeline, cutting in to Sanogo. The Young Striker guffed the ball away, the best chance of the late rally. Miss of Life. Will Bendtner have converted? Well I cant say, but I wonder how he will feel. Giroud’s chance before that from an Ox pass was so tame.
Can Arsenal win the League with this fire power? The League is slipping away. With Chelsea winning Fulham, the gunners are now 4 points behind. Liverpool’s win later on added salt to Arsenal’s injury pushing them down to 3rd behind Manchester City who have 2 games in ahead and 2 points behind.
If Manchester City wins their outstanding game, Arsenal would be sucked in to 4th. Traditional 4th? This season has to be different. To be different, Arsenal must beat Manchester City and Chelsea.