7th in the table, 2 points behind Liverpool, on the way up the table. Nice. Before I start my match report of our game, I’d like to just confirm that we have won six of our last seven games. For any Man United fans reading this blog, then just to re-iterate, that we have 1-6 of our last seven games…. I couldn’t resist that joke!
Arsenal 3 – 1 Stoke
With games coming thick and fast, Arsene decided to rest Robin Van Persie for the game, Maroune Chamakh replacing him in the starting line up. Gervinho took Arshavin’s place and Ramsey taking Rosicky’s place. With Jenkinson & Sagna out injured, Johan Djourou took control of right back, for an eleven that looked like this:
Djourou – Mertersacker – Koscielny – Santos
Song – Arteta
Walcott – Ramsey – Gervinho
With a bench of Fabianski, Frimpong, Rosicky, Benayoun, Arshavin, Park, Van Persie.
The game was an interesting one – the two teams had an obvious dislike for each other – managers, players and fans – and it was always going to be a feisty affair. Stoke came to defend and “nick a point”, and for most of the game, they stayed deep and kept their shape. Ramsey, Arteta and Song played most of their game in the opposition half and it was of those probing patient games. Our goal came when the excellent Gervinho darted in the middle of the Stoke defence and Ramsey lofted a ball over into his path. The Ivorian finished well with his left foot and put us 1-0 up. Despite their defensive stance, Stoke were always dangerous – and especially with set pieces and especially through the annoying tall Peter Crouch – and it was he who eventually equalised after a bit of pinballs in our area…
1-1, 25 minutes to go – queue man of the moment, Robin Van Persie. Substitute appearance replacing the very much not in form Maroune Chamakh, and before we knew it, we were 3-1 up – massive credit goes to Gervinho for his work rate and his runs around the box. First, he popped up on the right and edged past the Stoke defender to square into Van Persie whose back post to near post run was superb, and the Dutch International scored from short range. A sense of relief around the stadium and shortly afterwards, Gervinho popped up on the left, Arshavin (as a sub for the shockingly bad Walcott), slipped the ball into his bath – and the Ivorian squared for Van Persie again and then it was 3-1 to the Arsenal…
Arsene summed up the performance and