Date: 22nd September 2013 at 7:01pm
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Arsenal finished victorious at the Emirates and for the second week running the score line is not a true reflection of Stoke City`s performance.


The pre-match build up was too heavily focused on Shawcross and Ramsey and “that incident”. Perhaps if the world stopped talking about it then the bad blood between these two sides could die down a little. Stoke set up with an attacking line-up with Marco Arnautovic making his full debut and replacing Matthew Etherington in the side. Mark Hughes wanted to hassle Arsenal into mistakes and then try to hit them on the counter but after only 5 minutes, the game plan had come undone. Charlie Adam brought down a theatrical Jack Wilshere 25 yards from goal and Ozil took the resulting free-kick. Asmir Begovic has been in top form for City so far this season but will be very disappointed with the save from Ozil`s free kick, which was parried straight into Ramsey`s line of fire and tucked away neatly. A fairytale story for Ramsey, a nightmare start for Hughes.


Steven N`Zonzi looked to be enjoying his midfield battle with prima-donna Wilshere and managed to free Arnautovic with a delightful ball over the top on 26 minutes. Arnie`s volley crashed against the post but Geoffrey Cameron was on hand to sublimely guide the ball in the bottom right hand corner, with his weaker left foot none the less. Game on, the Potters were back in with a chance.


If Stoke fans thought that Begovic`s flap for the opening goal was bad, then the defending on 36 minutes was nothing short of schoolboy. Mesut Ozil whipped in a corner and an unmarked Per Mertesacker guided it into the far post having previously had a header cleared off the line only minutes earlier. 2-1 to the Gunners and when you`re scoring two goals from set pieces against Stoke City, you know its your day.


Mark Hughes tried to rescue the points for City by making three daring substitutions in quick succession, with Adam, Pieters and Jones being replaced by Ireland, Palacios and Pennant, respectively. The substitutions very nearly paid off with City dominating possession in the second half, but it just wasn`t to be. In the 72nd minute, Wilshere hit the deck easily (his second home) and won Arsenal a free kick in a dangerous position. Pass master Ozil stepped up and managed to find Bacary Sagna, whose header somehow looped over an ill-positioned Begovic.


The game finished 3-1 and Stoke City can feel a sense of injustice that they were unable to come away with at least a point in this game. The only real difference between the two teams was the quality of defending and its safe to say that City`s usually evergreen back five simply weren’t at the races today.

 

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