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Page last updated at 16:57 GMT, Saturday, 5 December 2009

Arsenal   2 - 0   Stoke

Andrey Arshavin (left) scores Arsenal's winner
Arshavin (left) watches his shot find the bottom corner of the goal

By Ian Hughes

Arsenal ended their three-game losing streak by comfortably beating Stoke.

Andrey Arshavin missed a one-on-one chance, Samir Nasri was denied and Cesc Fabregas had a penalty saved as Thomas Sorensen kept Arsenal out early on.

Arshavin poked in a shot to open the scoring, before Armand Traore's cross hit the bar and post, and Fabregas's goal-bound shot hit Emmanuel Eboue.

Arsenal sealed the victory when substitute Aaron Ramsey rifled home from the edge of the box.

The result will be a welcome relief for Arsene Wenger, who has endured a difficult week, and it will help the Frenchman fondly remember his 500th Premier League game in charge of the Gunners.

Stoke had a chance to take advantage of Arsenal's poor form of late to spoil the occasion of Wenger's landmark, which was also Arsenal's 100th game at the Emirates, but they never looked capable.

Win helps Arsenal 'start again', says Wenger

Other than Rory Delap's long throw-ins which caused Arsenal keeper Manuel Almunia to flap uncertainly, the visitors were the kind of guests that were too well-behaved to create an upset.

Respect, not in evidence when Wenger refused to shake Mark Hughes's hand in midweek, was apparent all afternoon - and too much at that as Stoke allowed Arsenal to stroke the ball around at will.

But as is often the case with the Gunners, their intricate build-up was sometimes too elaborate and with only Arshavin up front their options were limited.

However, when they did get it right - as they did for the opening goal - it was typically fluent.

Arshavin collected a return pass from Fabregas, dug the ball out from under his feet and slotted a low shot into the bottom corner.

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It was a relief for the hosts, who had already missed a number of chances by then.

Arshavin's heavy touch allowed Sorensen to save and Nasri saw his shot beaten away by the Stoke stopper. Sorensen was also at his very best to save Fabregas's penalty after Delap had tripped Arshavin.

While Stoke's rearguard was just about being held together by Sorensen's excellent performance, their forward play consisted of hopeful balls over the top and Tuncay being flagged for offside.

Just after Arsenal's first goal, they almost doubled their advantage but somehow contrived to miss the chance.

Traore's cross was deflected on to the bar and post, and Fabregas smashed the rebound goalwards but the ball hit Eboue, preventing a certain goal.

After the break, the lively Arshavin tested Sorensen with a low shot, but the keeper did well to get down to his left to push the ball away.

Pulis pleased with Stoke 'spirit'

Despite his diminutive stature the Russian, who earlier in the week said Arsenal need some taller players, was leading the line very well.

He was involved again when the Gunners launched a fast break and worked the ball across goal but Arshavin's shot smacked the top of the bar after taking a deflection.

A second goal was proving elusive, and there were signs that Arsenal were a little nervous at the back while the lead remained as the slenderest of margins.

But any lingering worries were calmed when Ramsey played a one-two with Arshavin and fired in a shot with the outside of his boot that gave Sorensen no chance.

Arsenal now move up to third place in the table, leapfrogging their neighbours Tottenham, who play at Everton on Sunday.

The only blemishes on the Gunners' afternoon were injuries suffered by Emmanuel Eboue, William Gallas and Tomas Rosicky.


Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger:
"Arshavin did very well. He played through the middle and, considering his size, he gave the central defenders big problems.

"His movement was good as was the quality of his control, and he finished his goal well - he could have scored three goals but he had a very good game.

"It should have been a more comfortable victory but Stoke never gave up and we had a very good first half but in the second half, our recent defeats played on our minds and we were a bit more restricted in our play.

"It was good for us to keep our focus, not give any chances away and in the end we won the game."

Stoke manager Tony Pulis:
"Arsenal have so much quality that they get their chances no matter how well you play.

"It was a big, big challenge, but the lads never stopped working. They did smashing and it was a much improved performance on last year.

"Arsenal played some smashing football but I was really pleased with the character and the spirit of my squad."

Live text and stats

 

Saturday, 5 December 2009

Premier League

Home Team Score Away Team Time
Arsenal 2-0 Stoke FT
(HT 1-0)
  • Arshavin 26
  • Ramsey 79

    Arsenal

    Substitutes

    Stoke

    Substitutes

    Ref: ClattenburgAtt: 60,048
    ARSENAL
    STOKE

    Possession

    • Arsenal 59%
    • Stoke 41%

    Attempts on target

    • Arsenal 8
    • Stoke 4

    Attempts off target

    • Arsenal 4
    • Stoke 1

    Corners

    • Arsenal 10
    • Stoke 2

    Fouls

    • Arsenal 3
    • Stoke 8
    • Final Result
    • Full Time
    • 90:00+4:24 The final whistle goes and the game is over.
    • 90:00+3:58 The offside flag is raised against Tuncay Sanli. Indirect free kick taken by Manuel Almunia.
    • 90:00+2:36 Ricardo Fuller is adjudged to have handled the ball. Manuel Almunia restarts play with the free kick.
    • 89:09 Shot by Aaron Ramsey. Save made by Thomas Sorensen.
    • 87:37 Substitution Mikael Silvestre on for Armand Traore.
    • 86:50 Corner taken by Matthew Etherington from the right by-line, Manuel Almunia makes a save.
    • 86:42 Tuncay Sanli delivers the ball, blocked by Thomas Vermaelen.
    • 85:19 Effort on goal by Ricardo Fuller from 25 yards. Comfortable save by Manuel Almunia.
    • 84:15 Corner taken short by Francesc Fabregas.
    • Correction - 80:30 Free kick taken by Manuel Almunia.
    • Correction - 80:30 Substitution Glenn Whelan replaces Rory Delap.
    • Correction - 80:30 Foul by Ricardo Fuller on Thomas Vermaelen, free kick awarded.
    • 80:30 Manuel Almunia takes the free kick.
    • 80:30 Substitution Glenn Whelan is brought on as a substitute for Rory Delap.
    • 80:30 Ricardo Fuller challenges Thomas Vermaelen unfairly and gives away a free kick.
    • 78:42 GOAL - Aaron RamseyArsenal 2 - 0 Stoke Goal scored by Aaron Ramsey from the edge of the penalty box to the bottom right corner of the goal. Arsenal 2-0 Stoke.
    • 76:17 Effort on goal by Salif Diao from long range goes harmlessly over the bar.
    • 74:00 Francesc Fabregas takes the free kick.
    • 74:00 Substitution Ricardo Fuller replaces Liam Lawrence.
    • 74:00 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Carlos Alberto Vela by Liam Lawrence.
    • 69:13 The official flags Liam Lawrence offside. Armand Traore takes the indirect free kick.
    • 68:29 Samir Nasri delivers the ball, Headed effort from inside the area by Thomas Vermaelen misses to the left of the target.
    • 67:59 Corner taken by Samir Nasri played to the near post, clearance by Rory Delap.
    • 65:34 Liam Lawrence delivers the ball.
    • 64:04 Outswinging corner taken by Samir Nasri, clearance by Salif Diao.
    • 63:40 Andrey Arshavin takes a shot. Blocked by Abdoulaye Faye.
    • 61:26 Substitution Mamady Sidibe goes off and James Beattie comes on.
    • 60:33 Tuncay Sanli takes a shot. William Gallas gets a block in.
    • 56:09 Tuncay Sanli is ruled offside. Free kick taken by Manuel Almunia.
    • 55:02 Tuncay Sanli is adjudged to have handled the ball. Free kick taken by William Gallas.
    • 53:32 Substitution Aaron Ramsey on for Emmanuel Eboue.
    • 52:38 Salif Diao gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Neves Denilson. Direct free kick taken by Armand Traore.
    • 50:41 Corner taken right-footed by Francesc Fabregas, clearance by Robert Huth.
    • 50:21 Andrey Arshavin takes a shot. Save by Thomas Sorensen.
    • 50:00 Inswinging corner taken by Samir Nasri from the left by-line, clearance by Danny Collins.
    • 49:52 Centre by Armand Traore, clearance by Abdoulaye Faye.
    • 47:12 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Thomas Vermaelen by Andy Wilkinson. Free kick crossed right-footed by Samir Nasri from left wing, Rory Delap manages to make a clearance.
    • 46:46 Tuncay Sanli takes a shot. Manuel Almunia makes a comfortable save.
    • 45:01 The referee gets the second half underway.
    • 45:01 Substitution (Arsenal) makes a substitution, with Carlos Alberto Vela coming on for Tomas Rosicky.
    • Half Time
    • 45:00+3:05 The ref blows to signal half-time.
    • 45:00+2:34 Effort on goal by Samir Nasri from deep inside the area goes harmlessly over the bar.
    • 45:00+1:36 The referee blows for offside. Manuel Almunia takes the free kick.
    • 45:00+1:15 The ball is sent over by Rory Delap, clearance by William Gallas.
    • 39:49 Samir Nasri challenges Liam Lawrence unfairly and gives away a free kick. Thomas Sorensen takes the direct free kick.
    • 39:40 Andrey Arshavin sends in a cross, clearance by Abdoulaye Faye.
    • 36:56 Corner from left by-line taken by Samir Nasri.
    • 34:09 Emmanuel Eboue produces a right-footed shot from just outside the area that goes harmlessly over the target.
    • 32:25 Free kick awarded for a foul by Emmanuel Eboue on Mamady Sidibe. Danny Collins restarts play with the free kick.
    • 31:54 Unfair challenge on Manuel Almunia by Mamady Sidibe results in a free kick. Manuel Almunia restarts play with the free kick.
    • 30:01 Andy Wilkinson takes a shot. Manuel Almunia makes a comfortable save.
    • 28:36 Andrey Arshavin handles the ball and concedes a free kick. Thomas Sorensen takes the indirect free kick.
    • 27:01 The ball is swung over by Armand Traore, Francesc Fabregas takes a shot. Emmanuel Eboue gets a block in.
    • 25:27 Assist by Francesc Fabregas.
    • 25:27 GOAL - Andrey ArshavinArsenal 1 - 0 Stoke Andrey Arshavin grabs a goal from close in to the bottom right corner of the goal. Arsenal 1-0 Stoke.
    • 24:09 Right-footed shot by Andrey Arshavin.
    • 23:20 Armand Traore produces a cross, Thomas Sorensen makes a comfortable save.
    • 22:37 The assistant referee signals for offside against Tuncay Sanli. Neves Denilson takes the free kick.
    • 21:50 Tuncay Sanli is ruled offside. Indirect free kick taken by William Gallas.
    • 20:35 Francesc Fabregas decides to take a short corner.
    • 19:36 Penalty taken by Francesc Fabregas saved by Thomas Sorensen. Arsenal 0-0 Stoke.
    • 19:36 Unfair challenge on Andrey Arshavin by Rory Delap results in a Penalty.
    • 18:12 Bacary Sagna produces a cross.
    • 17:05 Tuncay Sanli challenges Neves Denilson unfairly and gives away a free kick. Direct free kick taken by William Gallas.
    • 16:09 Outswinging corner taken by Francesc Fabregas, Rory Delap manages to make a clearance.
    • 16:03 A cross is delivered by Emmanuel Eboue, Abdoulaye Faye manages to make a clearance.
    • 15:44 The referee blows for offside against Tuncay Sanli. Thomas Vermaelen takes the free kick.
    • 14:46 Free kick awarded for a foul by Mamady Sidibe on Bacary Sagna. Bacary Sagna takes the free kick.
    • 10:29 Neves Denilson concedes a free kick for a foul on Tuncay Sanli. Direct free kick taken by Danny Collins.
    • 9:17 The ball is crossed by Rory Delap, clearance by William Gallas.
    • 7:47 Inswinging corner taken by Liam Lawrence from the left by-line, save by Manuel Almunia.
    • 6:30 The referee blows for offside against Andrey Arshavin. Indirect free kick taken by Thomas Sorensen.
    • 4:32 Shot from 6 yards by Samir Nasri. Save made by Thomas Sorensen.
    • 4:11 Tuncay Sanli is flagged offside by the assistant referee. Thomas Vermaelen takes the free kick.
    • 3:03 Outswinging corner taken from the right by-line by Francesc Fabregas, Robert Huth makes a clearance.
    • 2:44 Andrey Arshavin takes a shot. Thomas Sorensen gets a block in.
    • 0:39 Francesc Fabregas takes the outswinging corner, Danny Collins makes a clearance.
    • 0:00 The match has kicked off.

    Live text and data provided by The Press Association.



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    Premier League table

    Saturday, 5 December 2009 19:35 UK

    Position Team P GD PTS
    Full Premier League table
    1 Chelsea 15 27 36
    2 Man Utd 15 21 34
    3 Arsenal 14 20 28
    4 Tottenham 14 14 26
    5 Aston Villa 15 11 26
    6 Man City 14 8 25
    7 Liverpool 15 11 24
    8 Birmingham 15 -1 21
    9 Sunderland 14 1 20
    10 Stoke 15 -4 20
    11 Fulham 14 2 19
    12 Blackburn 15 -12 18
    13 Burnley 15 -14 17
    14 Wigan 15 -17 17
    15 Hull 16 -17 16
    16 Everton 14 -8 15
    17 West Ham 15 -6 14
    18 Wolverhampton 15 -14 13
    19 Bolton 14 -12 12
    20 Portsmouth 15 -10 10

    see also
    Saturday football as it happened
    05 Dec 09 |  Football
    Saturday's football photos
    05 Dec 09 |  Football
    Rosicky suffers groin injury blow
    07 Dec 09 |  Arsenal


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