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Stoke gun down Arsenal in cup

3 - 1

Britannia Stadium


Attendance: 19,735


Stoke ended almost 40 years of pain as a memorable day saw them beat Arsenal and progress through to the 5th round of the FA Cup. A Ricardo Fuller brace and a first Stoke goal for Dean Whitehead was enough, as the inspired Potters totally outplayed the visitors. Stoke will play Manchester City in the fifth round.

Stoke manager Tony Pulis made 3 changes to the side from last weeks draw against Liverpool. Out went Tuncay for a rest and Abdoulaye Faye who was injured, and they were replaced by both Ricardo Fuller and Danny Collins. Also recalled was Glenn Whelan in place of Salif Diao.

In the Arsenal team, club legend Sol Campbell made his long awaited return to the club as he played his first game since resigning last week.

Stoke shot out of the trap door like a bullet and took the lead after less than two minutes. Early pressure resulted in the first of many Rory Delap throws that Arsenal struggled with so much last year. As the rocket entered the box at blistering speed, Fuller managed to beat Arsenal keeper Lukasz Fabianski to the ball and he headed the ball in off the post.

The visitors were shaken as the Potters piled on the pressure with both Mama Sidibe and Ricardo Fuller working tirelessly upfront all day. However Mama did struggle in the air against the impressive Campbell who handled the physicality of Stoke much better then any of his team mates.

Arsenal`s youngsters started to show how promising they were with some neat passing, orchestrated by the super talented Cesc Fabregas. The Spaniard seemed Arsenal`s only real threat going forward to the box as both Theo Walcott and Carlos Vela struggled. Walcott was kept on his leash all day by Danny Collins who enjoyed a successful return to the first team.

At the other end Fuller was playing out of his skin and caused both Campbell and Mikael Silvestre problems. He should have been given a penalty when he skipped past one Arsenal challenge but was clearly tripped over by the second of Silvestre but the ref waved away all claims.

Stoke felt even more hard done by when the ref awarded Arsenal a free kick right on the corner of the penalty box after Dean Whitehead was judged to have handled the ball. Up stepped Fabregas who deceived everyone by laying it across for Denilson whose shot deflected into the corner past a stranded Sørensen. Arsenal managed to claw themselves back into the game against the run of play.

Stoke came out all guns blazing in the second half and came within whiskers of taking the lead. Whelan, who pulled the strings in midfield, set-up Etherington down the left and he clipped in a great ball that just cleared the head of Sidibe.

Big Mama was enjoying one of his best performances in a Stoke shirt and a goal would have capped off a fine all round display.

Fabregas however wouldn`t go away and almost scored an outstanding goal from 30 yards but his vicious shot was just tipped over by Sorensen. Vela also found space but his shot went sailing wide.

Wenger then played his trump card and bought on the likes of Eduardo and Arshavin who enjoyed plenty of success against the Potters in their previous meeting in December.

It was Stoke though who took the lead, and in style. Sidibe picked the ball up on the right and went on a charging run down the wing. Arsenal were startled and Silvestre`s slip allowed the big African to chip a inch perfect ball over the head of Campbell for Fuller to head back across goal and into the back of the net.

It then got even better a few minutes later. After Vela missed another great opportunity for Arsenal, Etherington`s pace allowed him to beat a couple of men and feed a simple ball across the face of goal for the onrushing Whitehead to tap home.

Game over and the Potters booked their spot in the fifth round. With United, Liverpool, Arsenal and Everton knocked out. Do we dare to dream?

Star Player

Ricardo Fuller: For the first time this season looked as sharp as last year. Took both goals excellently and proved how good he is.

Player Ratings

Stoke: Sorensen, Huth, Shawcross, Higginbotham (c), Collins, Delap ( Diao 85), Whelan, Whitehead, Etherington (Pugh 90), Sidibe, Fuller (Tuncay 85). Subs not used: Simonsen, Wilkinson, Lawrence, Beattie.

Arsenal: Fabianski, Coquelin (Ramsey 67), Campbell, Silvestre, Traore, Walcott (Arshavin 67), Denilson, Eastmond, Fabregas (c), Vela, Emmanuel-Thomas (Eduardo 67). Subs not used: Mannone, Bartley, Frimpong, Rosicky.

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Writer:Charlie Bennett
Date:Sunday January 24 2010
Time: 6:12PM


I loved every damn minute of it - glorious entertainment!
Al Billy
24/01/2010 19:03:00
Arsenal fan here. Congrats on a great performance. You won fair and square. All the best in your next FA cup matches.
24/01/2010 19:17:00
Well done Stoke from a gooner, you thoroughly deserved it.
24/01/2010 19:41:00
congrats, yu were the better team today and totally turned it on in the second half and we cudnt live with it. now go on and win it now. with so many of the big teams out, yu won't get a better chance than this for a long time..
24/01/2010 20:47:00
I love the FA cup and this would have been good opportunity with United and Liverpool already out but we were beaten by the better side. Congratulations Stoke City and good luck in the next round.
24/01/2010 21:10:00
We were blufy brilliant. Im guuted with the draw though
25/01/2010 14:05:00
i have waited 38 years for that,whatever happens in the next round beating arsenal will be the highlight of the cup
31/01/2010 12:06:00
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League Table

# Team P W D L Pts. GD
C Leicester City 36 22 11 3 77 30
2 Spurs 36 19 13 4 70 39
3 Arsenal 36 19 10 7 67 25
4 Man City 36 19 7 10 64 30
5 Man Utd 35 17 9 9 60 12
6 West Ham 35 15 14 6 59 17
7 Southampton 36 16 9 11 57 14
8 Liverpool 35 15 10 10 55 11
9 Chelsea 35 12 12 11 48 7
10 Stoke 36 13 9 14 48 -14
11 Everton 35 10 14 11 44 6
12 Watford 35 12 8 15 44 -6
13 Swansea 36 11 10 15 43 -13
14 WBA 36 10 11 15 41 -14
15 AFC Bournemouth 36 11 8 17 41 -20
16 Crystal Palace 36 10 9 17 39 -10
17 Newcastle 36 8 9 19 33 -25
18 Sunderland 35 7 11 17 32 -18
19 Norwich 35 8 7 20 31 -26
R Aston Villa 36 3 7 26 16 -45
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