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Stoke loss overshadowed by injury

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The Britannia


Attendance: 27,011


Arsenal closed the gap at the top of the Premier League to just 3 points after they came from behind to beat Stoke 3-1 at the Britannia. Danny Pugh had given Stoke the lead from a Rory Delap throw-in before Nicklas Bendtner superbly headed an equaliser. Further goals from Cesc Fabregas and Thomas Vermaelen saw Arsenal home but the game will be remembered for the horrific injury suffered by Aaron Ramsey.

The Welshman has suffered a broken leg after a 50-50 challenge with Ryan Shawcross, who was subsequently sent off. Distressing scenes followed which saw Arsenal visibly upset and Shawcross in tears as he walked off the pitch.

Stoke boss Tony Pulis made 3 changes from the side that beat Man City in the cup. Danny Pugh was the surprise selection on the left of midfield as he replaced Liam Lawrence. Abdoulaye Faye and Andy Wilkinson both returned from suspensions in place of Danny Collins and Salif Diao.

The fiery crowd were behind Stoke from the off and they immediately put pressure on Arsene Wenger`s side. Mama Sidibe headed wide from an early Delap throw but 'Devastating Delap` soon provided Stoke with the lead.

His fizzed in throw was flicked on by Shawcross to the back post where Danny Pugh stooped low to head in his first Stoke goal for over a year. Scenes of jubilation went round the Brit as Stoke led Arsenal again.

Arsenal were rattled and the three creative midfielders; Fabregas, Ramsey and Nasri were struggling against the strength and pressure applied by Dean Whitehead and Rory Delap.

However they soon got going and Fabregas forced a decent stop out of Sorensen with a crisp half-volley sneaking inside the post. Minutes later though the equaliser arrived after Bendtner rose above Wilkinson and powerfully headed Fabregas`s cross past Sorensen.

As half-time arrived the game was very even as although Arsenal dominated possession, it was Stoke who looked the more threatening on the counter attack.

Early in the second half Abdoulaye Faye was replaced by Danny Collins and Eboue brought an outstanding save from Sorensen from just outside the box as his effort was destined for the top corner.

Arsenal now looked dangerous going forward and they controlled the game. Upfront for the Potters, Ricardo Fuller was left to feed on scraps and he couldn`t quite recreate the magic he has produced against Arsenal on their two previous visits.

After the sickening injury to Ramsey, the game fell flat and many supporters became disinterested in the game as thoughts were with the young Welshman.

Arsenal looked mentally drained and struggled to press home the numerical advantage.

However with two minutes left, luck fell the Gunners way. Danny Pugh was adjudged, by the poor referee Peter Walton, to have handled the ball in the penalty area and Fabregas stepped up and calmly slotted the ball home from the spot despite Sorensen`s best efforts. And just to make the game safe, deep in to injury time Vermaelen tapped into an empty net to seal the points.

The result leaves Stoke 11th still on 34 points. Next up is Chelsea away in the FA Cup Quarters before a rearranged game away at Burnley.

Star Player

Dean Whitehead- He bossed the midfield today and showed the leadership qualities that saw him a become club captain at 23. Reliable as always and got the crowd going with some lung bursting runs going forward.

Player Ratings

Stoke: Sorensen, Wilkinson, Shawcross, Ab Faye (c) (Collins 60), Huth, Delap, Whitehead (Lawrence 77), Whelan, Pugh, Sidibe, Fuller (Tuncay 80). Subs not used: Begovic, Diao, Kitson, Beattie.

Arsenal: Almunia, Sagna, Campbell, Vermaelen, Clichy, Ramsey (Rosicky 69), Eboue (Walcott 75), Song, Fabregas (c), Nasri (Eduardo 83), Bendtner. Subs not used: Fabianski, Silvestre, Traore, Vela.

Writer:Charlie Bennett
Date:Saturday February 27 2010
Time: 10:19PM


Get well soon Ramsey. Horrible injury
27/02/2010 22:20:00
I was there and it was a sickening injury. It didnt help that some Stoke fans were signing "One leg, he's only got one leg..." Classy
27/02/2010 22:46:00
Every club has it's share of mindless morons. The vast majority of stokies were sickened by his injury and wish him well. Everyone should remember that Ryan is no thug and the TV replays show that it was a 50/50 challenge and there was no malice.
27/02/2010 23:22:00
But everyone should also remember that Ricardo Fuller said before the game that Arsenal should be prepared for rough and aggressive treatment because those tactics had worked before. Rough and aggressive treatment may lead to broken legs though even if it's not malicious. It's no coincidence that Arsenal are the team who have had these serious injuries if teams are regularly using these tactics.
28/02/2010 00:05:00
Amen to that midico. Stoke players practicly announce their intention to be thugs and fein shock when something like this happens. Why bother having a football club, just field a rugby side and do away with the pretense.
28/02/2010 00:22:00
The referee was poor alright. How he didn't give those 2 nailed on penalties to Arsenal earlier in the match is anyone's guess.
Wyn Mills
28/02/2010 01:18:00
Playing the game stoke played rather than playing FOOTBALL will only lead to injuries. Shawcross didn't mean to do it, fair point, and he clearly felt awful about it. But week in and week out Arsenal get booted by these lesser skilled teams and its just getting out of hand.
28/02/2010 07:22:00
How could Stoke fans signing "One leg, he's only got one leg..." after that nasty tackle??? Have you no heart? The boy is only 19 for godsake and having that injury that could jepordise his career. Those fans were such a disgrace!!!
28/02/2010 07:43:00
Shawcross might not mean to do it. But the Stokes fans singing the "one leg song" are totally disgusting. They saw the accident but still without any heart. Those people are not deserved to be a soccer fan, or even a human being.
28/02/2010 09:32:00
Hey guys, I'm a rover, just wanted to say that I hope Shawcross gets over this soon - I think he's a cracking player. And know that he didn't have any intent in the challenge. I was disappointed with some chants - as you've mentioned above - but realise that this was only the minority.
28/02/2010 11:57:00
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