STOKE CITY FC 1 ARSENAL 1
Stoke cleared their heads after last week's snooze in Geordieland,swiftly getting down to business.Ref Foy,too,got off to a flier unjustly booking Dean Whitehead within 3 minutes.
Early on Arsenal looked uncomfortable faced with the high ball.On 10 minutes Matty Etherington swung over a cross from the left,Peter Crouch was there to meet the ball heading into the Arsenal net to the keeper's left for the opener.
We did not have to wait long for a response from the 3rd placed team.They moved the ball around,probing for a weakness in Stoke's defences.Right back Ryan Shotton proved to be that weakness,as he failed to clear a ball into the crowd.From the resultant loose ball Rosicky was put in possession.He moved a little infield before skillfully clipping the ball into the Stoke box where Van Persie stole in to net past Begovic(15 mins).
Both sides had further chances but could not make anything of them.The pattern was pretty much the same for the whole of the second half.With Huth switching to right back and Upson on for Shotton Stoke looked defensively tighter.Late in the half Jon Walters spurned a chance which he would have gobbled up last season,coming onto the ball from the left,but directing the ball outside Arsenal's right hand post.At the end of the game a 'proper' long throw by Delap himself reached the Arsenal six yard box,caused the customary chaos,but unfortunately for us Sagna was on hand to clear.
Honours even,a fair result,but the real highlight of the afternoon was provided by the crowd.We are all used to seeing Arsene Wenger whinging on the touchline.His frequent protests about real or imagined injustices against his team,gesturing towards an official (or indeed no-one in particular) arms outstretched,palms upwards are familiar.
Imagine 24,000 people, all around the ground ,all making the same gestures in unison each time AW protested.As he became more heated (with increasing frequency too) so the Stokie crowd had their fun,gleefully reflecting his mannerisms back to him (his own reserves on the bench were chuckling too!).Thousands stood,arms outstretched,palms upward 'DOING THE WENGER' !! Brilliant,absolutely brilliant fun!