Arsenal held by Stoke in scrappy draw at Britannia

17:16 28 April 2012

Robin van Persie equalised for Arsenal at Stoke

Robin van Persie equalised for Arsenal at Stoke

Archant

Premier League: Stoke City 1 Arsenal 1

Arsenal missed a chance to pull away from Newcastle in the race for third place in the Barclays Premier League as they were held to a draw by Stoke at the Britannia Stadium.

The Magpies’ thrashing at Wigan opened the door for the Gunners to move six points clear and all but clinch a Champions League spot.

But they went behind after nine minutes when Peter Crouch rose above the defence to head in and, although Robin van Persie equalised six minutes later, they could not find a winner.

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger made two changes from the team that drew with Chelsea last week, Gervinho and Yossi Benayoun replacing the injured Theo Walcott and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, while former Gunner Jermaine Pennant returned to the Stoke side.

The two clubs have history, most notably their clash at the Britannia Stadium two years when Ryan Shawcross was sent off for a challenge in which Aaron Ramsey broke his leg.

The atmosphere was spicy from the start, and Dean Whitehead was booked in only the third minute after catching Alex Song with his studs.

Arsenal had lost on three of their previous four visits to the Britannia, but they had two great early chances this afternoon, the first in the sixth minute when Van Persie played in Tomas Rosicky, but his shot lacked power and was held by Asmir Begovic.

The same duo combined moments later as Rosicky picked out Van Persie at the back post, and his header drew a terrific save from Begovic low at his near post.

Having survived those scares, Stoke went down the other end and took the lead with nine minutes gone, Matthew Etherington picking out the towering Crouch, who planted his header firmly past Wojciech Szczesny.

Arsenal hit back strongly and, after Ramsey had curled a shot just wide, they found the leveller in the 15th minute.

Stoke had not learned their lesson and again allowed Van Persie to run through the defence to meet a cross from Rosicky, and this time he made no mistake for his 35th goal of the season.

The visitors were well on top now and continued to threaten Begovic’s goal, with Laurent Koscielny heading over the bar and Gervinho missing a cross completely six yards out before ending a fine run with a wild shot.

The loudest cheer of the day came from the Arsenal fans when the Newcastle scoreline was read out at half-time, but the visitors were grateful to Szczesny for some alert goalkeeping in the opening minutes of the second half as he twice punched away dangerous crosses, one from Etherington and one from Pennant.

At the other end, Van Persie got his head to a Bacary Sagna cross 10 yards out, but could not beat Begovic, while a jinking run from Rosicky was ended with a fine challenge by Shawcross just as the midfielder was about to shoot.

The first 20 minutes aside, there had been very few real chances for either side, but Arsenal were given a good shooting opportunity when Ramsey’s turn 20 yards out was too sharp for Glenn Whelan.

Van Persie’s shot was blocked by the wall, though, and Shawcross then did well to stop Thomas Vermaelen’s follow-up, although Arsenal felt he should have been penalised for handball just outside the area.

The Gunners then appealed vociferously for a penalty when Benayoun went down under pressure from Whelan, but referee Chris Foy was unmoved.

Wenger sent on Abou Diaby, Marouane Chamakh and Andre Santos for Ramsey, Gervinho and Benayoun, while Pennant was replaced by Cameron Jerome for Stoke, and he was into the action immediately with a shot beaten away by Szczesny.

Vermaelen tried his luck from another free-kick, but screwed it wide, while at the other end a long throw from substitute Rory Delap had Szczesny in all sorts of trouble, but Sagna cleared from virtually off the line.

Related articles

Live Blog Transfer Window Live - January 27

Sign up for our news alerts today!

Our editors' picks for the day's top news delivered to your inbox or phone.

Sign up for email alerts Sign up for mobile alerts
1
2 3 4 5 6
7

Latest Stories from SNAP.PA

Sightings are down, but should we be worried about Britain’s biggest fish?

Read more

A lingerie shop set for an adaptation of The Casual Vacancy confused shoppers who thought it was real.

Read more

Fans of cool pictures of fire – this one’s for you.

Read more

Promoted content

Valentine's Day Afternoon Tea

London Hilton on Park Lane is inviting couples to celebrate this Valentines Day over a deliciously romantic afternoon tea at Podium Restaurant and Bar. Taking inspiration from the highly popular Confessions of a Chocoholic Afternoon Tea, London Hilton on Park Lane presents the ultimate romantic afternoon out with its Valentine’s Day Afternoon Tea.

Established in 1987, Tucci is one of the North's premier stores for branded clothing, footwear and accessories.

Save up to 70% on designer brands for Men and Women, including G-Star, Diesel, French Connection, Firetrap and many more….our sale is now on.

Valentine's Day in London

If you’re struggling over what to buy for the special person in your life in your life, our Valentine’s Day in London section is here to help.

Match reports

TOP STORIES

Arsenal Quizzes

Adrian Chiles is no longer ITV's main man... so why not test your knowledge of some of his (and others') greatest gaffes? (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)

With news of presenter Adrian Chiles’ sacking by ITV, it’s a good time to remember some of the most memorable punditry blunders.

Read more
£50million Fernando Torres and former Fulham striker Kostas Mitroglous are two of the biggest transfer flops in recent Premier League history

The transfer window is a time for optimisim, but it doesn’t always work out for the best...

Read more
Try our fiendishly difficult new Arsenal quiz! Picture: PA

This new quiz will test even the most devoted Arsenal fans’ knowledge...

Read more

Arsenal Transfer News