Arsenal’s return to prominence continues after they saw off Stoke City 3-1 in a tense encounter at the Emirates stadium. Gervinho and Peter Crouch exchanged blows for either side before Robin van Persie stole all three points for the Londoners late on with a brace as they maintain their excellent form to rise to 7th in the Premier League table. Arsenal statistics don’t tell the full story as the 13-time league winners eventually and deservedly beat their battle-hardened opponents.
Marouane Chamakh and Gervinho both missed decent opportunities to break the deadlock in the game but shortly before the half hour mark, the latter made amends for his earlier miss. The ingenious scooped pass of Aaron Ramsey over the away side’s static defence found the Ivorian attacker and he slipped his shot beneath the body of Asmir Begovic to make the score 1-0.
However minutes later, the home side were stunned into silence as the Potters scored against the run of play. Andre Santos switched off as Tony Pulis’ side took a free-kick and Crouch tapped in Jonathan Walters knock-down to equalise the captivating encounter.
Despite the concession of a fortuitous goal, Arsenal remained calm and continued to dominate the game either side of the break but they simply couldn’t unlock a resolute Stoke rearguard again. However once the ineffective Chamakh was replaced by man of the moment van Persie, a new confidence was instilled within the Arsenal team.
It did not take long for the in-form Netherlands strike to make an impact as within seven minutes of his introduction to the game, he nosed Arsene Wenger’s men ahead. Gervinho’s awkward dribble ended up with the ex-Lille winger on the byline and his pullback was met by the club captain who nicked his shot in at the near post.
Van Persie made the three points safe with a few minutes to spare as Gervinho was the architect of Stoke’s downfall once again. The African star’s mazy run down the left channel culminated in him again pulling the ball back to be met by the Dutchman, who got just enough on his shot to sneak it past the unlucky Begovic.
The win was the North Londoner’s third in just seven days as they continue their rehabilitation after a horrific start to the season. Sitting in 7th place, they are six points off Newcastle United who occupy the coveted final Champions League spot in 4th as the collection of deadline day signings made by Arsene Wenger finally begin to gel.
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