Arsenal v Stoke live!

24 May 2009 03:09
90 + 2 FULL-TIME: Arsenal put their recent off-field problems behind them as they turn on the style to defeat Stoke 4-1 at Emirates Stadium on the last day of the 2008/09 Premier League season. Stay with us for all the post-match reaction.

90 ADDED TIME: There will be a minimum of two minutes added time - 120 seconds left of the season.

89 Vela almost has a chance as he pulls the ball down inside the 18-yard area, but he is adjudged to have handled.

87 More keep ball in midfield from Arsenal. Stoke will be looking forward to some time off after this match, they must be absolutely shattered following 90 minutes of chasing in baking heat.

85 Fans begn to make their way out of the Emirates. Not out of disgust as is has been in weeks gone by, but in order to beat the crowds.

82 There are quiet shouts for another penalty as Fabregas goes down in the box under pressure from Shawcross, but there is nothing in it. Stoke's players are out on their feet. They have been chasing shadows for the majority of he match.

80 A Mexican Wave begins to sweep around the stadium, reflecting that there is little going on down on the pitch.

78 This game is limping to a close and there is very little to talk about at the moment, I'm afraid. Both sides seem to have accepted the scoreline.

75 Denilson is lucky to be on the field as he clatters Delap from behind. Having been booked and given away the penalty, the Arsenal midfielder has maybe benefited because it is the end of the season and referee Atkinson is in a kind frame of mind.

73 Arsenal are trying to walk the ball in, However, Stoke are having none of it. But I think there will be another goal for the Gunners this afternoon.

71 Another change. Arshavin heads off and on comes Carlos Vela.

69 Arshavin beats Shawcross with a brilliant step over and the ball eventually falls to Denilson, who smashes an effort into the face of Abdoulaye Faye. Stoke introduce Richard Cresswell for Fuller, who is jeered by the Arsenal fans.

67 I spoke to soon as Eboue shows that he is in the mood and waltzes forward to drag a shot just wide of the far post.

66 Stoke's rearguard appears far more watertight in this half as Van Persie is dealt with soundly by Abdoulaye Faye.

64 Van Persie is clattered by Sorensen when poking just wide from close range. Stoke use the break in play to replace the ineffective Salif Diao with Danny Pugh.

61 Keep ball from Arsenal as they spread the ball from left to right involving every member of their midfield.

59 Abdoulaye Faye shows neat footwork to step away from trouble when under pressure from Bendtner on the edge of the Stoke box.

57 Toure almost gets his name on the scoresheet as he heads a Bendtner cross just over the bar.

57 Sagna makes way as Emmanuel Eboue enters the fray.

55 Mannone does well to punch away a Beattie cross, and the Arsenal goalkeeper takes a bang from Fuller for his troubles.

53 The match has clamed down from the first half. Both sides are looking to keep hold of the ball, but it is Arsenal who continue to dominate as Bacary Sagna sends an effort just off target.

50 Shawcross should have done better. Liam Lawrence floats a free-kick into the box and the giant Potters defender, who has been linked with Arsenal, heads over the bar.

48 Corner for Arsenal as Dickinson is forced to knock a Arshavin corner away. The Gunners take is short, but Stoke clear with ease.

48 The Gunners almost extend their lead immediately as Van Persie heads just wide from an Arshavin cross.

WE'RE BACK!!! Arsenal have replaced Walcott with Nicklas Bendtner as the home side get the game restarted.

My laptop is almost in the line of fire as Gunnersaurus, Arsenal's mascot is firing T-shirts into the stands with an air cannon! I would not have fancied explaining a smashed computer to the boss when I get back to the office. "Sorry chief, a person in a giant dinosaur costume with a cannon shot it with a T-shirt"!

45 + 3 HALF-TIME: Arsenal go in at the break leading Stoke by four goals to one. Beattie's own goal set the Gunners on the way before Van Persie struck from the spot and Diaby extended the lead. Stoke gained hope from a Fuller penalty, but Van Persie then restored Arsenal's three-goal cushion. What will be the final score with both defences seemingly already on their summer holidays?!?

44 Both defences have been very poor this afternoon. Expect Wenger and Pulis to have a few word of advice at half-time.

What was Delap thinking!?! After Shawcross headed clear, Delap tried to be clever and nod back to his goalkeeper, but only succeeded in giving the ball straight to a static Van Persie. The Arsenal forward could not believe his luck and had time to turn and find the back of the net. Terrible from Delap.

41 GOAL VAN PERSIE (4-1)!!!

39 Kieran Gibbs goes buccaneering forward, but his attempt at a shot would have gone out for a throw-in on the far side had it not been cut off.

38 Arshavin sets his sights from all of 35 yards, but Sorensen dives across his line to claim.

36 Denilson earns a cheer as he steps in to intercept a Delap pass and then a dinky backheel is too much for Beattie.

35 The difference between Arsenal today is that they are taking their chances. In previous week's Wenger's side have been very careless in front of goal. Do not write Stoke off. The Gunners are still wide open at the back.

33 Danger for Stoke as Van Persie unleashes a vicious 30-yard free-kick which rattles the woodwork and Sorensen then does well to tip Arshavin's overhead-kick follow up around the post. The Potters clear the resulting corner.

After being brought down by a clumsy Denilson challenge, Fuller steps up to give Stoke a lifeline. This game has had almost everything so far!

31 GOAL FULLER (3-1)!!!


29 Here come Arsenal again. Sorensen saves well from Walcott and is then calm when claiming a Van Persie corner.

28 Stoke make a rare break forward and win a free-kick. Mannone saves a low Delap effort and shows good awareness to keep hold of the ball with others waiting to pounce.

26 Arsenal are really turning it on. But an attack breaks down as the Gunners players look at a Walcott cross as if it is a UFO. Wenger's men, though, win the ball back and Diaby tests Sorensen's handling from range.

25 Arshavin tries to be a little too clever when threading a through ball, and the pass trickles out for a goal-kick.

23 Ironic cheers come out of the Stoke fans as their team wins a free-kick. However, Kolo Toure heads clear and Arsenal build another attack.

21 Stoke goalkeeper Steve Simonsen's nightmare afternoon is over as he trudges off. He looks to have a bad back, but it could be embarrassment. Thomas Sorensen comes on. The replacement shot-stopper is not fully fit and Shawcross is having to take the goal kicks.

20 Walcott wins a corner as the, 'there's only one Arsene Wenger' songs ring out. However, Stoke survive and clear Fabregas' clever flick.

This is in danger of getting embarrassing for Stoke. Van Persie swings a free-kick into the box and Diaby rises unchallenged to nod Arsenal's third.

18 GOAL DIABY (3-0)!!!

Arsenal are cruising. After winning the penalty when felled by Ryan Shawcross, Van Persie calmly slots into the left-hand side of the goal.

16 GOAL VAN PERSIE (2-0)!!!


13 Arsenal have found their feet after a drab start and Walcott is giving Carl Dickinson a tough afternoon.

Comical stuff from Stoke striker Beattie. The forward, lethal at the right end from the Potters' perspective, hopelessly turns a low ball into his own goal from five yards after Fabregas had taken the corner short to Walcott. Hilarious, if you're not a Stoke fan.

10 OWN GOAL BEATTIE (1-0)!!!

10 Play is back under way - Fuller is okay - and Denilson wins a corner with a shot from the edge of the box.

8 Stoke move back up the other end of the field and Fuller wants a penalty when colliding with Theo Walcott. The Potters forward angers the home fans, and their choice language, as he goes to ground after protesting. The physios are on.

8 James Beattie wins a header and flicks on to Delap, but Alexandre Song has the pace to clear. Arsenal break and Fabregas just snatches a shot wide of the left bottom corner.

5 Denilson is the maiden player to go in the book as he is very harshly yellow carded for the first real foul of the game when challenging Glenn Whelan.

4 But the Gunners respond well and win a corner, which Steve Simonsen is forced to flap clear.

3 Stoke have started very well. Debutant Vito Mannone is forced to scramble at the feet of Ricardo Fuller when the Stoke striker is through on goal. Dodgy defending from Arsenal.

1 Arsenal almost slip behind straight away as Rory Delap launches a long throw into the box and Shawcross heads just wide.

KICK-OFF!!!Stoke get the game going. Let's hope for an entertaining encounter.

The teams are on the field! Arsenal's first XI are announced by the on-pitch man with a microphone by their first name only. How sweet.!

A banner with 'Arsene: t'aime pour toujours' - roughly, 'I'll always love you' for anyone whose French is not as tip-top as yours truly. Or was their an online translator involved.? - demonstrates were Arsenal supporters stand.

Five minutes to kick-off. It does not look like the Emirates is sold-out, but there is still a good atmosphere.

As I receive a nod-of-a-head hello from Arsenal legend Paul Davis when he walks past in the press box (I'm honoured!) the Stoke fans are enjoying themselves with inflatable beach balls.

Arsenal must really regret that they decided to list trophies won around the stadium on the advertising boards between tiers. The glaring gap after 2005 only emphasises the drought.

As the players carry out their warm-ups on the field, what do you make of the respective teams' seasons? Wenger has come in for criticism over recent weeks for a failure to land silverware, while rumours about Real Madrid persist. Will this be the Frenchman's last game as Arsenal boss? What has gone wrong for the Gunners this year? Will off-field events - and the argument with Pulis - take a backseat to the football this afternoon? How highly do you rate Stoke's achievement in avoiding relegation?

Referee: Martin Atkinson

Skybet are cheering on Stoke in this fixture as Arsenal have predictably been heavily backed. Cesc Fabregas (10/1) and Andrey Arshavin (5/1) are popular choices for first goalscorer while there have been a few punts on Ryan Shawcross to give Stoke the lead at 28/1. Arsenal - 1/3 Draw - 7/2 Stoke - 10/1.

Stoke team: Simonsen, Wilkinson, Shawcross, Abdoulaye Faye, Dickinson, Lawrence, Diao, Whelan, Delap, Beattie, Fuller. Subs: Sorensen, Olofinjana, Cresswell, Pugh, Kelly, Tonge, Sonko.

Arsenal team: Mannone, Sagna, Toure, Song Billong, Gibbs, Diaby, Fabregas, Denilson, Arshavin, van Persie, Walcott. Subs: Szczesny, Vela, Ramsey, Silvestre, Djourou, Bendtner, Eboue.

The team news is in!

Stoke fans are also excellent and will add to this encounter. As I hopped aboard a west-bound train of the Piccadilly line when travelling to the stadium, I was surrounded by Gunner supporters. But there was one vocal Potters-following woman and - judging by her presumed husband and his questionable, gaudy Hawaiian shirt -the away fans are clearly in the mood to enjoy themselves.

I am glad to have the opportunity to watch Stoke again. I was at Hull City when Tony Pulis' men ensured they would avoid relegation and, although they have had their critics this season - Arsene Wenger for one - the Potters produced a very professional display. It will be interesting to see what style they adopt for a care-free game.

This is perhaps not the most important game of the afternoon, understatement of the campaign, but it still promises to be a lively match. Arsenal want to finish a disappointing season on a high, while Stoke are in party mood after guaranteeing they are not involved in 'Survival Sunday' a couple of weeks ago.

It is a gloriously sunny afternoon in North London and Arsenal's supporters seem to have been armed with novelty, inflatable clappers. Definitely not annoying.

Team news to follow.

Welcome to our live commentary of the clash between Arsenal and Stoke at Emirates Stadium on the final day of the Premier League season.

Source: SKY_Sports