Stoke City 3-2 Arsenal
Arsenal were beaten at the Britannia Stadium again thanks to three first half goals from Peter Crouch, Bojan and Jonathan Walters which helped secured Stoke City a valuable 3-2 victory over Arsene Wenger's side.
The Gunners staged a remarkable second half fightback as Santi Cazorla and then Aaron Ramsey looked to get the visitors back in the game, but it proved to be too little too late for the north Londoners, whose run of three consecutive Premier League victories and four clean sheets in all competitions came to an abrupt end.
With the game seemingly dead and buried by the interval, Wenger replaced stand-in right-back Hector Bellerin with striker Danny Welbeck, which gave an indication of the attacking orders sent out to his Arsenal players after the break.
It wasn't long before the Gunners started to get a foothold in the game, and they finally registered their first goal just after the hour mark from the penalty spot. In the absence of first-choice taker Mikel Arteta and Olivier Giroud - who was substituted for Lukas Podolski minutes earlier - the responsibility was left to Cazorla, who calmly slotted home from 12 yards.
Two minutes later and Arsenal got another goal back, this time it was Ramsey volleying home a corner, and from then one the tide had well and truly turned.
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Calum Chambers was sent off for a second yellow card with just over ten minutes left, which didn't help ten-man Arsenal's attempt to get back in the game, but thankfully for Stoke they managed to weather the late storm, to hand Mark Hughes a much-needed win.
Wenger will take some positives from the fighting spirit showed by his side in the closing stages of the encounter, but Gunners fans that are growing increasingly frustrated with the Frenchman will point to the naivety of the first-half display which gave the visitors too much to do in the second period.
Arsenal player ratings:
Damian Martinez - 6
Not directly at fault for any of the goals, but will be disappointed to have shipped three in the first-half, particularly with a fit-again Wojciech Szczesny watching on, and after a run of four shutouts in a row.
Hector Bellerin - 5
Struggled to cope with the physical threat that Stoke possessed, and was hauled off at half-time by Arsene Wenger.
Calum Chambers - 4
His inexperience showed in the absence of Laurent Koscielny, and was foolish to get himself sent off following a clumsy challenge for his second yellow card.
Per Mertesacker - 5
The World Cup winning Germany international was expected to take charge of the defence as by far the most experienced player in Arsenal's back line, but his failure to do so left the Gunners looking fragile from the outset.
Kieran Gibbs - 5
A relatively quiet game for the marauding full-back, who perhaps should've done better to prevent Jonathan Walters' cross for Bojan's goal.
Mathieu Flamini - 5
Won the Arsenal penalty after being brought down by Mame Biram Diouf, but was a passenger for long periods of the game and failed to protect Arsenal's defence.
Aaron Ramsey - 6
The Welshman has failed to hit top gear since recovering from his latest injury, but doesn't shy away from the ball and is clearly trying to get back to his best. His volleyed goal from Alexis Sanchez's corner was sumptuous.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain - 5
One of Arsenal's more threatening players going forward, but has to take some blame for the third Stoke goal conceded after a mix-up which led to the corner where it came from.
Santi Cazorla - 6
Kept his composure to score the penalty and contributed some neat touches and build-up play, but this was never going to be the sort of match where the Spaniard can really shine.
Alexis Sanchez - 6
Hit the post with another brilliant solo effort, but his tireless running was unable to get his team back in the game. He can't do it on his own every week.
Olivier Giroud - 4
If the French striker is serious about cementing a regular place in the team then he'll have to produce more than he did today, with very little in the way of positive contribution from the frustrated marksman this afternoon.
Danny Welbeck - 6
Lukas Podolski - 5
Joel Campbell - n/a
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