The majority of Arsenal fans probably reacted to their 0-0 draw at the Britannia Stadium on Sunday as two points dropped.
Two points that could cost them dearly as they look to win their first Premier League trophy since 2004.
Their most likely title challengers, Manchester City, won meaning the three point gap has been cut to just one following the weekend’s fixtures.
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However, it should be viewed as quite the opposite - a point that could go a long way in their title bid.
It’s exactly the sort of match that the Gunners would have lost in previous years before they had even arrived at the ground.
In fact, Arsene Wenger’s men haven’t won there since February 2010, having lost three times in the last five meetings away at Stoke.
It was cold, snow had to be cleared from the pitch and they were missing Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil. In previous seasons, Stoke would be expected to bully a mentally weak Arsenal side.
New year, new Arsenal
But not this year.
Whilst it wasn’t the greatest performance from the away side, they dug deep to earn a point.
Stoke have played some brilliant attacking football this season but they reverted to a more direct style, one that has paid dividends against Arsenal before.
But it didn’t earn them the same result as Wenger’s men held firm and it was evident that the Frenchman was pleased after coming away with a point.
"We needed to be strong physically and had a great spirit, we fought very hard but couldn't take our chances. It is a hard fought 0-0. We have done better than years before at this ground and showed we can fight even when we miss certain players,” the Arsenal boss said.
"It shows the spirit in the team, the desire and togetherness,” he added.
Petr Cech has, deservedly, picked up plenty of plaudits for his performances in keeping clean sheets for Arsenal and the usual back four of Hector Bellerin, Laurent Koscielny, Per Mertesacker and Nacho Monreal have all been impressive.
Having conceded just 21 goals in 22 games in the Premier League, it gives the Gunners an excellent foundation to build on. With the attacking talents of Mesut Ozil, Alexis Sanchez and Oliver Giroud, Arsenal will always have goals in them.
If Arsenal do lift the Premier League trophy in May, very few fans will look back at this Stoke clash as their favourite match of the season. However, it could be one of the most important points they pick up.
If Arsenal had lost it, there would have been question marks yet again over Arsenal’s mental strength claiming they had been ‘bullied’ by Stoke.
But they rose to the challenge and sent a message to their title rivals that they are a much stronger team this time around.
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