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Stoke 1-0 Arsenal: Instant reaction

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That sucked.

it's unclear whether this was the first, second, or twentieth time Charlie Adam stomped on Olivier Giroud
it's unclear whether this was the first, second, or twentieth time Charlie Adam stomped on Olivier Giroud
Laurence Griffiths

1-0 Jonathan Walters 76' (pen)

Good lord, that wasn't much fun. From the get-go, it didn't really seem as if the offensive mix was quite right - pace was missing, and while players like Tomas Rosicky and Olivier Giroud were certainly (and visibly) giving their all, it took almost the entire first half before a real chance was created, and even after that they were few and far between.

Arsene Wenger made probably the right substitutions - Mesut Ozil for a tired Rosicky, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain for an anonymous Lukas Podolski, Yaya Sanogo for Whatever Jack Wilsher Was Today - but frankly, I'd have preferred to see two of the three substitutes start. Hindsight's 20-20, and as I'm fond of saying, I've never gone a season unbeaten, but still: I don't feel the manager got the lineup right today.

With Chelsea's win over Fulham, Arsenal are now four points behind first place; Manchester City won't have a Premier League match for a couple of weeks, but they now are two back of Arsenal with (if I'm reading the table and schedule right) two games in hand. So the situation isn't ideal. It's tough not to overreact after that shitshow, so I'll try: this isn't over by a long shot. But that was a game Arsenal should have won, certainly, and definitely shouldn't have lost. It's not a helpful result.