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Useless Arsenal Go Out of FA Cup in a Whimper at Stoke (Player Ratings)

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Useless Arsenal Go Out of FA Cup in a Whimper at Stoke (Player Ratings)
Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

Chelsea are the last of the "Sky 4" to remain standing in the FA Cup, as Arsenal went out with a whimper at the Britannia Stadium this afternoon.

With players away at the African Cup of Nations and others out through injury, Arsene Wenger chose to rotate his side.

In came Fabianski in goal, Sol Campbell and Mikael Silvestre for William Gallas and Thomas Vermaelen, Francois Coquelin at right back, and Theo Walcott, Carlos Vela and Jay Emmanuel-Thomas up front.

What followed was 90 minutes of some of the worst football Arsenal have played since last season.

A minute was barely on the clock when Rory Delap sent in a long throw-in, Ricardo Fuller was left unmarked to nod past a goalkeeper, who was akin to a rabbit in the headlights.

Stoke continued to pepper the Arsenal goalmouth with long balls, and the only saving grace for the Gunners was Sol Campbell, who headed away as much as he could.

Arsenal got a reprieve nearing first-half stoppage time, when they got a free kick on the edge of the box.

Cesc Fabregas teed up Denilson, whose shot screamed past Sorenson via two deflections.

Arsenal came out in slightly more control in the second half but never created anything to worry the hosts.

However, it was Stoke who took their lead, one they would retain.

Mamady Sidibe stormed down the wing and past a very flat-footed Denilson. Without a left back in sight for the Gunners, he crossed the ball for Fuller to nod home for his and Stoke's second.

Within minutes, it was three.

Still reeling from going behind, Arsenal left massive gaps at the back.

Substitute Tuncay won the ball back in midfield before passing to Etherington, who teed up Dean Whitehead to tap home.

Game over!

Stoke had the ball in the net again, but Tuncay was judged to be offside. However, it won't worry Stoke who go marching on.

Tony Pulis' men are the most awful team to watch, and it is nearly a crime to call them a "football club"; however, there is no masking they stuck to their task today and were fully deserving of the win.

Ricardo Fuller was in particularly impressive up front for the Potters.

The FA, however, will have to look at the amount of time Rory Delap takes to take a throw.

He retrieves the ball, wipes it with a towel, wipes it with his shirt, and then throws it, all of which takes about 30 seconds per throw in. Would a goalkeeper be allowed 30 seconds at least per kick out?

Meanwhile, Arsene Wenger has a lot to ponder.

He has four key games coming up, and he needs to get points from at least three of those.

The last time Arsenal were challenging for the league title they lost to Manchester United in the FA Cup. This defeat was followed by a succession of bad results that saw them fall away from the title challenge.

He must make sure it doesn't happen again.

 

Player Ratings

 

Fabianski (5)

At fault for the first goal. Regained some confidence afterwards and caught some of Delap's throws. Needs to command his area a lot more.

 

Coquelin (4)

Very bad day at the office for the young man. Lost his marker and the ball far too often. Substituted. 

 

Campbell (6)

Not a bad return for Campbell. Dealt pretty well with most of the high balls thrown in. Caught out on speed at times but to be expected at his age.

Silvestre (5)

Seemed to leave a lot of the defensive duties to Campbell. Got injured making a last-ditch challenge.

 

Traore (5)

Another average day for Traore. Was guilty of losing his marker far too often and was AWOL for Stoke's second goal. At the very least, he offered something of an attacking outlet.

 

Eastmond (5)

Tried to get stuck in. Midfield was often overlooked in this game of long balls. Moved to RB when Coquelin was take off.

 

Denilson (4)

He gets a four for scoring. Bad day for Denilson. Lost the ball far too often and was appalling when he left Sidibe go past him for Stoke's second.

 

Fabregas (6)

As always, the "Captain" tried hard but found it hard to get a grip on the game. Hadn't the quality around him and he can't be expected to continually carry the team.

 

Walcott (1)

He managed to tog off and lose the ball—that was about it! Didn't see too much of the ball but should be far more demanding. Substituted. 

 

Emmanuel-Thomas  (5)

Tried hard up front to use his height and strength against a mean Stoke defence. Little in the way of support or supply. Substituted.

 

Vela  (2)

Marginally better than Walcott, doesn't say much.

 

Subs

 

Eduardo (1)

Can't remembering him touching the ball.

 

Ramsey  (4)

Put in effort when he came on and got himself about the pitch.

 

Arshavin (1)

Should have stayed on the bench. Didn't looked bothered.

 

MOTM  

Ricardo Fuller (Stoke)

 

*Please note, the author doesn't think the Arsenal players or manager are crap or that Wenger sent out the wrong team. Just questioning the commitment of some. Chins up for Aston Villa!

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