Feb 2 2013
The match just got over. Arsenal defeated Stoke City with a controversial goal deep in the second half. Substitute Lukas Podolski’s deflected free-kick earned Arsenal victory and left battling Stoke City deflated at Emirates Stadium. Potters goalkeeper Asmir Begovic produced a series of fine saves before Podolski struck in the closing stages. Begovic denied Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain from five-yards, kept out Laurent Koscielny’s header before saving Oxlade-Chamberlain’s angled drive. But Podolski’s set-piece went in off Geoff Cameron to ease the frustration.
The goal was controversial as the linesman seemed to flag for something after the ball went in (offside on Walcott perhaps?) but it was ruled by the referee that the goal should stand as the ball deflected off a Stoke City player. Stoke City, certainly in the running for least popular visitors to the Emirates didn’t help their cause by a series of fouls late in the game and things got a bit heated but the referee kept a cool head which helped things. Michael Owen saw some action, coming on late in the game for Stoke.
The game saw the debut of new Arsenal signing Nancho Monreal, a signing just 3 days ago from Malaga for around £10m. Monreal has agreed a long-term deal, thought to be four and a half years. The 26-year-old has made 54 appearances for Malaga since joining from Osasuna in 2011 and won seven caps for Spain. Arsenal made their move after Kieran Gibbs was ruled out for three weeks with a thigh strain sustained in Wednesday’s 2-2 draw with Liverpool. That left Andre Santos as their only recognised left-back. Monreal is however cup tied for the Champions League.