Stoke City 3-1 Arsenal: Djourou's Day to Forget

To the legions of Potter trolls that will inevitably come here to rub our noses in this result, congratulations. Your lot won and were far and away the better side. Now fuck off.

As for us, I'm tired of writing the same things, and I'm sure you are tired of reading them. This is a group that unquestionably has given up the ghost, and is playing out the string before they can zip out to Ibiza or Majorca or wherever it is they'll enjoy their summer off. Combine that with a Stoke side who apparently had something to prove (even if it was only that Aaron Ramsey practically broke his own leg...they really are pond life, aren't they?), and we were probably on a hiding to nothing from the off.

Whatever else you can say about our opposition, they have exactly one game plan but they are bloody good at executing it. Damn near everyone in the stripy shirts is tall, physically strong and good in the air. It was always going to be difficult for a defense that has conceded more than half their goals against to set pieces to contain them, and sure enough it was a deep free kick that gave the Potters an early lead.

The execrable Andrey Arshavin needlessly gave away a foul near the touchline with a shove to one of their lot's back. The free kick was whipped in, and Kenwyne Jones chested it in from about a yard out. Rewind though to before the ball was struck - the camera focused on Johan Djourou, who was trying to mark both Jones and I believe Robert Huth. Instead of calling out and asking someone for help, he shrugged his shoulders and looked around in the vain hope that someone would, err, read his ESP waves or something and come over to assist. Sure enough, he lost Jones, and the striker had all the room he needed to score. It's one thing to be beaten by a taller man, to have the striker make a great and tricky run to lose the defender, etc. But for him to stand there like a mong and let that unfold...he's made great strides this season but that is just not bloody good enough.

So, the home crowd had a nice little knees-up, a 90-minute piss take on our side. I feel sorry for the away support, that's for sure. Anyway, after some brief signs of life in the early exchanges, it was just more of the same. No invention, no running, no speed, no desire. The half was listlessly coming to a conclusion when, of all people, Jermaine fucking Pennant doubled their lead. He took a pass and ran uncontested for a while before letting fly - Djourou lazily stuck a leg out (when he should have been out hell-bent-for-leather to close him down) and did enough to deflected it over the hand of Wojceich Szezcsny and into the net.

Quick aside - how moronic were the commentators today? Blaming Szezcsny in any part for that goal is idiotic and shows how most of these pundits don't know the first thing about keeping. Not only was the bloody thing deflected, but they took him to task for reaching out with only one hand. Well nimrods, here's a DIY exercise to illustrate the point. Stand with your feet flat on the ground, and raise both arms as high as they can go. Now, do the same, but reach with one as high as you can go. Hmm, wonder which way gives you more height?

Anyway, the boss made a bunch of changes at halftime, with Arshavin and the ineffectual Ramsey coming off for Nicklas Bendtner and Marouane Chamakh. Once again, the Dane was out on the wing crossing to the little Robin van Persie, while Chamakh continues to have Second Season Syndrome in his first season.

The Dutchman did give us something to cheer about though, with a goal out of nothing. Is there any doubt that this man is our player of the season? With defenders all around him, he kind of just turned and shot and watched it sail under the dive of Asmir Begovic. The Stoke keeper absolutely should have done better on it, but he did keep out Robin with a fabulous toe save earlier, and didn't have much else to do besides.

So, of course they scored a minute later. This side never fails to find a way to fail.

A scramble in the area came to Djourou, who panicked and flailed at it with his left peg. It went right to Jonathan Walters, who had the easiest of finishes past the stranded Szezcsny to make it 3-1 and consign the rest of the match to a meaningless procession.

What else can you say? The same old mistakes contributed to the same old result. The ManYoo result was just an anomaly, kids. This was much more the real Arsenal, at least in this current iteration. All we can do is wait for the summer and hope our manager has regained his senses.

The Modern Gooner Player Ratings:

Szezcsny 6, Gibbs 6, Koscielny 6, Djourou 2, Sagna 6, Arshavin 5 (Bendtner 5), Song 6 (Rosicky N/A), Wilshere 6, Ramsey 5 (Chamakh 5), Walcott 5, van Persie 7 (MOTM)