Arsenal Out Of The FA Cup!!

Sol Campbell was denied a victorious return for Arsenal as the Gunners lost 3-1 to Stoke City in their FA Cup fourth round clash at the Britannia Stadium.
Ricardo Fuller twice headed the Potters in front, the first goal coming in only the second minute, either side of Denilson’s equaliser just before half time. Dean Whitehead put the gloss on the result with a goal five minutes from time.
Stoke had not beaten Arsenal in the FA Cup in seven previous meetings going into this match, but they made sure that the Gunners joined Manchester United and Liverpool on the list of big Premier League scalps in this season’s competition.
Campbell was making his first appearance for the Gunners since the 2006 Champions League final, but he couldn’t stop his side falling behind after just 70 seconds.
Arsenal failed to deal with Rory Delap’s first long throw of the match and Ricardo Fuller stooped low to head past the hesitant Lukasz Fabianski to put the Potters ahead.
Stoke never allowed an Arsenal side featuring several fringe players to settle, with young makeshift right-back Francis Coquelin enduring a torrid time in the first-half.
Fuller had a decent case for a penalty 10 minutes before half time when Mikael Silvestre slid in with a challenge on him but failed to get a touch on the ball. The strong Jamaica international stumbled but managed to stay on his, and referee Martin Atkinson elected not to give the spot-kick.
Arsenal were fortunate to find themselves level three minutes before the break when Atkinson awarded a free-kick when Dean Whitehead unintentionally handballed on the edge of the box. Cesc Fabregas shaped up to shoot, but instead played a square pass for Denilson to strike, and the Brazilian’s shot took a slight deflection off Whitehead as he dived in to block it and the ball hit the bottom corner with Thomas Sorensen rooted to the spot.
Arsenal were much improved after the break, but manager Arsene Wenger made wholesale changes midway through the second half in a bid to settle the tie and avoid a replay with a tough run of Premier League fixtures on the horizon.
Andrei Arshavin, Aaron Ramsey and Eduardo all came on, but their introductions failed to have the same impact that those of Samir Nasri and Abou Diaby had made in the previous round against West Ham.
Instead it was Stoke who upped their games and, led by a determined Matthew Etherington, they went all-out for the win.
Tony Pulis’s side retook the lead on 78 minutes when Mamady Sidibe charged down the left wing and curled in an inviting cross for Fuller to out-jump Campbell and head his sixth goal of the season.
Whitehead put the disappointment of his unfortunate involvement in Arsenal’s goal behind him late on when Etherington had plenty of space to run into and he find the midfielder at the far post for a simple tap-in.
The result could have been even worse for Wenger’s men when moments later substitute Tuncay Sanli had the ball in the back of the net again, only for the Turkish striker to be penalised for a handball in the build-up.

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