Podolski sees off Stoke

Arsenal gave their hopes of a top-four finish a boost with a 1-0 win over Stoke City, but needed a deflected free-kick to beat the outstanding Asmir Begovic.

Last Updated: 03/02/13 at 15:47 Post Comment

Nacho Monreal (l): Joins in with celebrations after Podolski's winner

Nacho Monreal (l): Joins in with celebrations after Podolski's winner

More of the games that matter

Upgrade in minutes or watch with a NOW TV Day Pass.

Arsene Wenger's side dominated for much of the game and created several clear-cut chances, only to be denied by fine saves from Stoke's stubborn goalkeeper.

However, the Bosnian was left helpless when Lukas Podolski's free-kick 12 minutes from time deflected off Geoff Cameron and into the back of the net.

The result sees Arsenal close to within a point of fourth-placed Tottenham Hotspur, who play on Sunday, while Stoke remain tenth.

Arsenal made a high-tempo start, with Theo Walcott's pace proving an early thorn in Stoke's side and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain trying his luck with a shot that flashed wide.

The visitors took 20 minutes to get into the game and eventually had half-chances of their own through Peter Crouch, Ryan Shawcross and Glenn Whelan.

But Arsenal soon returned to the ascendancy and would have led at half-time had it not been for a trio of excellent saves from Begovic.

First, the Bosnian stopped a close-range snap-shot from Oxlade-Chamberlain, before palming a point-blank Laurent Koscielny header to safety.

However, his best stop came five minutes from the break, when Jack Wilshere released Oxlade-Chamberlain, who opened up his body and sent a right-foot shot towards the far corner, only for Begovic to divert it wide with a strong hand.

The break came at the wrong time for Arsenal and they struggled to regain their momentum for the first 20 minutes of the second period.

However, the introduction of the rested Santi Cazorla and Podolski from the substitutes' bench gave them fresh impetus and they soon set up camp in and around Stoke's box.

It looked like the breakthrough would not come, but after Andy Wilkinson brought down Walcott on the edge of the box, Podolski produced the winner courtesy of a helping hand from Cameron.

Football365 Facebook Fan Page

The Football365 fan page is a great place to meet like minded people, have football related discussions and make new friends.

More Match Results

Saturday, 20 December 2014
15:00
A Villa 1-1 Man Utd Report
Hull City 0-1 Swansea Report
QPR 3-2 W Brom Report
So'ton 3-0 Everton Report
Tottenham 2-1 Burnley Report
West Ham 2-0 Leicester Report
12:45
Man City 3-0 C Palace Report
Monday, 15 December 2014
20:00
Everton 3-1 QPR Report
Sunday, 14 December 2014
16:00
Swansea 1-2 Tottenham Report
13:30
Man Utd 3-0 Liverpool  

Footer 365

Labour MP Iain Wright warns Hartlepool against signing Ched Evans

Labour MP Iain Wright has told Hartlepool to “think again” over their interest in signing convicted rapist Ched Evans.

Premier League: Neil Warnock blasts officials after Crystal Palace's 3-0 defeat at Man City

Neil Warnock said the decision to disallow a Crystal Palace goal in the 3-0 defeat to Manchester City was "disgraceful".

Jose Mourinho rejects idea of retrospective action against divers

Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho says it would be a "disaster" to punish divers retrospectively.

Mail Box

More Players In The Wrong Bloody Shirt

Plus Cristiano Ronaldo, who looks 'heart-breakingly well-suited to a Real Madrid shirt' according to one United fan. Plus, words from the good doctor and plenty more...

Players Plainly Wearing The Wrong Strip...

There are some players who just look plain daft in whatever shirt they're wearing. Like Cesc and Robin. It's a cracking mailbox with a load of different themes...

© 2014 British Sky Broadcasting Ltd. All Rights Reserved A Sky Sports Digital Media property