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Stoke beats Arsenal, damages Gunners' EPL title hopes

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The Canadian Press
3/1/2014 1:16:39 PM
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STOKE, England -- Stoke added another notch to an impressive list of upset results this season as it beat Arsenal 1-0 on Saturday to seriously hurt the Gunners' bid for the Premier League title.

Jonathan Walters' penalty 14 minutes from time after Laurent Koscielny was penalized for handball was enough to give Stoke all three points.

Mark Hughes' team has beaten Chelsea and Manchester United at home this season, as well as drawing with Manchester City.

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger had not won in his previous seven visits to Stoke's Brittania Stadium.

Arsenal slipped four points behind league leader Chelsea, which won 3-1 at Fulham. It is two above Manchester City, which has two games in hand.

Stoke moved level with 11th-placed Hull after what was only its second win in 11 league games.

Arsenal made just the one change to the starting line-up from last Saturday's 4-1 win against Sunderland, with the fit-again Kieran Gibbs replacing the injured Nacho Monreal in defence.

Record signing Mesut Ozil was on the bench after missing that match due to injury.

Stoke also made just one change from its 1-0 loss at Manchester City, with Steven Nzonzi replacing the injured Peter Odemwingie.

Walters had the first chance of the game when he headed Marko Arnautovic's header narrowly wide as both sides struggled to carve out opportunities.

There was a flurry of chances at the end of the first half and Arsenal goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny had to react quickly to parry a swerving drive from Glenn Whelan.

At the other end, Stoke goalkeeper Asmir Begovic , who had earlier comfortably gathered a weak header from Olivier Giroud, was called into action to save Santi Cazorla's fierce effort from the edge of the area.

Stoke almost took the lead at the start of the second half as Szczesny made a hash of dealing with Geoff Cameron's cross, leading to a goalmouth scramble that Arsenal survived

Peter Crouch also sent an acrobatic attempt wide as well as forcing a diving save from Szczesny, as Stoke continued to press.

Stoke's efforts were eventually rewarded as Walters' flick struck Koscielny's arm and the Republic of Ireland striker made no mistake from the spot.

Mesut Ozil flashed a shot across Begovic's goal and fellow Arsenal substitute Yaya Sanogo then struck over the bar but Arsenal couldn't find the equalizer.

Jonathan Walters (Photo: The Canadian Press)

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(Photo: The Canadian Press)
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