ARSENAL (3) vs STOKE CITY (1)
ARSENAL manager Arsene Wenger insists the Gunners are not a one-man team despite again relying on in-form striker Robin van Persie, this time off the bench, to claim all three points.
Van Persie, who was rested from the start and has now scored 25 goals in 26 Premier League games this year, netted twice late on after Stoke’s Peter Crouch had cancelled out Gervinho’s opener for the home side.
“I don’t have that feeling at all,” said Wenger to suggestions Arsenal were too reliant on the Dutchman. “When you want to be a team with quality you always have a player who stands out and who gets on the end of things. We had Thierry Henry before. Robin has exceptional quality and so you get these questions.”
Stoke manager Tony Pulis said Van Persie “changed the game” when he replaced Marouane Chamakh after 66 minutes, and Wenger revealed he almost left his talisman out of the squad altogether due to “muscular tightness”.
Winger Gervinho put the Gunners on their way to a sixth win in seven games when he ran onto midfielder Aaron Ramsey’s chipped through-ball and prodded past Asmir Begovic in the 27th minute.
Crouch equalised seven minutes later, however, tapping in on the line after Arsenal failed to deal with a Stoke free-kick.
Enter Van Persie, who twice finished ruthlessly after Gervinho scampered to the goal-line and cut back to the six-yard area, lifting the Gunners to seventh in the table.