A 3-2 victory was exactly what Stoke City manager Mark Hughes and the entire squad could’ve dreamed of when they hosted Arsenal at Britannia Stadium.
And three first-half goals, a first-minute strike from Peter Crouch, followed by Bojan and John Walter’s conversion before the half, had the mid-table Potters off and running in their Premier League match vs. the Gunners match today.
This perfect start and a Callum Chambers’ red card in the 77th minute ultimately gave Stoke a nice cushion, keeping the Gunners, who began to fight back after the two successive scores of Santi Cazorla and Aaron Ramsey, from salvaging at least one point in a draw.
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Hughes had nothing but admiration for the brand of football his team displayed in the victory.
“We put in an outstanding performance today. The first half, it’s as good as we’ve played since I’ve come here in terms of capitalizing on good opportunities and taking chances, which has held us back somewhat.”
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger credited the Stoke City supporters for making the home environment a difficult place to perform, but said coming into the competition that his squad did not fear the rowdy nature of Stoke’s home grounds.
Hughes was glad to see the fans loving the positive attacking sequences, and considered the atmosphere top-notch.
“They just enjoyed the game and enjoyed what we produced. This crowd is unbelievable and if you give them good quality play, then they’ll get behind you 100 percent, and that’s what they did today.
Prior to this contest, Stoke rode a three-game losing streak, all of these games decided by one goal. This result cleared the team of those previous frustrations.
“I think it confirms what we all felt, that we were playing well,” Hughes said. “We were a little bit disappointed we didn’t get anything out of Liverpool, certainly disappointed on Manchester United midweek. Coming here today, we’re in good form, and we showed that in the first half.”