The afterglow of the Man Utd victory is truly over. Arsenal failed to stoke the dying embers of their title hopes. They reverted to familiar form as they piled up the error count.
Cut and paste. Kenwyne Jones got the ball rolling with the Gunners conceding yet another set piece goal after Johan Djourou and Kieran Gibbs ducked their defensive responsibilities. Defending 101.
Cut and paste. Jermain Pennant with yards to roam with Djourou giving him space took a snapshot which Wojciech Szczesny should have done better with his weak effort. It could have been worse with Song biting the dust leaving Walter free to cut in from the left and his curling effort from an angle struck the crossbar.
A moribund attack failed to dent the deficit. Andrey Arshavin distinguished himself with some stellar tackles but his stupid foul on Pennant led to the free kick and Stoke's first goal.
Cut and paste. On the other flank, Theo Walcott's equally impotent display meant a predictable shifting of focus down the middle where Stoke concentrated its manpower.
An unusually subdued Wenger who sat down the entire duration of the match without the verbal and movement tics was forced into an unusual overhaul at half time bringing in Marouane Chamakh and Nicklas Bendtner for Arshavin and Aaron Ramsey.
Jack Wilshere provided a combative edge getting into a tete a tete with former Arsenal starlet Pennant coming close to being ejected. Mark Halsey in consultation with the linesman decided that that the U21 had got enough of the ball although his studs up tackle took out the midfielder.
The events provided a spark and Van Persie sitting behind Chamakh with Bendtner out on the left came close with Asimir Begovic pulling off a good save after Chamakh had laid off the ball for the Dutch striker. Arsenal's goal came minutes later from the in form Van Persie taking advantage of a distracted Stoke defense reacting to Bendtner to lash a goal with his right foot.
Cut and paste. The inevitable Arsenal giveaway came a minute later. Laurent Koscielny was unable to shepherd away Jonathan Walters who manages to pass to Wilkinson. The defender's driving shot is blocked poorly by Djourou and the Arsenal defense in disarray fail to stop Walters from pouncing on the ball and putting it into an empty goal.
A tame end to a broken season. Arsenal now have to stop City who have a match advantage from sneaking into third and having to go through the CL qualification. round.