Arsenal’s slim chances of winning the Premier League were ended by a strong Stoke City side at the Britannia Stadium.
Kenwyne Jones opened the scoring for the Potters on 28 minutes before former Arsenal player Jermaine Pennant doubled the home side’s lead four minutes before half-time.
Dutch frontman Robin van Persie pulled one back for the Gunners on 81 minutes, only for Jon Walters to restore Stoke’s two-goal cushion just moments later.
Defeat for Arsene Wenger means that, whatever the result in the clash between Manchester United and Chelsea later on Sunday, they will be at least six points behind leaders United with two matches of the season remaining.
Arsenal’s Starting XI
Sagna – Djourou – Koscielny – Gibbs
Ramsey – Song – Wilshere
Walcott – van Persie – Arshavin
The performance showed exactly why Wenger has fallen short once again, with his defence looking flimsy under attack from set pieces and proving that he urgently needs to get the cheque book out this summer.
Stoke’s abrasive approach has infuriated Wenger in the past, culminating in the much-publicised challenge on Aaron Ramsey from Ryan Shawcross last February, and Arsenal’s Wales international started here.
It was a game Arsenal simply had to win but they fell behind just before the half hour, with Jones easily converted his fifth goal in six games from Pennant’s cross.
The hosts were further ahead five minutes after Pennant picked up a botched Ramsey pass 40 yards from goal and was allowed to run on unopposed before his shot took a substantial deflection off Johan Djourou to loop over Wojciech Szczesny.
The only headache Pulis will have picked up from the game was the loss of Robert Huth early in the second period with what appeared a shoulder injury, making him a doubt for Wembley.
Arsenal did battle valiantly to produce a snarl of defiance and van Persie beat Asmir Begovic with a low drive but Walters was given far too much room a minute later to clinch a sweet victory.
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