Earlier this week, Arsenal’s arch-nemesis Ryan Shawcross said:
“The pressure is building for us to get some points, but it’s Arsenal at home and our record is very good against them at the Brit. The fans dislike Arsenal so it’s going to be a tasty game. Hopefully the atmosphere will be buzzing and we can get three points.”
It was a bold statement from the Stoke City captain, considering Shawcross is the player Arsenal fans still boo and generally hate for his leg-shattering horror tackle on Aaron Ramsey back in 2010. He should know by now that, since that tragic day, he’s only supposed to say nice things about Arsenal and concede defeat.
But, literally seconds into the match — you read that right — Shawcross’s sort-of-prophecy began to unfold:
Robot Peter Crouch showed no mercy, breaching Arsenal’s defense within the first 20 seconds. Neither does Barcelona Bojan, Stoke’s new fancy toy, who ruthlessly reinforced Shawcross’s point that Stoke have a really good record against Arsenal at home.
By halftime, Arsenal were down 3-0. Piers Morgan was well into his 45th minute of calling for Arsene Wenger to be sacked and replaced with a sack of potatoes or a shrug. The atmosphere at the Britannia was buzzing, just like Shawcross hoped. And they didn’t even know that Bojan was going to score again in the second half. The goal would be disallowed, but it’s the thought that counts.
Arsenal did score twice in the second half, but it turns out that evil Ryan Shawcross was right —Stoke is very good against Arsenal at the Brit. And Arsenal went home sad.