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Arsenal 1-0 Stoke

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Podolski: Nets the winner

Podolski: Nets the winner

Lukas Podolski struck the only goal of the game as Arsenal moved to within one point of fourth with a 1-0 win over Stoke on Saturday.

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The Germany international fired home a second-half free-kick via a deflection to hand the Gunners three vital points to leave them one behind the final Champions League qualifying spot.

Arsenal created three great chances in the first half but were denied by Asmir Begovic on each occasion, with the Stoke shot-stopper making a point-blank save from Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain's close-range effort before Laurent Koscielny saw his glancing header kept out by the former Portsmouth man.

Oxlade-Chamberlain then got in behind the Stoke defence but once more Begovic was equal to the task, making a great stop from the Gunners youngster.

Stoke continued to defend resolutely after the break as Olivier Giroud missed two half chances - a shot over the bar from debutant Nacho Monreal's cross and a looping header from Santi Cazorla's floated centre.

However, the deadlock was finally broken on 78 minutes when Podolski's free-kick deflected off Geoff Cameron and into the back of the net.

Cazorla could have doubled the Gunners' advantage two minutes later but fired over with the goal begging.

Posted: 02/02/13 16:38

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