Skip to main content

Arsenal join fellow elite on FA Cup sidelines

Two-goal Ricardo Fuller sent Arsenal crashing out of this season's FA Cup.
Two-goal Ricardo Fuller sent Arsenal crashing out of this season's FA Cup.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Ricardo Fuller scores twice as Stoke City shock Arsenal 3-1 in FA Cup fourth round
  • Arsenal include veteran defender Sol Campbell for his first game for the club in four years
  • Robinho scores for Manchester City in 4-2 fourth round win at Scunthorpe
  • Brazil star tells Radio Bandeirantes he wants to leave Eastlands to boost World Cup hopes

(CNN) -- Arsenal became the latest big-name casualty in this season's English FA Cup as they slid to a 3-1 defeat at fellow Premier League side Stoke City on Sunday.

With fellow 'big four' members Manchester United and Liverpool going out in the third round to Leeds and Reading respectively, the path to silverware had opened for Arsene Wenger's men, but a much-changed side suffered a chastening defeat at the Britannia Stadium.

Two-goal man of the match Ricardo Fuller put Stoke ahead after just 70 seconds after the visiting defense, including the returning Sol Campbell, failed to deal with Rory Delap's trademark long-throw.

Fuller was in ahead of dithering goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski to head home from close-range.

Wenger's team drew level, somewhat fortunately, in the 42nd minute when Denilson's shot found its way past Thomas Sorensen after a double deflection.

But Fuller put Stoke ahead for the second time in the 78th minute as he shrugged off former England international Campbell to head home Mamady Sidibe's superb cross from the right.

The 35-year-old Campbell was playing his first game for the Gunners in four years after joining them for a second spell after a brief sojourn at fourth flight Notts County, and it had an unhappy ending.

As Arsenal pushed for an equalizer, Dean Whitehead turned in a cross from the excellent Matthew Etherington to seal the victory with four minutes to play.

Defeat leaves Arsenal to concentrate on their Premier League title challenge and the European Champions League and Wenger defended his decision to rest key players for the fourth round tie.

"We were exposed to a fight, and some of our players were a bit young and could not cope with it," he told ITV Sport.

I want to be playing as a starter, I want to be playing well
--Robinho

"I do not regret the side I put out, I did not have much choice. We had 10 injuries and a very difficult program coming up," he added.

Stoke's reward for their fine victory is a fifth round tie against Manchester City, who battled to a 4-2 win over second-flight Scunthorpe, with Brazilian Robinho scoring the final goal after 84 minutes.

First team starts for club record-signing Robinho have been limited this season and reports on Sunday, quoting an interview given to a Brazilian radio station, claimed he wants to leave Manchester City as soon as possible to boost his chances of playing in the World Cup finals for his country.

"I want to be playing as a starter, I want to be playing well," Robinho told Radio Bandeirantes.

"We are four, five months from the World Cup. We all know that there is a lot of competition to play for Brazil."

City manager Roberto Mancini shrugged off the speculation in his post-match interview and said he wanted Robinho to stay as his side challenge for honors on three fronts with an English League Cup semifinal second leg against Manchester United in midweek.

In other highlights of the draw, holders Chelsea, who beat Preston 2-0 on Saturday, were drawn at home to second-flight Cardiff and Reading's reward for beating Burnley was a home tie to West Bromwich Albion.