Arsenal crashes out of FA Cup
Arsenal became the latest member of the Barclays Premier League's elite to suffer an early exit from the FA Cup, as Ricardo Fuller's double strike inspired Stoke City's 3-1 win over the Gunners in the fourth round.
Manchester United, humbled by League One Leeds United, and Liverpool, shocked by Reading, both perished in the third round and Arsene Wenger's much-changed side were condemned to an equally chastening defeat at the Britannia Stadium.
After claiming that Arsenal remain vulnerable to physical opponents, Fuller underlined his pre-match jibe by heading the hosts into the lead after 70 seconds. The Gunners defence, including debutant Sol Campbell, failed to deal with Rory Delap's trademark long-throw and Fuller nipped in front of hesitant goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski to head home from close-range.
Wenger's team drew level in the 42nd minute when Denilson's shot trickled past Thomas Sorensen after deflecting off two Stoke defenders. But Fuller, who had scored twice against Arsenal last season, proved a thorn in their side yet again in the 78th minute.
Mamady Sidibe crossed from the right and Jamaican international Fuller escaped Campbell's attentions to head past Fabianski. Dean Whitehead ensured Arsenal would suffer their first defeat in ten matches when he turned in Matthew Etherington's cross with four minutes to play.
Manchester City travel to Championship strugglers Scunthorpe in Sunday's late game, with that tie followed by the fifth round draw.