MARK HUGHES lavished praise upon his players after they claimed the scalp of another of this season’s Premier League championship contenders at the Britannia Stadium.
Jonathan Walters’ second half penalty was enough to record all three points for his side from a pulsating encounter against Arsenal, whose title credentials suffered a major blow in the Potteries.
Incredibly, of the 30 points that Hughes’ side have now accumulated this season, a third of those have been earned in four home matches against the Gunners, Manchester City, Chelsea and Manchester United.
“We seem to be making a real habit of beating the big sides here at the Britannia Stadium, which is really pleasing,” the Welshman told stokecityfc.com following the game.
“We’ve had some superb results and some very, very good performances here at home, and today was just another one of those.
“I thought the way that we went about our business was absolutely first class. From the very first minute until the last we showed more drive than Arsenal and a lot more intensity in our play too.
“As a consequence of that we created by far the better opportunities in the game, and deservedly took the three points that were on offer.”
He added: “We created a lot of opportunities today, including the clear-cut penalty, which Jonny Walters superbly dispatched, so all in all we can be incredibly pleased with our work today.”
The 50-year-old was also pleased to see his side keep a clean-sheet in the Premier League – their first since the goalless draw against Hull City at the KC Stadium two and a half months ago.
“We haven’t been able to do that on too many occasions just recently, so that aspect of the victory was really pleasing too,” he smiled.
“I thought that the lads were absolutely fantastic in terms of their defending today, and restricted Arsenal to very few opportunities.
“In fact, I can’t really recall them having any clear-cut opportunities until the dying stages of the game when they were throwing everything at us in a bid to salvage something from the game.
“You have to give a lot of credit to the lads at the back, but also to Asmir too, who negotiated every ball into the box superbly well and nipped things in the bud and settled us down when we needed him too.
“I was disappointed with the five minutes of added time at the end, but we managed to negotiate those well and in the end claim a superb victory courtesy of a very good performance.”