Mark Hughes said after Saturday’s 1-0 win against Arsenal that Stoke fans will find beating the Gunners more satisfying than other teams.
This won’t come as a shock to most Arsenal fans, with the way that the Stoke supporters mock Arsène Wenger, boo Aaron Ramsey and chant about being a rugby team. It seems to be the only game of the season the Potters are actually up for, the only ‘cup final’ they have a chance to win.
Mark Hughes is well aware of this, as he told reporters via Daily Star after the game, but said that for him it’s no different to any other team: “In terms of it being Arsenal was it any more satisfying? I will say ‘no’ but a lot of other people will say ‘absolutely.’ The fans think that without a shadow of a doubt.”
“Arsene said we weren’t their bogey team we were just a good team that causes them problems. He’s probably right but there’s always some teams that just irritate you and you just can’t get the better of them.”
The part about not being able to get the better of Stoke is going a bit overboard. This was Stoke’s first win against Arsenal since 2014, whilst the Gunners have beaten the Potters four times in that same period. But if you lose even once every few years against a team at the level of Stoke, it sticks in people’s minds.
There was a chance for Arsene Wenger’s men to make it two wins in a few months at the Britannia Stadium and start to put the whole ‘bogey team’ idea to bed, so from that point of view it was a missed opportunity.
But then the Stoke fans still haven’t forgiven Ramsey for breaking his leg, so perhaps there isn’t enough logic in this rivalry for it to be brushed aside like that anyway.