FT: Arsenal 3 Stoke 1

Arsenal's best start to a Premier League season for five years puts them top of the league. The Gunners were not at their best but three set pieces brought them three goals and they were solid enough at the back against a largely toothless Stoke side to ensure it was enough to earn them all three points.

90+3
Giroud holds the ball up on the edge of the box and plays in Ramsey whose fierce drive is tipped over by Begovic.

90
We will have a minimum of four minutes added time.

89
Ireland is booked for a clumsy foul on Arteta.

88
Arsenal then knock the ball about just inside their own half with each pass greeted by an 'Ole'.

87
It's been all Stoke in the last 10 minutes but for all their possession they have lacked a cutting edge in the final third of the field.

86
Walters and Arnautovic then get their wires crossed and Gibbs gratefully picks up the loose ball.

85
Cameron's cross is headed down in the box by Walters for Ireland, but he is adjudged to have climbed on the back of the defender.

84
I'm a little bit surprised Peter Crouch hasn't been give a go as his height might have troubled the Arsenal backline.

83
Stoke, to their credit, are still pushing forward and the scoreline is not a fair reflection of their efforts.

82
Empty seats are starting to appear around the ground as fans make an early bid to get on the tube.

81
Wilson forces a Stoke corner off Sagna which Pennant takes but Flamini heads clear.

80
Ironic cheers for Pennant whose attempt to find Walters only results in an Arsenal goalkick.

79
Mikel Arteta comes on for Ozil who is given a standing ovavtion after having a hand in all three goals.

78
Mertesacker fouls Walters but Ireland's free kick is too deep and goes out for a goalkick.

77
Pennant takes the second corner which is cleared, he keeps it in and crosses again for Shawcross who this time can only head wide.

76
Stoke force a corner that Pennant takes and it falls to Shawcross 12 yards out whose shot deflects over off Gibbs.

75
So Arsenal have what you would think now is a killer third goal - Sagna's first for 19 months which came at a time when Stoke were having their best spell of the match. Mark Hughes will be gutted that it was yet another set piece.

74
Stoke's final change sees former Gunner Jermaine Pennant on for Jones.

73
Arnautovic lets fry form 25 yards and brings a smart save from the home keeper.

72
Double change for Arsenal that would have been made anyway with Nacho Monreal on for Wilshere and Ryo Miyaichi on for the impressive Gnabry.

71
GOAL! Ozil takes an Arsenal free kick that finds Sagna at the far post and his looping header evades Begovic and goes in.

70
Ramsey loses the ball in the centre circle and Ireland leads the counter, but Palacios overhits his pass.

69
Stoke force a corner which Ireland takes and Huth gets a touch that takes it away from Shawcross who was lurking behind him.

68
Ireland finds N'Zonzi down the Stoke right and his low cross is well held by Szczesny in a crowded six-yard box.

67
Stoke's second change sees Wilson Palacios come on for Erik Pieters.

66
Wilshere is back on his feet and looks as though he will be able to carry on.

65
A sporting gesture from Shawcross who puts the ball out so Wilshere can get treatment as he stretched to challenge N'Zonzi.

64
Chances at both ends and the crowd is quite subdued which is a tribute to how well Stoke have imposed themselves on the game.

63
Stoke counter and Wilson's strike from 20 yard is pushed away for a corner by Szczesny.

62
A long kick downfield is headed into the path of Ozil by Wilshere but his low drive from the edge of the box is well saved by Begovic.

61
Ireland looks to find Pieters down the Stoke left, but Sagna makes the interception.

60
An hour gone and Stoke are still knocking at the door, although they have created little in the way of clear-cut chances.

59
Pieters fouls Gnabry but Ozil's free kick is gathered under no pressure by Begovic.

58
Stoke make the game's first change with Stepehen Ireland coming on for Adam who does not look pleased.

57
Ozil battles well by the corner flag, surrounded by two defenders, but wins a throw.

56
Ozil provides a shooting chance for Giroud on the edge of the box but he blazes it high and wide.

55
The referee went back and did book Huth for his challenge on Gnabry.

54
Again Stoke come forward and knock the ball about with confidence but Wilshere intercepts and finds Giroud who is fouled by Huth with the free kic cleared.

53
A good spell of pressure for the Potters but they give it away with a blind pass from Adam. Huth fouls Gnabry but the advantage is played and Giroud's shot form the edge of the box is tipped over by Begovic with the corner cleared.

52
Gibbs plays a wayward pass intended for Giroud and Stoke get forward with Adam fouled by Wilshere.

51
Stoke counter with Adam looking for Cameron but the ball goes out for a throw off Ramsey.

50
Giroud mis-hits a pass as he tried to find the run of Wilshere who would have had a clear run on goal.

49
Gnabry cuts in from the right after a pass from Ozil and his wel-struck shot from 25 yards is well held by keeper Begovic.

48
N'Zonzi plays a long pass looking for the run of Walters, but Mertesacker reads it and cuts the ball out.

47
Arsenal immediately go on the attack, knowing they will almost certainly need a third goal before they can really settle.

46
Arsenal get the second half started and neither side has made a change at the break.

A workmanlike rather than inspired display from Arsenal sees them deserving of their lead at the break, although Stoke's equaliser should tell them that there is still plenty of work ahead if they are secure three points and go top of the table.

45
We will have a minimum of three minutes added time.

44
Giroud turns well on the edge of the box but Huth blocks his shot.

43
Ramsey sportingly gives the ball back to Begovic and Stoke have an opportunity to get the ball forward as half-time approaches.

42
Both need treatment but there is no sign of blood so both will carry on once they leave the field.

41
More patient build up from the home side before Jones and Mertesacker clash heads.

40
Gnabry then wins a free kick by the corner flag after a foul by Pieters. The winger takes it himself but Shawcross heads clear.

39
Ramsey looks to play in Giroud but this time the striker is caught offside.

38
Gnabry shoots wide from the edge of the box after Arsenal had pounced on a poor clearance by Begovic.

37
You get the feeling that if Arsenal can crank up the tempo just even another notch then there will be more goals for them because some of their appraoch play has been superb.

36
Wilshere's clever first-time ball picks out the run of Giroud into the box but Begovic is quickly off his line to smother at the striker's feet.

35
Stoke did not learn from the corner just minutes earlier and now find themselves behind for a second time.

34
GOAL! Ozil takes the corner which is met by Mertesacker whose header find the corner as Laurent Koscielny does enough to put off the keeper.

33
Walters gets in a vital header who clear Wilshere's free kick for a corner.

32
Giroud and Shawcross tangle in the corner and it's the Stoke defender who is penalised.

31
Let-off there for the Potter as the game finally starts to open up and is being played at a much quicker pace.

30
Mertesacker meets the subsequent Arsenal corner and his header is cleared off the line by Cameron.

29
Good build-up by Arsenal involving Ozil and Ramsey sees Wilshere get in a shot but Shawcross gets in a timely challenge.

28
Wilshere playsd a sliderule ball into the box for Giroud but Huth gets in a vital block to stop the striker's shot.

27
Huth plays a long ball into the box aimed at Jones who almost gets on the end of it, but Mertesacker does well to hold him off and clear.

26
It's come against the run of play but what a fine finish from Cameron to draw the Potters level!

25
GOAL! Stoke counter and N'Zonzi's floated cross into the box picks out Arnautovic whose volley hits the foot of the post. It comes back out to Geoff Cameron who sidefoots the ball home from the edge of the box.

24
Giroud's attempts to get on the end of Wilshere's pass is stopped by a strong tackle from Shawcross.

23
The hosts move downfield and Gibbs cuts in from the left but his shot from the edge of the box is high and wide.

22
Stoke's best moment of the game but they failed to seriously put the Gunners under pressure.

21
Adam's kick is disappointing and straight into the wall. The ball is played back in and Huth meets it, forcing Gibbs to concede a corner which is cleared.

20
Sagna trips Adam on the edge of the box and Stoke have a promising free kick.

19
Ozil tries to slide a ball for Giroud who looks to have sprung the offside trap, but it's just overhit and goes out for a goalkick.

18
N'Zonzi intercepts a pass from Ramsey and finds Adam but his cross is too far ahad of his strikers in the box.

17
Arsenal are looking very comfortable and are giving it to Ozil at every opportunity with Stoke pushed back.

16
A deep cross into the box by Pieters is aimed at Jones but Wojciech Szczesny makes a confident catch.

15
Adam tries to get free for Stoke down the left, but Sagna gets in a solid tackle.

14
The game is being played at quite a sedate pace despite the early goal.

13
Wilshere is given a talking to after a strong challenge on Shawcross.

12
Ozil slides a ball out to the overlapping Gnabry but Marko Arnautovic gets back to tackle. He concedes a corner but Begovic makes a clean catch.

11
Steven N'Zonzi is penalised for a foul on Wilshere and could perhaps count himself fortunate not to be the first booking of the game.

10
Wilshere gives away a free kick in thecentre circle and Stoke have the chance to get their foot on the ball, but Shawcross plants a long ball forward aimed at Jones and it goes out for a throw.

9
Stoke are struggling to even get a touch at the moment but a worry for Arsenal is that Wilshere appears to be in some discomfort.

8
It's Arsenal doing all the pressing with Gibbs getting in a low centre, but Huth manages to hack it to safety.

7
Latest news on Walcott: Arsenal were forced into a late change to their starting XI for Sunday's Barclays Premier League clash against Stoke, when England forward Theo Walcott fell ill and was replaced by German youngster Serge Gnabry.

6
An early goal is just what Arsenal wanted but you have to wonder whether Begovic could have turned the ball out for a corner, rather than push it straight back out into danger.

5
There's a delay to the restart as Walters gets treatment after being hurt in his efforts to stop Ramsey getting to the loose ball.

4
GOAL! Ozil's effort goes through the wall and is heading for the bottom corner. Keeper Begovic dives to his right to parry but the ball breaks to Ramsey who slides it home from eight yards.

3
Wilshere is felled in full flight by Charlie Adam and Arsenal have a dangerous free kick 25 yards out and central.

2
Arsenal are back in possession and patiently knock it across the back four before Wilshere drives forward and picks out Ramsey whose cross is knocked away.

1
Stoke get us under way and Ryan Shawcross immediately tries to find Jon Walter with a long ball that goes out for a throw.

Ex-Potter Edd Irwin from Durban, South Africa says: "This is going to be a tough game for Stoke as we are both going for the top spot. I like the team sheet - it looks very strong. If Stoke get an early goal we should be okay. I'm going for a 1-0 win and the full three points."

Breaking news is that Theo Walcott is a late casualty for Arsenal after evidently picking up an injury in the warm up and his place has been taken by Serge Gnabry. Miyaichi is drafted in on the bench.

A few match facts for you as kick-off approaches: Stoke have lost all five previous visits to Arsenal in the Premier League. The last time Stoke won away at Arsenal was in August 1981, a 1-0 victory in the old Division One at Highbury. They have gone 11 matches against Arsenal in north London without winning. In 14 meetings between Arsene Wenger and Mark Hughes, the Frenchman has the edge with eight wins to the Welshman's four. The Gunners have scored in nine successive Premier League games, the longest-such current run. Stoke have received six yellow cards so far this season. Arsenal, meanwhile, have received 10 yellow cards and one red.

Marie Breeze says: "I'm a loyal Arsenal supporter here. I'm not going to say we are going to win 10-0! But I so think the Gunners will come out with confidence, boss the game and get an early goal through Giroud. My prediction is 3-1 win for the Arsenal!"

"Looking forward to seeing how Arsenal will set up against a physical Stoke team today. I hope Arsenal will continue playing flowing football and secure three points. However, I can see Stoke playing "dirty" and going for a 0-0," says Billy Mills from Portsmouth.

Brum fan Jamie says: "Stoke have played well and proved they can mix it under Hughes who might have finally found a long-term job! I'm going for 2-2 Giroud, Walcott, Jones and Adam. Also SURELY Shawcross must be in contention for England? Surely?"

The teams are in and are as follows - Arsenal: Szczesny, Sagna, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Gibbs, Wilshere, Ozil, Walcott, Ramsey, Flamini, Giroud. Substitutes: Viviano, Vermaelen, Monreal, Jenkinson, Arteta, Gnabry, Bendtner. Stoke: Begovic, Pieters, Huth, Shawcross, Cameron, Arnautovic, Wilson, Nzonzi, Adam, Walters, Jones. Substitutes: Sorensen, Whelan, Pennant, Palacios, Etherington, Ireland, Crouch.

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger names an unchanged starting XI for Sunday's Barclays Premier League clash against Stoke, where club-record signing Mesut Ozil makes his home debut as the Gunners aim to go top of the table. Midfielder Mikel Arteta is back in the squad for the first time this season after recovering from a thigh injury, while Denmark striker Nicklas Bendtner is also on the bench having seen a move away during the transfer window blocked. Stoke are looking to maintain their promising start under new manager Mark Hughes, with Kenwyne Jones and Marko Arnautovic leading the visitors' attack.

"As an Arsenal fan I would love to see a convincing home win - but I actually think we'll struggle in this one. Can see us nicking it, however, by the odd goal, 1-0 or 2-1," predicts Carl Fletcher.

"With all the yellow and red cards handed out to Arsenal this season, I hope the referee will take a firm stance against their rough house tactics and afford some protection to the Stoke players today. We all want to see some football after all!" says Chris Richards.

First e-mail of the day comes from Chris Green in Huddersfield who says: "In theory, Arsenal should win this game quite conformably as they're a force to be reckoned with at home, especially when they hit the opposition on the counter attack. However, I admire Stoke and if they could produce a huge shock, it would be a brilliant achievement for the Potters. Yes, this probably won't happen as shocks don't happen regularly, but you never know - surprises do happen! Arsenal are the home team and I expect them to dominate possession throughout the entire match, but if the Potters start the match off well and don't concede an early goal, they may have a chance of getting something from this match."

Good afternoon and welcome to our coverage of today's Premier League clash between Arsenal and Stoke City. Victory for the Gunners would take them top of the table, above Liverpool and Chelsea, while a win for Stoke could also take them top. Early news is that Arsene Wenger has named the same side that won so impressively at Marseille in the Champions League in midweek. Full team news and line-ups to follow. As always, we welcome your views so send them to simon.crawford@bskyb.com and I'll publish the best ones.

Premier League Fixtures

Saturday, 16 August 2014
12:45
Man Utd v Swansea  
15:00
Leicester v Everton  
QPR v Hull City  
Stoke City v A Villa  
West Brom v Sunderland  
West Ham v Tottenham  
17:30
Arsenal v C Palace  
Sunday, 17 August 2014
13:30
Liverpool v Southampton  
16:00
Newcastle v Man City  
Monday, 18 August 2014
20:00
Burnley v Chelsea  
Saturday, 23 August 2014
12:45
A Villa v Newcastle  
15:00
Chelsea v Leicester  

Barclays Premier League

Position Team P GD PTS
1 Arsenal 0 0 0
2 A Villa 0 0 0
3 Burnley 0 0 0
4 Chelsea 0 0 0
5 C Palace 0 0 0
6 Everton 0 0 0
7 Hull City 0 0 0
8 Leicester 0 0 0
9 Liverpool 0 0 0
10 Man City 0 0 0
11 Man Utd 0 0 0
12 Newcastle 0 0 0
13 QPR 0 0 0
14 Southampton 0 0 0
15 Stoke City 0 0 0
16 Sunderland 0 0 0
17 Swansea 0 0 0
18 Tottenham 0 0 0
19 West Brom 0 0 0
20 West Ham 0 0 0

Updated Tue, 15 Jul 2014

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