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Arsenal 2 - 0 Stoke City: Match Report

Arsenal dominated a fairly anemic Stoke to take three points, but it wasn't all wine and roses.

Paul Gilham/Getty Images

1 - 0 Theo Walcott 31'
2 - 0 Olivier Giroud 85'

Arsenal dominated a Stoke City team that fell into the cracks today at the Emirates, and despite a number of missed chances, the Gunners did enough to score twice and take all three points from Mark Hughes' side. The performance was very good at times, and while Stoke weren't completely silent, testing Petr Cech once or twice, the majority of the match saw Arsenal come at the Potters in waves. Indeed, Alexis hit the post twice in the opening eight minutes, and Theo Walcott really should have scored twice but missed a rebound and a simple header in that timeframe as well. More chances were to come, despite Stoke finally waking up and managing to slow up Arsenal for a while.

With Walcott as a lone striker, the best chances were always going to come after Stoke had attacked, and indeed, 31 minutes in, that was the case, as Francis Coquelin recovered to tackle the ball away and set Mesut Özil free. The German looked up and played a superb long ball over the top, which Walcott controlled and put between a helpless Jack Butland's legs to open the scoring.

Arsenal continued to push for a second as halftime came and went, and predictably, Stoke continued to hope that Arsenal's offensive would leave gaps to exploit. A few nervous moments nearly saw that occur, but for the most part, Arsenal remained on the front foot, if not completely in control. Substitutions were coming, and when Olivier Giroud replaced Walcott and missed a shot wide almost immediately, one feared that his poor form for France might have some shelf life.

But that fear did not last long, as Arsenal won a free kick from a wide position. When Santi Cazorla swung in his kick, Giroud, relatively unmarked, nodded it home at the near post to seal up the three points for Arsenal.

It wasn't a complete stampede, but for the most part, it was a good enough day at the Emirates. Arsenal may be rounding back into good form; time will tell.