Written by Phillipa Hopwood: Arsenal climb to top of The Premier League table after a 3-1 win over Stoke at The Emirates Stadium.
Mark Hughes is still in search of his first managerial win at Stoke, after watching his side pull the game level against Arsenal at 1-1 but Per Mertesacker and Bacary Sagna left Geoff Cameron’s 26th minute strike a mere consolation for The Potters.
Mesut Ozil made his Emirates debut in the only change for Arsenal since their midweek win over Marseille, but after Theo Walcott pulled out in the warm up 18 -year-old Serge Gnabry was welcomed into Arsene’s team.
Meanwhile Marko Arnautovic made his full Stoke debut at they expense of Matthew Etherington in Mark Hughes only change to the team that drew 0-0 with Man City last weekend.
The game had barely even started when Arsenal were awarded a free kick in the fourth minute Ozil fired a hard shot at Asmir Begovic, the Stoke goalkeeper could only parry the ball and Aaron Ramsey fired in the rebound for his seventh goal in eight games.
Stoke found it hard to create chances with Kenwyne Jones alone up front, Charlie Adam tried to force some offence when he ran down the wing and put in an early cross but it was agonisingly out of Jones’ reach.
Arsenal managed to deal with everything Stoke threw at them in the opening 20 minutes, but Arnautovic was out to impress on his debut and after his shot struck the woodwork, Geoff Cameron maintained his composure to slot the rebound past Wojciech Szczęsny, for his first goal in English football.
But just ten minutes later Ozil was again involved as Per Mertesacker got his head on the end of the German’s corner to take the Gunner’s back in front leading into the interval.
Keiran Gibbs was straight out in the second half to try his luck in front of goal but Begovic had his shot covered before Olivier Giroud forced another fine save from the Stoke goalkeeper, but his strike looked to be rising over the bar.
Stoke had a short period of possession with Jones, Jon Walters and Marc Wilson all linking up well but to no avail.
Both sides had chances within seconds of each other with Ozil and Wilson both forcing saves from Begovic and Szczesny.
Ozil was again on hand to help Arsenal go 3-1 ahead, the former Real Madrid midfielder hit a teasing cross into the Stoke box and Bacary Sagna rose to head the ball past Begovic for his first goal of the season.
Stoke had no answer after Arsenal took the lead, and The Gunners finished the game on top to secure their seventh consecutive victory.
Stoke now host Norwich at The Britannia Stadium on Sunday whilst Arsenal travel to Wales to face an inform Swansea City.