Premier League
Stoke0Arsenal0

Stoke City 0-0 Arsenal

Arsenal Stoke
Arsenal have not won at Stoke since February 2010

Arsenal returned to the top of the Premier League thanks to a point from a goalless draw at Stoke.

Arsene Wenger's side missed the creativity of Mesut Ozil, who was injured, but had chances to win the game only to be denied by Jack Butland.

The England goalkeeper tipped over Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain's long-range strike, before denying Olivier Giroud's header.

Stoke finished strongly as Jon Walters had a late header cleared off the line by Aaron Ramsey.

The draw means Arsenal move ahead of Leicester on goal difference. Stoke remain seventh.

Analysis: Arsenal pass title test - Alan Shearer

No Ozil, no party

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain failed to make an impact in the No.10 role for Arsenal

Arsenal have started 2016 well poised to challenge for a first league title in 12 years, and key to their impressive form this season has been Ozil.

The German tops the Premier League assist chart with 16, so his absence on Sunday because of a foot injury was undoubtedly a big blow for the Gunners.

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Game deserved goals - Hughes

It did, however, provided Oxlade-Chamberlain with the chance to step up.

He certainly looked like he had a point to prove, forcing Butland into a fine one-handed save with a curling strike midway through the first half.

However, he was also guilty of losing possession at times and became increasingly anonymous as the game wore on.

If he is to prove himself an able deputy for Ozil, he will need to a show a lot more than he did on Sunday.

Graphic
With Mesut Ozil injured, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain took on the German's role against Stoke, but did not prove as effective. The graphic on the left shows his passes in that game, while the graphic on the right displays Ozil's distribution against Liverpool in Arsenal's previous game. Ozil played more passes into the area than Oxlade-Chamberlain, with three of them key (yellow arrow)

Must do better?

Arsenal may never get as good a chance to win the league as they will this season, with the challenge from their traditional title rivals faltering.

Arsene Wenger's side had lost just once in the eight games prior to the trip to Stoke, but Gunners fans might have been forgiven for feeling a little uneasy about their recent away form - they have now picked up just six points from a possible 18.

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Wenger praises 'outstanding' Cech

Arsenal were looking for their first win at the Britannia Stadium since 2010, so a victory at Stoke - especially without their talisman Ozil - would certainly have underlined their credentials as genuine title contenders.

In the opening stages of the game, however, they were second best, struggling to match Stoke's neat passing.

They improved as the game wore on, but not by much. Giroud's header - well saved by Butland - was their only effort on target in the second half.

Butland brilliant again

Stoke's attacking talent has, quite rightly, been getting plenty of praise this season but Butland has been just as impressive in the Potters' goal.

His total of 81 is more saves than any other goalkeeper has made in the Premier League this season and he was key to Stoke's frustrating of Arsenal.

His saves from Oxlade-Chamberlain and Giroud kept his side in the game, allowing them to press in the closing stages as the visitors retreated, opting to protect the point.

As a consequence, Stoke could have snatched all three points just before full-time, but Walters' header from a corner was kept out by Ramsey, before Petr Cech blocked Joselu's follow-up.

Man of the match - Jack Butland

Jack Butland
England goalkeeper Jack Butland made a number of fine saves to deny Arsenal and earn Stoke a point

What they said

Stoke boss Mark Hughes: "It was a game between evenly matched sides. Both teams approached the game in the right manner and created chances. All-in-all we're pleased. It shows our progress. Teams have found it difficult to get points here.

"We are showing everyone we have belief in our ability. There was a period where Arsenal had some play around the box without creating too much. It was a similar story at the other end.

"It was a competitive game. At times, there were good opportunities to put the ball in the box and so the only criticism I would have is that we were reluctant to do that."

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger: "Maybe we had a better opportunities to score, they played very well, very physical and were very direct, which is an unusual style for them.

"We needed to be strong physically and had a great spirit, we fought very hard but couldn't take our chances. It is a hard fought 0-0. We have done better than years before at this ground and showed we can fight even when we miss certain players.

"It shows the spirit in the team, the desire and togetherness. We were less creative but on the physical front we did well."

The stats you need to know

  • Mark Hughes is unbeaten on home soil as an opposition coach against Arsene Wenger in his past eight Premier League matches (W5 D3), spread across five clubs.
  • Stoke City have lost just one of their eight Premier League games at the Britannia Stadium against Arsenal (W4 D3 L1).
  • It's the first time since November 2012 versus Aston Villa that Arsenal have drawn 0-0 away from home in the Premier League.
  • The Gunners have won just one of their past six Premier League away games (D3 L2).

What next?

Stoke travel to high-flying Leicester on Saturday. Arsenal host Chelsea the following day.

Line-ups

Stoke

  • 1Butland
  • 8Johnson
  • 17Shawcross
  • 26Wollscheid
  • 3Pieters
  • 6Whelan
  • 14AfellaySubstituted forVan Ginkelat 88'minutes
  • 19Walters
  • 27BojanSubstituted forDioufat 64'minutes
  • 10ArnautovicSubstituted forAdamat 87'minutes
  • 11Joselu

Substitutes

  • 5Muniesa
  • 9Odemwingie
  • 15Van Ginkel
  • 16Adam
  • 18Diouf
  • 25Crouch
  • 29Haugaard

Arsenal

  • 33Cech
  • 24Bellerín
  • 4Mertesacker
  • 6Koscielny
  • 18Monreal
  • 20Flamini
  • 16Ramsey
  • 28Campbell
  • 15Oxlade-ChamberlainSubstituted forChambersat 90+1'minutes
  • 14WalcottSubstituted forIwobiat 72'minutes
  • 12Giroud

Substitutes

  • 3Gibbs
  • 5Gabriel
  • 8Arteta
  • 13Ospina
  • 21Chambers
  • 35El Neny
  • 45Iwobi
Referee:
Craig Pawson
Attendance:
27,683

Match Stats

Home TeamStokeAway TeamArsenal
Possession
Home45%
Away55%
Shots
Home14
Away8
Shots on Target
Home6
Away3
Corners
Home6
Away6
Fouls
Home16
Away10

Live Text

Match ends, Stoke City 0, Arsenal 0.

Full Time

Second Half ends, Stoke City 0, Arsenal 0.

Per Mertesacker (Arsenal) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Jonathan Walters (Stoke City).

Offside, Stoke City. Glenn Whelan tries a through ball, but Jonathan Walters is caught offside.

Foul by Calum Chambers (Arsenal).

Charlie Adam (Stoke City) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Substitution

Substitution, Arsenal. Calum Chambers replaces Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.

Attempt blocked. Jonathan Walters (Stoke City) right footed shot from the right side of the box is blocked.

Attempt saved. Joselu (Stoke City) right footed shot from the left side of the box is saved in the bottom right corner.

Attempt blocked. Jonathan Walters (Stoke City) header from the right side of the six yard box is blocked. Assisted by Charlie Adam with a cross.

Corner, Stoke City. Conceded by Laurent Koscielny.

Attempt blocked. Glenn Whelan (Stoke City) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

Attempt blocked. Charlie Adam (Stoke City) left footed shot from the left side of the box is blocked. Assisted by Joselu.

Substitution

Substitution, Stoke City. Marco Van Ginkel replaces Ibrahim Afellay.

Substitution

Substitution, Stoke City. Charlie Adam replaces Marko Arnautovic.

Offside, Stoke City. Philipp Wollscheid tries a through ball, but Marko Arnautovic is caught offside.

Attempt missed. Joel Campbell (Arsenal) left footed shot from the right side of the box is high and wide to the left. Assisted by Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.

Joel Campbell (Arsenal) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Erik Pieters (Stoke City).

Joel Campbell (Arsenal) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Glenn Whelan (Stoke City).

Foul by Laurent Koscielny (Arsenal).

Glen Johnson (Stoke City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Corner, Arsenal. Conceded by Mame Biram Diouf.

Foul by Héctor Bellerín (Arsenal).

Mame Biram Diouf (Stoke City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Corner, Arsenal. Conceded by Mame Biram Diouf.

Attempt blocked. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (Arsenal) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Mathieu Flamini.

Substitution

Substitution, Arsenal. Alex Iwobi replaces Theo Walcott.

Joel Campbell (Arsenal) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Erik Pieters (Stoke City).

Offside, Stoke City. Ryan Shawcross tries a through ball, but Marko Arnautovic is caught offside.

Corner, Stoke City. Conceded by Héctor Bellerín.

Attempt blocked. Aaron Ramsey (Arsenal) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Olivier Giroud.

Corner, Stoke City. Conceded by Petr Cech.

Attempt saved. Joselu (Stoke City) left footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom left corner. Assisted by Glen Johnson.

Substitution

Substitution, Stoke City. Mame Biram Diouf replaces Bojan.

Corner, Stoke City. Conceded by Nacho Monreal.

Foul by Héctor Bellerín (Arsenal).

goal

As It Stood

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Arsenal22135437211644
2Leicester22128239261344
3Man City22134543212243
4Tottenham22109338182039
5Man Utd2210752820837
6West Ham229853426835
7Stoke229672422233
8Crystal Palace229492324-131
9Liverpool228772528-331
10Southampton228683124730
11Everton2261153932729
12Watford218582524129
13West Brom227692230-827
14Chelsea226793134-325
15Bournemouth2266102637-1124
16Norwich2265112438-1423
17Newcastle2256112439-1521
18Swansea2147101930-1119
19Sunderland2253142745-1818
20Aston Villa2226141838-2012
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