Premier League
Arsenal3Stoke1

Arsenal 3-1 Stoke City

Theo Walcott scores for Arsenal
Theo Walcott's equaliser was his 100th goal in club football

Arsenal moved top of the Premier League as they came from behind to beat Stoke at Emirates Stadium.

The visitors took the lead through Charlie Adam's penalty after Granit Xhaka elbowed Joe Allen.

Theo Walcott turned in substitute Hector Bellerin's cross just before half-time for his 100th club goal.

Mesut Ozil headed over goalkeeper Lee Grant to give Arsenal the lead before substitute Alex Iwobi side-footed home the third.

The Gunners leapfrog Chelsea on goals scored, with Antonio Conte's side facing West Brom at Stamford Bridge on Sunday at 12:00 GMT.

Arsenal now unbeaten in 14 in the league

Mesut Ozil makes it 2-1 to Arsenal
Mesut Ozil heads over an exposed Lee Grant to give Arsenal the lead

Arsenal came into the game in great form after putting five past West Ham last Saturday and scoring four in Basel in the Champions League on Wednesday.

Unbeaten in the league since an opening-day home defeat by Liverpool, that record looked in danger when Xhaka caught and cut Welshman Allen with his elbow, prompting referee Lee Mason to award the penalty from which Stoke scored. He did not show the Swiss a yellow card.

The Gunners had already lost Shkodran Mustafi to injury, with the German later ruled out for at least three weeks. His replacement, Bellerin, had a superb game. The Spain right-back frequently drove forward and it was from his low cross that Walcott glanced the equaliser.

Hector Bellerin's successful passes v Stoke
Substitute right-back Hector Bellerin saw much more of the ball in the Stoke half than Arsenal's, making 36 passes with an accuracy of 94.4%. The blue arrow is his cross for Walcott's goal

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain chipped a wonderful pass over the Stoke defence for Ozil to head his ninth league goal of the season, with Potters right-back Erik Pieters still running back having had to leave the pitch following treatment.

Iwobi, who scored in Basel, ensured Arsenal moved top ahead of Chelsea, having scored four more goals than the Blues. They are level on 34 points with a goal difference of +21.

Will Arsenal have the mental and physical stamina to still be in that position come the end of the season?

35 years and counting

Charlie Adam scores for Stoke from a penalty
Scot Charlie Adam scored Stoke's penalty. An Englishman has not scored for the Potters in the Premier League since May 2015 when Peter Crouch netted against Liverpool.

Stoke were also in excellent form, winning five of their previous nine games and losing just one.

They had only conceded five times in that run but history was not in their favour, having lost their past 14 visits to Arsenal and not winning there since August 1981.

Marc Muniesa went close with an early 30-yard volley before Adam sent Petr Cech the wrong way to mark his 31st birthday with his first goal of the season.

Twice Stoke came close to scoring only for Arsenal to score almost immediately afterwards. Marko Arnautovic threatened to make it 2-0 after an excellent run in the Gunners' box but was crowded out just before Walcott's equaliser.

Mark Hughes' side increasingly found themselves on the back foot in the second half but came close to an equaliser when Peter Crouch was brought on for a corner and immediately headed down to force a smart, low save from Cech.

Within two minutes Iwobi made it 3-1 to put the game to bed.

Man of the match - Hector Bellerin (Arsenal)

Hector Bellerin
The Spanish right-back (left) created Walcott's equaliser, provided three key passes and also made important interventions when required in defence.

MOTD analysis

Former Arsenal striker Ian Wright: "I can see Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain's frustration. Last week he played well and he was very good again against Stoke.

"I do admire him a lot, but his chances are too far and few between for Arsenal. He's getting a lot further forward for the team, but with the emergence of Alex Iwobi it feels like he's not going to get the chance.

"I don't know what more he can do. It's up to the boss to give him a run, let him have a go. As soon as he does, he's always being taken off. Even when he plays well he still gets taken off."

Ex-England midfielder Danny Murphy: "Granit Xhaka is talented, a super passer. I noticed his nasty streak in Euro 2016. He's ill-disciplined at times. It was a stupid foul. He was sent off earlier this season against Swansea for a reckless tackle. He's been sent off eight times in two and a half years. He won't get picked any more if he keeps doing that."

What the managers said:

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger: "We had a hesitant start, but when you play every few days sometimes it takes you time to get into a rhythm and that is what happened.

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Wenger praises Gunners' 'great mental strength'

"We got a very unlucky penalty against us because it is not even a foul in my opinion. Mentally it was good for morale to get back to 1-1 before half-time.

"We are there for the fight and we have been consistent after the first game. It is down to us to maintain the focus and the desire to improve. We have a chance to fight at the top."

Stoke boss Mark Hughes: "We created a number of good opportunities when in previous years we have struggled to even get shots on goal here.

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Positives to take from defeat at Arsenal - Hughes

"We stood up to them and maybe conceding the equaliser before half-time lifted them and hurt us more than we thought.

"We had to push the game and look for opportunities at the other end - a lot of teams will struggle to come here and cope with the pace and power Arsenal have at the moment. You have to take it on the chin and go again."

The stats you need to know

  • In Arsenal's 15 consecutive home wins against Stoke, the Gunners have scored 42 goals and conceded just eight
  • No player has hand a hand in more Premier League goals this season than Alexis Sanchez (11 goals, five assists)
  • Mark Hughes has lost all 10 of the away matches he has managed against Arsenal in the Premier League
  • The only English player with more Premier League goals than Theo Walcott (seven) this season is Jermain Defoe (eight)
  • Stoke have scored 14 of their past 15 penalties in the league, with their only failure coming from Bojan against Bournemouth last month
  • Arsenal have scored a league-high six goals from substitutes in the league this season
  • Hector Bellerin has assisted seven league goals since the start of last season, more than any other defender

What's next?

Arsenal are away to Everton on Tuesday (19:45) before travelling to fourth-placed Manchester City on Sunday, 18 December (16:00). Stoke host Southampton on Wednesday (20:00) with another home game to follow, against Leicester next Saturday at 15:00.

Line-ups

Arsenal

  • 33Cech
  • 5Gabriel
  • 20MustafiSubstituted forBellerínat 25'minutes
  • 6Koscielny
  • 18Monreal
  • 34Coquelin
  • 29Xhaka
  • 14Walcott
  • 11Özil
  • 15Oxlade-ChamberlainSubstituted forIwobiat 69'minutes
  • 7SánchezSubstituted forGiroudat 78'minutes

Substitutes

  • 3Gibbs
  • 9Pérez
  • 12Giroud
  • 13Ospina
  • 17Iwobi
  • 24Bellerín
  • 35El Neny

Stoke

  • 33Grant
  • 8Johnson
  • 15Martins Indi
  • 5Muniesa
  • 18DioufSubstituted forCrouchat 72'minutes
  • 21Imbula
  • 16AdamSubstituted forSobhiat 81'minutes
  • 3Pieters
  • 22ShaqiriSubstituted forNgoyat 86'minutes
  • 4Allen
  • 10Arnautovic

Substitutes

  • 6Whelan
  • 12Bony
  • 24Given
  • 25Crouch
  • 27Bojan
  • 32Sobhi
  • 45Ngoy
Referee:
Lee Mason
Attendance:
59,964

Match Stats

Home TeamArsenalAway TeamStoke
Possession
Home64%
Away36%
Shots
Home21
Away12
Shots on Target
Home6
Away5
Corners
Home7
Away7
Fouls
Home9
Away6

Live Text

Match ends, Arsenal 3, Stoke City 1.

Full Time

Second Half ends, Arsenal 3, Stoke City 1.

Attempt missed. Olivier Giroud (Arsenal) with an attempt from the centre of the box misses to the right. Assisted by Héctor Bellerín with a cross.

Alex Iwobi (Arsenal) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Glen Johnson (Stoke City).

Corner, Stoke City. Conceded by Gabriel.

Foul by Granit Xhaka (Arsenal).

Julien Ngoy (Stoke City) wins a free kick on the right wing.

Substitution

Substitution, Stoke City. Julien Ngoy replaces Xherdan Shaqiri.

Attempt saved. Theo Walcott (Arsenal) right footed shot from the right side of the box is saved in the bottom left corner. Assisted by Francis Coquelin.

Substitution

Substitution, Stoke City. Ramadan Sobhi replaces Charlie Adam.

Corner, Arsenal. Conceded by Glen Johnson.

Substitution

Substitution, Arsenal. Olivier Giroud replaces Alexis Sánchez.

Foul by Alex Iwobi (Arsenal).

Marc Muniesa (Stoke City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Goal!

Goal! Arsenal 3, Stoke City 1. Alex Iwobi (Arsenal) right footed shot from the left side of the box to the bottom right corner. Assisted by Alexis Sánchez.

Attempt missed. Xherdan Shaqiri (Stoke City) right footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the right following a corner.

Corner, Stoke City. Conceded by Laurent Koscielny.

Attempt saved. Peter Crouch (Stoke City) header from the left side of the six yard box is saved in the bottom left corner. Assisted by Xherdan Shaqiri with a cross.

Substitution

Substitution, Stoke City. Peter Crouch replaces Mame Biram Diouf.

Corner, Stoke City. Conceded by Francis Coquelin.

Substitution

Substitution, Arsenal. Alex Iwobi replaces Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.

Attempt missed. Mame Biram Diouf (Stoke City) header from the centre of the box misses to the left. Assisted by Erik Pieters with a cross.

Attempt missed. Marko Arnautovic (Stoke City) right footed shot from outside the box is too high. Assisted by Xherdan Shaqiri.

Foul by Granit Xhaka (Arsenal).

Joe Allen (Stoke City) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Corner, Stoke City. Conceded by Gabriel.

Attempt blocked. Mame Biram Diouf (Stoke City) left footed shot from the left side of the box is blocked. Assisted by Charlie Adam with a through ball.

Foul by Granit Xhaka (Arsenal).

Marko Arnautovic (Stoke City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Attempt blocked. Alexis Sánchez (Arsenal) right footed shot from the left side of the box is blocked. Assisted by Mesut Özil.

Granit Xhaka (Arsenal) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Glen Johnson (Stoke City).

Attempt blocked. Francis Coquelin (Arsenal) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

Corner, Arsenal. Conceded by Erik Pieters.

Attempt blocked. Theo Walcott (Arsenal) right footed shot from the right side of the box is blocked. Assisted by Alexis Sánchez.

Delay over. They are ready to continue.

Delay in match Mame Biram Diouf (Stoke City) because of an injury.

Attempt saved. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (Arsenal) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom right corner. Assisted by Alexis Sánchez.

Attempt missed. Granit Xhaka (Arsenal) left footed shot from outside the box misses to the right. Assisted by Francis Coquelin.

goal

As It Stood

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Arsenal15104136152134
2Chelsea14111232112134
3Liverpool1493235181730
4Man City1593332191330
5Tottenham1476124101427
6Man Utd145631916321
7Watford156362126-521
8West Brom145542017320
9Everton155551919020
10Stoke155461722-519
11Bournemouth155372125-418
12Southampton144551315-217
13Burnley155281525-1017
14Leicester154472126-516
15Crystal Palace154382729-215
16Middlesbrough143651315-215
17Swansea153391931-1212
18West Ham143381529-1412
19Hull153391432-1812
20Sunderland1532101427-1311
View full Premier League table

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