Match ends, Arsenal 3, Stoke City 0.
- Arsenal up to fifth with win
- Koscielny headed early opener
- Sanchez goals take season total to 18
- Debuchy dislocates shoulder in first half
Alexis Sanchez scored twice as Arsenal climbed above neighbours Tottenham and into fifth place in the Premier League with a dominant display against Stoke.
Laurent Koscielny took advantage of slack marking to head the hosts into an early lead from Sanchez's cross.
The Chile international then finished off a neat move with Tomas Rosicky to double Arsenal's lead before half-time.
Sanchez, 26, added his second goal of the game and 18th of the season from a free-kick shortly after the break.
It proved a relatively routine victory for an Arsenal side and for David Ospina, who retained his place after the 2-0 FA Cup third round win over Hull.
|Joey Barton: "Technically, Sanchez is not the greatest and does not always hurt the opposition with a great bit of skill. Of course, he does have a lot of quality on the ball, but what makes him a fantastic player and such a threat is more related to his energy and attitude. It feels like Sanchez is constantly in motion and, on top of that, he never gives up."|
|Read more: Reaction speed sets Sanchez apart|
It was the 26-year-old Colombia international's first Premier League start, with Wojciech Szczesny dropped to the bench following reports he was caught smoking in the showers after the New Year's Day defeat at Southampton.
Stoke were given early warning of Arsenal's intent when Sanchez and Tomas Rosicky forced goalkeeper Asmir Begovic into saves in the opening five minutes.
And within 60 seconds Koscielny took advantage of Arsenal's third corner of the match by heading in Sanchez's delivery.
Arsenal were forced to substitute defender Matthieu Debuchy when he dislocated his right shoulder in a challenge from Marko Arnautovic and collided with the advertising boards behind the goal.
Stoke created little throughout the game and their first real chance came when Glenn Whelan blazed a smart free-kick from Bojan over the bar on 25 minutes.
Peter Crouch also headed a tame effort wide from an Arnautovic cross.
Sanchez then stretched Arsenal's lead with his 17th goal of the season - a low shot in to the bottom left-hand corner after a smart one-two with Rosicky on the edge of the area.
Soon after the break, Sanchez was among the goals again. His free-kick squeezed through the wall and Begovic was unable to stop the ball crossing the line via his body and a post.
By then, the game was over as a contest but Stoke rallied.
Geoff Cameron had a goal ruled out for offside when he strayed ahead of the Arsenal defence from Crouch's flick-on.
And, as full-time approached, substitute Stephen Ireland forced Ospina into his only real save of note with a low right-foot effort.
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger speaking to Match of the Day: "We had a strong start and we knew that was vital today.
"Alexis Sanchez is one of the best players. He's a fighter with a combination of talent and fighting spirit which is very difficult to find.
"He plays with passion and you want people to enjoy what they're doing on the pitch and show it as well."
Stoke manager Mark Hughes speaking to Match of the Day: "We feel like we could've done better.
"We got off to a poor start and fell behind early. Our confidence waned from then on and we were a little bit slower in our work and our concentration.
"We never got to grips in wide areas really and deal with the talent Arsenal have coming forward. We were well beaten on the day and we can have no complaints."
- 2DebuchySubstituted forBellerinat 13'minutes
- 15Oxlade-ChamberlainSubstituted forWalcottat 68'minutes
- 12GiroudSubstituted forÖzilat 73'minutes
- 20CameronBooked at 61mins
- 26WollscheidBooked at 51mins
- 3PietersSubstituted forMuniesaat 45'minutes
- 15N'ZonziSubstituted forSidwellat 45'minutes
- 27BojanSubstituted forIrelandat 73'minutes
- 25CrouchBooked at 63mins
- Jonathan Moss
- Shots on Target
Second Half ends, Arsenal 3, Stoke City 0.
Attempt saved. Stephen Ireland (Stoke City) right footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the bottom right corner. Assisted by Marko Arnautovic.
Attempt missed. Mesut Özil (Arsenal) right footed shot from the right side of the box is high and wide to the right. Assisted by Santiago Cazorla with a through ball.
Foul by Mesut Özil (Arsenal).
Jonathan Walters (Stoke City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Santiago Cazorla (Arsenal) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Foul by Steve Sidwell (Stoke City).
Offside, Arsenal. Santiago Cazorla tries a through ball, but Mesut Özil is caught offside.
Francis Coquelin (Arsenal) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Peter Crouch (Stoke City).
Attempt missed. Theo Walcott (Arsenal) right footed shot from outside the box misses to the left. Assisted by Alexis Sánchez with a through ball following a fast break.
Foul by Mesut Özil (Arsenal).
Marc Muniesa (Stoke City) wins a free kick on the left wing.
Offside, Stoke City. Peter Crouch tries a through ball, but Geoff Cameron is caught offside.
Attempt missed. Alexis Sánchez (Arsenal) right footed shot from outside the box is too high.
Substitution, Arsenal. Mesut Özil replaces Olivier Giroud.
Substitution, Stoke City. Stephen Ireland replaces Bojan.
Substitution, Arsenal. Theo Walcott replaces Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.
Santiago Cazorla (Arsenal) hits the bar with a right footed shot from a difficult angle on the right. Assisted by Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain with a through ball.