Premier League
ArsenalArsenal2StokeStoke City0

Arsenal 2-0 Stoke City

By Gary RoseBBC Sport
Theo Walcott
Theo Walcott's goal was Arsenal's first at home this season

Arsenal recorded their first home win of the season as goals from Theo Walcott and Olivier Giroud beat Stoke.

Walcott opened the scoring in the first half when he chased a long ball over the defence from Mesut Ozil before firing low beyond Jack Butland.

Substitute Giroud sealed victory late on with a header.

Stoke, who have not won at Arsenal since 1981, rarely looked like scoring, Joselu going closest with a shot at Petr Cech.

Arsenal are third in the Premier League but defeat for Stoke - their second of the season - means they are bottom after five games.

Reaction to this match and the rest of Saturday's action

Read how Arsenal beat Stoke

Firepower found?

Theo Walcott

Arsenal's attacking strength, or perhaps lack of, has come under scrutiny during the early stages of the season, with Arsene Wenger's side having managed just three goals in their four league games prior to the visit of Stoke.

It has been at Emirates Stadium in particular where they have struggled, failing to score in a 2-0 defeat by West Ham and a goalless draw with Liverpool.

Arsene Wenger praises 'outstanding' Gunners

Wenger is keeping his faith in Walcott and Giroud to score the goals this season but, despite both netting, there were still some areas of concern as the pair spurned good opportunities to seal a victory by a bigger margin.

Walcott shot wide early on when he should have scored, and later directed a weak effort straight at Butland. Giroud, meanwhile, missed a near open goal before heading in the decisive second.

In the end, Arsenal had 29 shots on goal, 12 of those on target, and their general wastefulness in the final third could be of greater concern against more attack-minded sides.

'I still have doubts over Walcott up front'

Former England midfielder Jermaine Jenas on Final Score: "It was a good finish from Theo Walcott for the goal but I still have doubts about him playing as a striker.

"He missed two big opportunities before that. For one of them, from six yards out he couldn't get his feet right and smashed the ball over the bar.

"I just think he'd get just as many goals as he does playing on the right wing."

Average positions
Stoke (right) struggled to make it into Arsenal territory enough to threaten, as shown by this average position graphic. Arsenal (left) dominated and were able to get bodies forward more frequently

Stoke struggling to adapt?

Stoke, who finished ninth last season, had not won at Arsenal in 34 years, making Emirates Stadium a far from ideal venue for them to try to record their first win of the season.

Stoke were too passive - Mark Hughes

Having developed a reputation for being a physical side in previous years, Mark Hughes is trying to re-invent the Potters and brought in technically gifted players such as Xherdan Shaqiri and Ibrahim Afellay in the summer.

Afellay was suspended for Saturday's game but Shaqiri had little opportunity to show what he is capable of, with Stoke rarely venturing out of their own half.

The Potters have yet to get going this season, having now lost three and drawn two of their five games so far, and a more direct approach might be necessary to start getting the wins they need.

Man of the match - Jack Butland

Jack Butland
Jack Butland made 10 saves to frustrate Arsenal for large periods of the match

What the managers said

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger: "In the first half our movement was outstanding and we created a lot. In the second half our pace dropped maybe a little bit in our passing, but we continuously created chances and overall it was a strong performance.

"My only regret is that there is too big a difference between the number of chances we made and the number of goals we scored but that will come."

Stoke manager Mark Hughes: "We wanted to make it difficult for Arsenal and get good numbers of bodies around the ball and try to condense play because we know they are very good in wide areas where they look to overload you and look for one-twos around your box.

"Unfortunately our defensive play was a bit too passive in terms of getting out to affect what Arsenal were trying to do, especially in the first half."

The stats you need to know

  • Theo Walcott scored for a ninth successive Premier League season.
  • Olivier Giroud scored only his second goal in his last 12 Premier League appearances.
  • Mesut Ozil has created 76 goalscoring chances in the Premier League in 2015, more than any other player.
  • Stoke's total of two points from five games is their worst ever start in the Premier League.

Who's up next?

Arsenal's attention switches to the Champions League as they travel to Croatia to play Dinamo Zagreb on Wednesday. Stoke, meanwhile, host Leicester in the Premier League next Saturday.

Line-ups

Arsenal

Formation 4-2-3-1

  • 33Cech
  • 24Bellerín
  • 5Gabriel
  • 6Koscielny
  • 18Monreal
  • 19Cazorla
  • 34Coquelin
  • 16Ramsey
  • 11ÖzilBooked at 38minsSubstituted forOxlade-Chamberlainat 84'minutes
  • 17SánchezSubstituted forArtetaat 84'minutes
  • 14WalcottSubstituted forGiroudat 75'minutes

Substitutes

  • 2Debuchy
  • 3Gibbs
  • 8Arteta
  • 12Giroud
  • 13Ospina
  • 15Oxlade-Chamberlain
  • 28Campbell

Stoke

Formation 4-2-3-1

  • 1Butland
  • 2BardsleyBooked at 81mins
  • 20Cameron
  • 5Muniesa
  • 3Pieters
  • 15Van Ginkel
  • 6Whelan
  • 22Shaqiri
  • 18DioufSubstituted forBojanat 75'minutes
  • 10Arnautovic
  • 11JoseluSubstituted forIrelandat 57'minutes

Substitutes

  • 7Ireland
  • 12Wilson
  • 21Sidwell
  • 24Given
  • 25Crouch
  • 26Wollscheid
  • 27Bojan
Referee:
Jonathan Moss
Attendance:
59,963

Match Stats

Home TeamArsenalAway TeamStoke
Possession
Home68%
Away32%
Shots
Home29
Away8
Shots on Target
Home12
Away3
Corners
Home13
Away1
Fouls
Home6
Away13

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Arsenal 2, Stoke City 0.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, Arsenal 2, Stoke City 0.

  3. Post update

    Corner, Stoke City. Conceded by Mikel Arteta.

  4. Post update

    Foul by Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (Arsenal).

  5. Post update

    Marco Van Ginkel (Stoke City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  6. Post update

    Corner, Arsenal. Conceded by Jack Butland.

  7. Post update

    Attempt saved. Laurent Koscielny (Arsenal) header from the centre of the box is saved in the bottom right corner. Assisted by Santiago Cazorla with a cross.

  8. Post update

    Santiago Cazorla (Arsenal) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

  9. Post update

    Foul by Erik Pieters (Stoke City).

  10. Post update

    Attempt missed. Bojan (Stoke City) right footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the left. Assisted by Marko Arnautovic.

  11. Goal!

    Goal! Arsenal 2, Stoke City 0. Olivier Giroud (Arsenal) header from the centre of the box to the bottom left corner. Assisted by Santiago Cazorla with a cross following a set piece situation.

  12. Post update

    Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (Arsenal) wins a free kick on the left wing.

  13. Post update

    Foul by Phil Bardsley (Stoke City).

  14. Substitution

    Substitution, Arsenal. Mikel Arteta replaces Alexis Sánchez.

  15. Substitution

    Substitution, Arsenal. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain replaces Mesut Özil.

  16. Post update

    Offside, Arsenal. Laurent Koscielny tries a through ball, but Mesut Özil is caught offside.

  17. Post update

    Foul by Nacho Monreal (Arsenal).

  18. Post update

    Xherdan Shaqiri (Stoke City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  19. Booking

    Phil Bardsley (Stoke City) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

  20. Post update

    Alexis Sánchez (Arsenal) wins a free kick in the defensive half.