It was a tough afternoon at The Emirates this afternoon, as Stoke saw their early lead slip away against Arsenal in a 3-1 loss.
Charlie Adam gave Stoke the lead from the spot in the first half, after Joe Allen was elbowed by Xhaka.
Theo Walcott equalised before the break, and goals from Özil and Iwobi sealed the win for Arsenal.
Despite the result, today saw the debut (or deployment) of bright youngster Julian N’Goy, who came on in the dying minutes.
Before the game, Mark Hughes fielded an interesting line-up, with Joe Allen coming in for an injured Jon Walters, with Arnautovic being trusted at CF. We continued with the 3 back defence which had served us well in our last two games against Watford and Burnley.
For the first five minutes, Stoke arguably looked the better side. Marc Muniesa almost got his second goal in successive games, as his volley from range was just tipped over by Cech.
Joe Allen could have got back on the scoring trail, after he was given the ball from Arnautovic, but his effort was wild and would go wide.
In the 29th minute, Stoke would unexpectedly make the breakthrough. Allen was elbowed inside the box by Granit Xhaka, and rightly was awarded a penalty. The Arsenal midfielder, however, was not carded.
Charlie Adam stepped up for the penalty, and fired the ball into the bottom right corner.
Just before half time, Arsenal were level, with Walcott getting the goal. Sanchez spun his man and picked out Bellerin who was free down the right, he’d cut the ball across to Walcott who tapped in from close range.
Questionable defending from Stoke, as Erik Pieters lost his man in Bellerin, giving him enough time to play the into the box for the goal.
The timing wasn’t great for The Potters, as we would have liked to have gone into half time with the lead, but overall it was a positive half of football.
But just four minutes into the second half and Arsenal were in the lead. A great lifted ball from Oxlade-Chamberlain picked out Özil who was completely open in front of goal, and he lobbed his header over a helpless Lee Grant.
A brillaint goal from the home side, but again the defending from our players was questionable. How Özil was given the time to do what he did was not good enough. After this goal, we’d revert to a more familiar 4 at the back formation, but unfortunately that did not solve our problems.
The change of formation meant Mame Diouf moved from right wing back to striker, and almost made an instant impact. Charlie Adam crossed the ball into the box, picking out Diouf who was unmarked in the box, but his header was a poor one, going way wide of the post. A massive chance to equalise missed, something that at this level cannot happen.
Diouf would later be replaced by Peter Crouch, who immediately made an impact. From a corner, the big man got his head to the ball at the far post, and saw his header towards the bottom corner saved by Cech.
Stoke were punished for missing these chances, as Iwobi would make it 3-1 for Arsenal in the 75th minute. Martins Indi initially brought down Alexis Sanchez, but Iwobi would pick the ball up and make full use of the referees advantage, running into the box before slotting the ball past Grant to seal the victory.
That would be it at The Emirates. A valiant effort from Stoke, who at the end of the day were outclassed by a very good team in Arsenal (that was hard to admit). A very good first half couldn’t be picked up in the second, but we shouldn’t be too disheartened by the result.
Final Score: Arsenal 3-1 Stoke City
Goalscorers: Adam (29′ pen)
Walcott (42′), Özil (50′), Iwobi (75′)