Arsenal beat Stoke to move up to second


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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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