Arsenal 3-1 Stoke City: Gunners fire back to go top of Premier League

An impressive 3-1 win for the Arsenal against Stoke City led them to first place ahead of Chelsea's match against West Brom on Sunday lunchtime.

Quick start

The game started at a frantic pace with both sides going close to breaking the deadlock. Marc Muniesa struck a beautiful, looping volley in the opening minutes that went close.

Arsenal's much improved pressing game opened an opportunity for Alexis Sanchez who shot from an awkward angle on the right hand of the box but skewed wide in a chance not too different to one he tucked away against West Ham last weekend. Directly after this; Stoke has a great opportunity of their own with Marko Arnautovic causing the Arsenal backline some issues before cutting the ball back to Xherdan Shaqiri who hesistated to pull the trigger before being crowded out.

Arsenal's pressing continued to trouble the visitors as Theo Walcott charged down the Stoke skipper, Charlie Adam, on the ten minute mark. The pacy wideman continued to pose a threat as he was slipped through by Shkrodan Mustafi in the inner right channel but his low drive was saved by Lee Grant.

The Gunners kept the ball very well playing some very neat football in the first 20 minutes and showed some creative set-pieces which weren't quite able to help the Gunners score.

The game's next clear chance landed at the feet of a Stoke player however with Joe Allen firing high and wide after another cut-back from Arnautovic. Just on the edge of the area; the Welshman was slightly off balance as he tried to fire the Potters ahead on the 24th minute.

Moments later Mustafi hobbled off with a reported hamstring injury to be replaced by the returning Hector Bellerin. The Spaiard had been out for several weeks and his introducton forced a reshuffle at the back. Gabriel returned to his favoured central position while Bellerin stayed out wide right.

An excellent bit of play from Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez was halted only by the offside flag just before the half-hour mark. The German playmaker dummied the ball leaving it for Sanchez whose return ball was a fraction too late to keep the move onside.

Stoke ahead through penalty

Bombing down to the other end of the pitch; Stoke earned themselves a penalty when Granit Xhaka's elbow collided with the aforementioned Allen just inside the area. Arsene Wenger was fuming on the touchline and clearly wasn't happy with the decision but nontheless: Charlie Adam stepped up to tuck the ball away from 12 yards on his 31st birthday.

Stoke, after gaining a foothold in the game, began to look the better side and they kept the ball neatly. Arnautovic showed an immense feat of skill as he killed two Arsenal defenders from play before seeing his effort blocked by Nacho Monreal on 40 minutes.

Gunners romp back to victory

This block proved vital for Arsenal who put the ball in the back of Grant's net just two minutes later. Sanchez played a wonderful cross field pass to the returning Bellerin who seen his drilled cross expertly flicked in at the near post by Theo Walcott. The forward has now hit ten goals this season so he will be receiving a coffee maker from his significant other after his now seemingly infamous comments.

In first half stoppage time Arsenal again found some joy on the right with Bellerin again whipping in a low cross - this time to Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. The ball was at his feet in a flash and he fired over first time.

Making up for his miss, Chamberlain showed a real touch of class with a breathtaking lofted ball to Ozil four minutes into the second half. Time seemed to stand still as the World Cup winner headed over a stranded keeper and into the back of the net for 2-1.

Arsenal continued to be the better side after taking the lead and Chamberlain was a key part in that. The Englishman took real confidence from his assist and began to run at his man more and be a bit more adventurous with his play.

Charlie Adam played a wonderful ball into Mame Biram Diouf to give Arsenal a fright but the Senegalese international was closed down by Gabriel. Five minutes later and the forward completely mistimed his header and seen a great chance go begging as the ball bounced harmlessly wide.

Upon winning a corner in the 72nd minute: Mark Hughes was prompted to bring on Peter Crouch. The 6'7 striker towered above both Bellerin and Laurent Koscielny but seen his header magnificently stopped by Petr Cech.

Substitute Alex Iwobi then wrapped up the three points with his second goal in two games with a brilliant finish. It came after Sanchez was hacked down on the edge of the box but Iwobi took over for the advantage. The way the Nigerian opened up his body and passed the ball into the far corner was very Henry-esque.

Theo Walcott almost made it four after a remarkable run through the Stoke team. He slalomed through the defence like they weren't there and again Grant was able to deny his low effort.

Olivier Giroud almost had a chance to get a goal after coming on but the Bellerin cross was just mere inches behind him in stoppage time.

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