Arsenal 2-0 Stoke City: Theo Walcott and Olivier Giroud score in victory
Last Updated: 12/09/15 6:07pm
Goals from Theo Walcott and Oliver Giroud sent Arsenal to their first home win of the season as Stoke were humbled 2-0.
Arsene Wenger faced heavy criticism after failing to add a striker in the transfer window but both his forwards found the net in a very one-sided contest.
Walcott, starting up front instead of Giroud, opened the scoring on 30 minutes after Alexis Sanchez had hit the post twice in the early stages, making it 11 goals in his last 11 Premier League starts.
Stoke goalkeeper Jack Butland continued to deny the hosts with a string of wonderful saves but the second goal came with five minutes remaining when substitute Giroud flicked home a header from close range.
The result means Stoke remain without a win this season and drop to the bottom of the table on goals scored.
Walcott got the nod up front as Wenger sent his side out with a clear message to start fast as they chased their first goals of the season at home.
They should have been 4-0 up in the first eight minutes but Butland was in no mood to be beaten.
The Stoke 'keeper tipped an Sanchez effort onto the post with five minutes gone before the same player smacked the same post from 15 yards three minutes later. Walcott then missed a presentable chance from seven yards after a Hector Bellerin cross before Butland again flew across his goal to claw away an Sanchez free-kick.
It was one-way traffic towards the Stoke goal as Laurent Koscielny tested Butland with a 30 yard drive and Santi Cazorla was denied from close range by the brilliant shot stopper.
However the resistance was finally broken on the half-hour mark.
Francis Coquelin won back possession in his own half with a thumping tackle, fed the ball to Mesut Ozil, who sent Walcott through on goal with a brilliant clip over the top. The England forward steadied himself and tucked the ball under Butland and into the net.
The pace of the game steadied in the second period as Arsenal started to feel the pressure of not taking advantage of their domination. However, Stoke rarely looked capable of testing Petr Cech on his 500th appearance in English football.
Ozil should have doubled the lead on 69 minutes but Butland was sharp at his near post to keep out the midfielder from close range.
Giroud replaced Walcott with 17 minutes left and should have scored with his first touch but he skewed an effort wide from eight yards after some awful defending by Glenn Whelan.
Some groans started to echo around the Emirates following that miss but Giroud came good with five minutes remaining, flicking home a Carzorla free-kick from the left flank past Butland, who was the only Stoke player that didn't deserve to be on the losing side.
Soccer Saturday Verdict - Matt Le Tissier
They would have been kicking themselves they weren't three goals ahead in that first half. It really was men against boys. Before Theo Walcott scored, they had six good chances to score a goal.
Jack Butland was outstanding in that first period, made three or four good saves. It really was one way traffic - Stoke were properly battered.
Arsenal dominated the game, and while it was still 1-0 you were worried Arsenal missed that many chances. Until Olivier Giroud came on and scored the second goal it was still a bit edgy for Arsenal.
Stoke are having to rely so heavily on their goalkeeper at the moment, and when your goalkeeper is your player of the season so far it is a big worry for everyone concerned.
Arsenal: Cech (7) Bellerin (8), Gabriel (7), Koscielny (7), Monreal (7), Coquelin (7), Cazorla (7), Ramsey (6), Ozil (7), Sanchez (7), Walcott (7).
Subs: Arteta (6), Oxlade Chamberlin (6), Giroud (7).
Stoke: Butland (8), Bardsley (6), Cameron (7), Muniesa (6), Pieters (6); Whelan (5), van Ginkel (5), Diouf (5), Shaqiri (5), Arnautovic (5), Joselu (5)
Subs: Ireland (6), Bojan (6)
Man of the match: Jack Butland