Arsenal on top of Premier League again despite Stoke stalemate

Sport360 staff 23:06 17/01/2016
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Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain takes on Philipp Wollscheid at the Britannia Stadium.

A point was enough to take Arsene Wenger’s side clear of Leicester City on goal difference but it was another afternoon of frustration in the Potteries for the veteran French manager.

His side have now failed to win at Stoke’s home ground in six attempts – a sequence that dates back to a 3-1 success in February 2010.

Arsenal could not silence the home crowd as Stoke held their own, with both Potters goalkeeper Jack Butland and Arsenal counterpart Petr Cech in good form.

After a scrappy opening littered with fouls and poor passes, it was Stoke who carved out the first chance through Marko Arnautovic.

The Austrian wandered in off the left flank to collect possession in a central area 30 yards from goal, but his ambitious effort flew high into the Arsenal fans behind Cech’s goal.

The game finally came to a semblance of life in the 20th minute when Glen Johnson and Jonathan Walters found space on the Stoke right to pick out Joselu on the edge of the area.

His deft flick teed up Ibrahim Afellay, whose long-range effort flew a yard wide of the target.

Arsenal immediately broke and created an opening of their own thanks to a fine pass by Joel Campbell and an equally clever run by Olivier Giroud.

The Frenchman found himself one on one with Butland but the England international spread himself well to make an important stop.

Then Stoke were denied as the tempo of the game was raised a notch.

Arnautovic advanced and fed Joselu, whose shot was clawed away superbly by Cech.

The former Chelsea star then reacted well to scramble Bojan’s follow-up around the post.

Arsenal needed Cech again in the 66th minute as he turned a shot from Joselu around the post.

The game became scrappy once more but it was Arsenal who made most of the running in the closing stages and Campbell tried his luck from a tight angle with five minutes remaining.

But his effort flew well wide to sum up an error-strewn contest.

And in the dying moments Stoke had further chances when Ramsey cleared off the line in a goalmouth scramble before Cech blocked a follow-up from Joselu.

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