Live Commentary: Arsenal 1-0 Stoke City - as it happened

The Emirates Stadium
© PA Photos
Sports Mole brings you live text coverage of Arsenal vs. Stoke City.

Arsenal played host to Stoke City in the Premier League this afternoon looking to get their Champions League qualification campaign back on track.

The Gunners dominated the first half but were continuously denied by the visitor's in-form goalkeeper Asmir Begovic.

Arsene Wenger's side got the breakthrough they deserved in the second half when substitute Lukas Podolski's free kick was deflected in by Geoff Cameron.

Find out how all the action unfolded with our minute-by-minute commentary below.


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2.10pmGood afternoon and welcome to our live text coverage of the Premier League showdown between Arsenal and Stoke City. There's 50 minutes or so to go until kickoff, but we will provide you with team news, manager quotes and more before then.

2.12pmBoth of these teams are hoping to pick up three points for entirely different reasons. Arsenal go into the game four points outside of the Champions League places and are looking to gain ground on city rivals Tottenham Hotspur.

2.12pmBoth of these teams are hoping to pick up three points for entirely different reasons. Arsenal go into the game four points outside of the Champions League places and are looking to gain ground on city rivals Tottenham Hotspur.

2.14pmStoke, on the other hand, sit firmly in mid-table but Sunderland, Norwich, Fulham and West Ham are all breathing down their necks. Just three points separates all of those sides, and Tony Pulis's team could potentially drop four places if they lose here today.

2.16pmNeither side is in particularly good form. The Gunners have won just once in their last five attempts and were lucky to come away with a point in that 2-2 draw with Liverpool. Stoke's record is much the same, with them being held to a 2-2 draw with struggling Wigan in midweek.

2.18pmBoth managers were busy on transfer deadline day. Arsene Wenger brought in left-back Nacho Monreal, who could be in line for a start today with Kieran Gibbs out injured. Stoke's deadline-day signings Brek Shea and Jack Butland will not be featuring. The former is recovering from knee surgery and the latter has been loaned back to Birmingham City.

2.22pmTeam news on the way...

2.26pmARSENAL: Szczesny, Sagna, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Monreal, Diaby, Arteta, Wilshere, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Walcott, Giroud

2.28pmSUBS: Mannone, Jenkinson, Santos, Ramsey, Rosicky, Cazorla, Podolski

2.30pmSTOKE: Begovic; Shotton, Shawcross, Huth, Wilkinson; Walters, Cameron, Nzonzi, Whelan, Etherington; Crouch

2.32pmSUBS: Sorensen, Jones, Owen, Adam, Whitehead, Kightly, Jerome

2.34pmSo, Arsenal's new boy Monreal will make his debut at left-back and Mikel Arteta returns from a calf problem. Looks like Thomas Vermaelen has been passed unfit for them.

2.36pmJust the two changes for Pulis, with Ryan Shotton and Andy Wilkinson coming in for Charlie Adam and Glenn Whelan. Peter Crouch spearheads their attack, while veteran striker Michael Owen takes up a place on the bench.

2.38pmHere's what both managers had to say ahead of the game...

2.40pmArsene Wenger: "Stoke are a team that are usually well-organised and difficult to beat. You expect always a fierce resistance from Stoke and most of the time you are never disappointed. They have gone for more technical quality these days, they have brought Charlie Adam and Steven Nzonzi who are technically good players in midfield. That means they have more variety in their game and they have shown that many times this season. And, of course, you know they can compete with anybody."

2.45pmApologies, Pulis does not appear to have offered any pre-match comments ahead of this game. Maybe he wants his team to do the talking out there on the pitch.

2.49pmRight, it's prediction time. With neither team in good form I think a draw is on the cards today, perhaps 1-1, but if any team is going to edge it I'd say it will be Arsenal thanks to that home advantage.

2.53pmArsenal have been leaking goals of late, but Stoke don't have a great record against them. You have to go back as far as 1981 to find the last time the Potters defeated the Gunners away from home.

2.56pmJust minutes away from kickoff now. The players are out there on the pitch and the crowd at the Emirates are in fine voice, despite not having much to sing about in recent games.

0 minWe are under way here at the Emirates.

3 minArsenal have their first sniff at goal as Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain find space from 20 yards out and lets fly, his effort sailing over the crossbar. He should have done better with the time and space the Stoke defence gave him.

5 minArsenal go on the attack again as Arteta and Walcott exchange passes before the England forward plays a cross into the box, but there are no red shirts on hand to take advantage of it.

6 minOxlade-Chamberlain wins the first corner of the game after being forced off the ball. Jack Wilshere takes the corner and Geoff Cameron knocks it behind. Wilshere's second corner in quick succession is cleared by Glenn Whelan.

8 minStoke are struggling to get out of their own half at the moment. Shawcross tries to play a long ball into the final third before Whelan attempts to beat the Arsenal defence with a through-ball.

15 minWenger looks nervous there on the touchline. He knows how vulnerable his side have been of late, but Stoke haven't given him too much to worry about so far.

17 minSHOT! Stoke claim the first attack of any note. Shawcross played in a long ball to Crouch, who took it on his chest and unleashed a half-volley from the edge of the area. Szczesny tips it behind for a corner.

20 minStrong defending from Wilkinson who out-muscles Koscielny and keeps him off the ball at the expense of a throw in. I think the Frenchman would have carved out a chance there had he not kept him at bay.

25 minKoscielny bursts into the Stoke half unchallenged, but the Arsenal pressure fizzles out. Walcott has a forgettable effort blocked moments later. For all of the Gunners' possession, Begovic has not had a save to make.

31 minWalcott, who has been Arsenal's greatest threat so far, outpaces Wilkinson along the right, but his cross poses no problems for the Stoke rear guard.

32 minCHANCE! The best chance of the game goes begging as Oxlade-Chamberlain is denied from point-blank range! Wilshere's corner falls invitingly for the England man, who is kept out only by a majestic reflex stop from Begovic!

35 minCHANCE! More golden opportunities for the Gunners to take the lead! First an unmarked Giroud heads across the face of goal when he should have gone for glory himself, then Begovic produces another top-drawer save to keep out a back header from Koscielny.

38 minWe are in the midst of a real purple patch for Arsenal. It's the Stoke goalkeeper Begovic who has kept them in this one for the last 10 minutes or so.

40 minCHANCE! Oxlade-Chamberlain comes painfully close after latching onto Wilshere's inch-perfect pass. He unleashes a powerful strike from a tight angle, which an outstretching Begovic tips around the post.

42 minWhat a half Begovic has had! He's produced a string of brilliant saves to keep his side afloat. That last stop was an impressive one-handed feat to his right.

44 minMonreal and Walters both go for the same ball and clash heads in the air. The Stoke man comes off far worse and ends up with blood seeping from his head. He is currently receiving treatment on the pitch. Monreal looks unfazed.

45 minTwo minutes of stoppage time to be played, to make up for Walters's treatment time no doubt. He is on his feet once again with his head wrapped in bandages.

45+2 minHALF-TIME: Arsenal 0-0 Stoke City

3.50pmArsenal should really be in front at the break. They've had the better of the possession and more shots on goal. Stoke have Begovic to thank for keep the scoreline at 0-0 and will have been glad to hear that half-time whistle.

3.52pmThe Bosnian shot-stopper produced three wonderful saves to keep out Oxlade-Chamberlain twice as well as that Koscielny header. While a draw would be a good result for Stoke, you have to wonder how much more of this pressure they are going to be able to withstand.

3.56pmThe Gunners have looked dangerous through the likes of Walcott and Oxlade-Chamberlain - plus Wilshere's passing has been first-rate - but they haven't been completely convincing. Wenger's men need to get the ball forward more quickly and start taking their chances.

4pmBoth managers have options on the subs bench. Podolski could be the man to make an impact for the hosts, while Jones or even Owen could give Stoke some teeth in the second period.

49 minArsenal start the second half as they ended the first. Monreal's cross is deflected behind for a corner which Walcott takes, but the safe hands of Begovic make the catch.

53 minMonreal goes on a great run and sails in a cross from the byline. It comes to nothing as there were no red shirts in the box, but the Spanish international did well there.

56 minCHANCE! Wilshere cuts the ball across goal and finds Giroud, only for the Frenchman to blaze his effort over the crossbar.

57 minStoke need to make a change as Crouch looks completely isolated up front on his own. Both Shotton and Walters have just tried, and failed, to find him with crosses.

59 minOxlade-Chamberlain tries to find Wilshere in the danger area, but puts too much on the pass. Wilkinson deals with an Arteta cross at the far post moments later, beating Walcott to the ball.

65 minWalcott tumbles in the area following an off-the-ball incident with Wilkinson. There didn't look to be too much in that, but the Arsenal man is on the deck in some discomfort.

68 minsSUBSTITUTIONS: Arsenal make a double change, taking off Diaby and Oxlade-Chamberlain for Podolski and Cazorla. Wenger is no doubt looking to add some urgency to his side's attack in a bid to break down this tenacious Stoke side.

70 minBOOKING! Greg Whelan is the fist player to go into the book for a clear push during an Arsenal counter-attack.

72 minCazorla's first contribution is to play in an inviting cross from wide on the right for Giroud to get his head to, but it drifts over the bar and fails to trouble Begovic.

74 minArsenal's frustration is really starting to show now as Monreal blasts one into the stand from 25 yards. The crowd are beginning to get on the players' backs too. The Gunners should have killed this off with the possession they have had.

76 minBOOKING! Wilkinson is booked for bringing down Walcott right in the edge of the area. Podolski steps up to take it...

77 minGOAL! Arsenal 1-0 Stoke City (Podolski)

79 minArsenal are finally in front through Podolski's deflected free kick, which cannons into the net off Cameron, but there is controversy afoot! The linesman was flagging for what must have been an offside but the referee overrules him.

80 minI think the ref made the correct call there. The ball went in off Cameron direct from the set piece, so none of the Arsenal men were interfering with play.

80 minCHANCE! Cazorla comes agonisingly close to killing the game off. He takes on the entire Stoke defence but somehow misses the target from close range. The replay actually shows that Begovic got a fingertip to it. That was some save!

84 minSUBSTITUTIONS: How's this for a last throw of the dice by Stoke? It's a triple substitution - Crouch, Walters and Cameron make way for Jones, Jerome and Michael Owen. A dramatic change of shape that sees them finish the game with three strikers!

88 minBOOKING! Shawcross goes in hard on Giroud as both players attempt to latch onto the loose ball. The Stoke man went into that challenge studs-first and could have done some serious damage. A yellow card is the least he deserves.

90 minFour minutes of stoppage time to be played. Arsenal bring on Ramsey for Walcott as they attempt to see the game out.

92 minTempers are boiling over now. Arteta puts in a heavy, and fair, challenge on Owen and the former England international reacts angrily. Several other player become involved in a minor scuffle but the ref brings things under control without producing any cards.

90+4 minFULL-TIME: Arsenal 1-0 Stoke City

4.54pmThere goes the full-time whistle and Arsenal come away worthy winners. Stoke were tenacious at the back for much of the game, but a free kick from Lukas Podolskic changed everything!

5.00pmThat's all from me here today. Many thanks for joining us! You can read our full match report here.

Arsene Wenger on the touchline during Arsenal's 2-2 draw with Swansea on January 6, 2013
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