© PA Photos
The visitors had the first shot of note in a quiet opening period to the half. Ryan Shawcross's long ball forward was controlled by Peter Crouch, who then unleashed a half-volley that needed to be turned wide by Wojciech Szczesny.
The Gunners should have taken the lead just after the half-hour mark when Jack Wilshere's corner fell invitingly for Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, but the England international was denied from point-blank range by a fine Begovic save.
Just three minutes later the hosts missed another two chances as Olivier Giroud opted to head across goal when he should have perhaps gone for goal himself, before Begovic pulled off another good save to deny Laurent Koscielny.
The Stoke keeper came to his side's rescue again just before the break as he was at full stretch to tip Oxlade-Chamberlain's shot around the post.