English Premiership

Arsenal come from behind to see off Stoke

2016-12-10 19:24
Mesut Ozil (Getty)

London - Arsenal came from behind with an impressive second-half display to defeat Stoke City 3-1 at the Emirates Stadium on Saturday.

Charlie Adam buried an early penalty after Joe Allen was fouled by Granit Xhaka.

Theo Walcott netted an equaliser at the end of the first half, though, before Mesut Ozil gave the Gunners a 49th-minute lead.

And second-half substitute Alex Iwobi made sure of all three points with his well taken strike in the 75th minute of the tie.

It was a relatively open and end-to-end start to this match before Arsenal started to take possession of the ball.

And while Alexis Sanchez had an early sighter that he fired wide of the target, Petr Cech had to be alert to tip over a well-struck volley from Marc Muniesa in the opening minutes.

Lee Grant then made an excellent low save from Walcott from a tight angle after an inch-perfect through-ball in behind the Stoke defence from Shkodran Mustafi.

Xherdan Shaqiri had moments earlier wasted an opportunity to hit a first time shot before being crowded after a good cut back from Marko Arnautovic following Giannelli Imbula's burst down the right flank.

Xhaka saw a 13th minute header, at the back post from a wide Walcott free-kick, deflect out of play before Erik Pieters made a vital tackle on Gabriel after a swift break forward by Arsenal.

Joe Allen then should have done better with a first-time strike after picking up an Arnautovic pass inside the box, but he fired just wide of the target.

But Charlie Adam made no mistake from the penalty spot as he powered his shit into the bottom-right corner of the net, after Xhaka had dragged Allen to the ground inside the box.

Mame Biram Diouf then made a vital interception on the edge of the small box with Ozil lying in wait as early substitute Hector Bellerin fired a low cross into the box.

Arsenal continued to pepper the Stoke box from free-kicks and corners, and after an excellent tackle by Nacho Monreal to stop Arnautovic from waving through the Arsenal defence, they levelled from open play with 42 minutes played.

Walcott directed a powerful cross from Bellerin from the right, in at the near post past a despairing Grant.

And with the half winding down, both Sanchez and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain had opportunities to extend their lead with shots  that they failed to keep on target.

Bellerin's introduction had given Arsenal an extra edge in the first half, and he picked up where he left off at the start of the second with a shot that ultimately cleared the crossbar.

However, it took just four minutes after the break for Arsenal to take the lead as Ozil looped a header over the advancing Grant from a floated ball from Oxlade-Chamberlain into the penalty area.

Oxlade-Chamberlain headed over a Walcott cross from the right-wing wide as Diouf tested Cech with a low shot following a super Allen ball - before being pulled back for offsides.

But Arsenal were growing from strength to strength as Xhaka fired wide from distance ahead of a good save from Grant from another dangerous Oxlade-Chamberlain effort.

Moments later, Muniesa deflected a Sanchez shot into the arms of Granta after a dinked pass from Ozil as Arnautovic blasted well over after a good spell of possession from the Potters.

Diouf failed to direct a strong header on target as Adam swung in a good delivery before being replaced by Peter Crouch, who almost made an immediate impact with a downwards header that Cech did well to keep out.

But Alex Iwobi, who had only been on the field for five minutes, fired home an excellent left-footed shot in the 75th minute after reacting quickly to the loose ball after Bruno Martins Indi had dispossessed Sanchez.

Walcott forced a good one-handed save from Grant after weaving his way through the Stoke defence as Crouch failed to connect to a good Shaqiri ball at the back post as the visitors tried to claw their way back into this game.

Arnautovic and Allen looked to effect the outcome from a couple of late set-pieces before Arsenal saw out a relatively comfortable victory.

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Saturday, 20 January 2018
Brighton & Hove Albion v Chelsea, The American Express Community Stadium 14:30
Stoke City v Huddersfield Town, Bet365 Stadium 17:00
Arsenal v Crystal Palace, Emirates Stadium 17:00
Everton v West Bromwich Albion, Goodison Park 17:00
Leicester City v Watford, King Power Stadium 17:00
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