COMMENTARY KEY MOMENTS
STOKE CITY 0 - 0 ARSENAL
WRAP Not the most entertaining of Premier League matches it must be said. Arsenal have failed to hit the net for the second successive match. It's a second goalless draw for the Gunners who looked far from at ease against Stoke's hustle and bustle. The North London club had plenty of opportunities, but most were from distance and in the second half neither side managed a shot on target. A definite early season affair with both clubs lacking a cutting edge in their opponent's half. The next five days until the transfer window shuts could turn pivotal for Arsene Wenger who desperately needs to strengthen his front line. On the other hand, Stoke have shown they are a solid unit which will remain hard to break down for as long as Tony Pulis remains in charge.
15.22 Don't forget to stay tuned on Super Sunday, Bank Holiday special, as Liverpool go head to head with champions Manchester City at Anfield. Let's hope to see a few more goals in that one. Thom Gibbs will be providing you with all the action on that so don't forget to take a tour of Telegraph Sport to tune in to his musings.
93 min FULL TIME - STOKE CITY 0 - 0 ARSENAL
Tony Pulis runs to the dressing room with a smile on his face. A draw certainly the fairest of results with neither side outshining the other. Arsenal lack firepower upfront for sure and they have failed to score in their first two matches for the second season running. Both teams now have two points from two games.
91 min Mikel Arteta is awarded the man of the match. He's done a solid job certainly. So has Per Mertesacker for Arsenal. But I think it should really go to a Stoke defender and I think Ryan Shawcross has led his team from the back, so I'll plump for him.
89 min Yikes, that's close. Olivier Giroud, who scored 25 goals last season for Montpellier, escapes down the left and all he needs to do is play Ramsey in through the middle. But instead he strikes for goal with Begovic just off his line. His shot sails just over the bar but it was dipping late and may have ruffled the top of the net. That would have been sublime.
88 min Arsenal counter and Ramsey fires in a shot for Arsenal. But again it goes wide. The Arsenal fans try to make their presence felt to referee Lee Mason as they count the seconds it takes Begovic to take the goal kick. Their judgement of a second is a bit out though.
86 min A beautifully crafted ball through the middle from Michael Kightly is met by the surging run of Walters only for the frontman to completely mess up his shot and he tries to nudge it past the keeper. It was a big chance at this stage of the game.
84 min Once again though, it comes to nothing. Stoke have defended very well from set pieces, and bar a few nasty fouls, they have defended very well overall.
83 min Mikel Arteta whips in a corner which is headed over by Per Mertesacker. Arsenal have had 11 corners so far, in contrast Stoke have had none at all. Make that 12 now...
81 min A couple of substitutes. Wilson Palacious comes on for Glenn Whelan and Aaron Ramsey replaces Cazorla. His introduction brings a chorus of boos from the crowd. A little unnecessary in my eyes.
80 min It's all the home side at the moment. Arsenal are struggling to get on the ball with the same fluidity they had in the first half. The crowd make an appeal against Jenkinson for a penalty but the ball comes off his chest. He's looked solid today, the young defender.
78 min Stoke perhaps haven't really got their crosses in the right areas so far. Maybe that is why Ryan Shotton is about to come on. But then, it's Peter Crouch who makes way. Maybe a more defensive outlook for Stoke until the end now.
76 min So after 166 minutes of the new season, plus a few for injury time, Arsenal still have not scored or conceded. Both teams are really giving it a go though with Stoke planting four players up the field and Arsenal's pacy wingers finding gaps down the flanks. Anything could happen in the next 15 minutes.
74 min Chance. Diaby turns inside the area but cannot correct his feet well enough to convert as he skews his shot wide.
72 min That was Gervinho's last moment of the match as he is withdrawn for some pace. Theo Walcott comes on for him and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain adds some extra velocity to the other wing by replacing Lukas Podolski. Not the changes Stoke's full-backs were hoping to see.
70 min Arteta's corner finds Giroud in acres of space in the middle. Ok, not acres but you get the picture. He attempts the spectacular but his scissor kick can only bounce over the bar. Begovic then comes smartly off his line to head away a through ball when Gervinho raced through.
68 min Jerome has certainly made his presence felt already for Stoke. He wins a header to play in Wilkinson down the right. His cross is met by Crouch but not even his long legs could direct the ball near the goal. Cazorla then takes another long range effort which is deflected for a corner.
65 min But Arteta's piledriver smacks straight into the wall. Jermaine Pennant is removed by Tony Pulis and Cameron Jerome comes on, to the mistake of the commentator who calls him Kenwyne Jones. Jerome is straight into the action but his shot is another wide one. We've seen a fair few of them today.
63 min Stoke's defenders really need to stop lunging in dangerously. Andy Wilkinson gets booked for a wild, reckless hack at Vermaelan. He got nowhere near the ball and it puts his side under pressure with a free-kick close to the edge of the area...
61 min A couple of decent moments for the keepers. First Begovic gets down well to save a low cross from Lukas Podolski then Mannone races out to claim a hight ball from the head of Walters to deny him a free header.
60 min Walters looks for Crouch but his cross overestimates the height of his fellow striker, by about 16 feet. Arsenal have defended against Crouch well so far, but with tactics like this, it is no wonder. Get on my back son!
58 min The biggest shout of the day from the crowd. Jermaine Pennant tumbles over a Kieran Gibbs challenge in the box but Lee Mason waves it away. No penalty is the word from him. The replays, however, suggest there could well have been contact. You've certainly seen them given.
55 min More throw-in's for Stoke who are enjoying their best prolonged period of pressure. It again comes to nothing though as Crouch is penalised for a shove on Mertesacker.
53 min Michael Kightly attacks down the left and earns another throw-in. Three guesses where this is going? You got it in one. It finds Crouch's head but Cameron's throws don't have that zip Delap's do I'm afraid and it's harmlessly cleared.
50 min Gervinho has already done more in the second half to what he did in the first. He finds space outside the Stoke area after being found by Frenchman Giroud but he can only drag his effort wide. Arsenal have not looked good in front of goal. Does anyone dare mutter the double barrelled Dutch name under their breath?
48 min What has surprised me a little today has been the lack of long balls pumped forward by Stoke. They have much preferred to attack down the wings. Perhaps Tony Pulis doesn't get enough credit for his focus on the wide play. Saying that, Stoke lump a free-kick high into the box and it's cleared.
46 min No substitutions were made at the break so it's the same 22 players who line up for the second 45 minutes. We're already into a similar pattern of play too, Arsenal on the ball trying to thread the perfect pass through the tight knit Stoke defence.
14.29 Ok, I hope you are all refreshed and still managing to stay awake after the Sunday roasts stuffed your stomach. The teams are back out on the pitch and we're in for another tight half I think.
14.22 Damian Durrant has been in touch and he has more tactical troubles than Arsene Wenger at the moment.
I would be watching this on my TV but only my GF --who is asleep out here in California -- understands the six step process to get from DVD to cable. Sort of like the mystery of why, after all the money spent by Arsenal they still end up with Mannone in goal and Jenkinson on defence.
HALF TIME STOKE CITY 0 - 0 ARSENAL
45 min Gervinho in his second meaningful contribution to the game runs down the left and wins his side a corner. This time he managed to stop before running out of play. Cazorla's deep kick is headed out for another corner to the disbelief of the crowd. Nothing comes of the second corner and Lee Mason brings his whistle to his lips and calls for the half time drinks and oranges.
43 min Ryan Shawcross does well to win a goal kick as Olivier Giroud powers through the Stoke defence. His shot ricochets back onto him from the Stoke captain’s block. The home side go straight down the other end and Crouch ploughs a pile-driver into Mertesacker's legs. It's a lively encounter at the moment but certainly lacking a killer instinct.
40 min Five minutes to go before half time and the deadlock is still well and truly unbroken. The game is starting to open up a bit before the break, surely that will suit Arsenal?
38 min Oh Gervinho is playing. I haven't mentioned him so far, mainly because he hasn't done that much. His first real involvement sees him dribble the ball out of play on the right hand side from a promising position.
37 min Another long throw from Cameron, and my word it is a long throw, comes to nothing as Vito Mannone claims it with ease. The young Italian has looked solid between the sticks so far for the Gunners.
34 min Shot of the match so far. Shawcross makes a lunge at Arteta but the ball spoons to Cazorla in space 25 yards away from Begovic. His shot looks destined for the corner but the Stoke number one tips in around the post at full length. Great save.
33 min Lee Mason has clearly been watching the American version of football, and not the English as he blocks Diaby from the ball.
31 min Santi Cazorla has been running the show so far in the Stoke half and Marc Wilson has clearly had enough of it. He chops the Spaniard down and is perhaps lucky to escape a booking. The free-kick is played across to Arsenal's new signing but he drags it wide.
29 min Some excitement from the home fans. Their debutant Michael Kightly cracks a shot from 25 yards after a bustling run down the right by Walters but despite it having great power the effort is straight at Mannone.
27 min Andy Wilkinson has clearly been watching his opposite full-back Gibbs as he makes a forward run. But his cross is tame and straight through to the gloves of Mannone. He's involved again, back in territory he's accomplished with this time, as he nicks the ball with his head away from Lukas Podolski.
25 min I think we have worked out why Arsene Wenger has not seen any controversial incident in the history of the Premier League. He had always forgotten to bring his glasses to the game. Don't despair folks, he's got them on today. There will be no, "I didn't see it" excuse after this match.
23 min All the play is pretty monotonous at the moment. Lots of hustle and bustle from Stoke's midfield and lots of creative passing from the Arsenal midfield.
21 min Arsenal create a chance, again down the left wing. Diaby finds an excellent lay-off for the marauding Kieran Gibbs. But the left-backs cross goes a foot over Giroud in the centre and it's cleared to safety.
19 min Peter Crouch is penalised for a high foot as he went into a tackle. It probably wouldn't have been high on Crouch himself but with studs showing it was a foul. Not sure Tony Pulis agrees though, judging by his sarcastic clapping towards the ref, Lee Mason.
17 min ... and it's Cazorla to take it. His effort is drilled straight into the feet of the wall and his second effort from the rebound flies wide.
16 min The first yellow card is brandished to German Robert Huth. He hauls down Lukas Podolski from a surging run just outside the Stoke box. First chance to see Cazorla or Podolski's free kick taking abilities...
14 min Olivier Giroud gets a bit of space to the left of the Stoke penalty area but his shot is one that is for the Saturday afternoon village playing fields. It flashes wide, and by wide I mean, closer to the corner flag than the goal.
12 min Arsenal have their own offside chance as Podolski heads a pinpoint cross from Cazorla over the bar. Arsenal are seeing lots of the ball but are being harried by the Stoke midfield wherever they go.
11 min Walters goes down off the ball just outside Arsenal's box. I didn't see anything untoward but there's a bit of finger wagging by the Stoke man who clearly feels he was unfairly impeded.
8 min Ooof! That's a stinger. Arsenal go straight down the other end and as Andy Wilkinson slips in the area the ball finds Podolski on his dangerous left foot. His strike smashes into Wilkinson who dives full length to stop it. A few cries of handball, but that would have been very harsh.
6 min The ball is in the net. But Jonathan Walters is in an offside position, only just though, Kightly knocks a ball into the box from the left and Peter Crouch does very well to control his header down to the Irishman. He lashes it past Mannone but rightfully so, the linesman's flag was raised. Marginal call but correct.
4 min Cameron's first involvement is a throw-in down the right wing. And have Stoke found their replacement for Rory Delap? They may well have done. He finds good length on it but Peter Crouch can't direct his header.
2 min The first Arsenal possession of the game ends with Cazorla picking out a ball boy on the side line. This is followed by the first foul of the day, and yes it's by a Stoke player. Andy Wilkinson through the back of Cazorla.
1 min Arsenal get the game underway in their blue kits. Stoke in their famous red and white stripes.
13.28 Some fans in the Stoke end have brought Arsene Wenger face masks. I told you they have a sense of humour. The players are out on the pitch and have shaken hands, Stoke led by captain Ryan Shawcross. Stoke are handing a debut to American Geoff Cameron. I can't say I know too much about him but I'm sure I will in 90 minutes.
13.26 Arsene Wenger has already had his first gripe of the game. He’s come onto the field of play and did not look too happy about the length of the grass at the Britannia. Oh Arsene, what next? Peter Crouch is too tall? Walters has too little hair?
13.22 So, just under 10 minutes to kick off. Let's have some stats:
Arsenal have not scored since losing Robin van Persie. Sorry, that was a little too tempting.
Arsenal have won just one of their last six Premier League matches, and last week's stalemate against Sunderland was there second successive opening day 0-0 draw.
Stoke's last five matches, including pre-season friendlies, have ended 1-1 and they have not won in their last seven Premier League matches.
Anyone guess why I went for a 1-1 now...
13.18 Both of these teams suffered draws last week, with no disrespect
to Reading and Sunderland, to teams they would expect to pick up better
points against. Arsenal were held in a 0-0 stalemate against Martin
O'Neill's Black Cats and Stoke were denied a victory over newly promoted to
last season's Championship champions Reading with a 90th minute penalty from
Adam le Fondre. Will it be draw number two for both today? What are your
predictions? Email in to
13.12 I mentioned before that Stoke have beaten Arsenal twice out of four times at the Britannia in the league since their promotion. Not just that, but last season they were unbeaten at home against the top four. The demons aren't all bad for Arsenal fans though, in the 95 matches the two clubs have fought throughout their history, Arsenal have won 50. And in the last four years despite Stoke's home record, at the Emirates Arsenal have been imperious, winning all four matches.
13.06 Today's teams then:
STOKE: Begovic; Wilkinson, Shawcross (c), Huth, Wilson; Pennant, Cameron, Whelan, Kightly; Walters, Crouch
Subs: Sorensen, Palacios, Jones, Upson, Delap, Shotton, Jerome
ARSENAL: Mannone; Jenkinson, Mertesacker, Vermaelen, Gibbs; Arteta, Diaby, Cazorla; Gervinho, Podolski, Giroud.
Subs: Martinez, Santos, Walcott, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Ramsey, Djourou, Coquelin
13.01 There is one thing for sure that today's game will have, and no I'm not going to say plenty of long balls or fluid passing. The Stoke fans are sure to whip up a frenzy of an atmosphere at the Britannia. It's a cracking ground built for it's atmosphere too. Could anyone forget the mimicking antics against Arsene Wenger of the crowd from last season, very Ronnie Irani against Australia.
12.54 We have some team news for you. And as far as the Arsenal team is concerned, it looks a loaded front line but a bit light in their defensive five. New signing Santi Cazorla, Olivier Giroud and Lukas Podolki all start. Vito Mannone will be between the sticks as Wojciech Szczęsny fails a late fitness test.
For Stoke, Jermaine Pennant has passed his fitness test and will line up against his former team on the right-wing. New signing Michael Kightly will occupy the other wing with Peter Crouch starting up front with Jonathan Walters.
12.50 Last season there was further controversy as Arsene Wenger again slammed Stoke, this time for their fans booing Aaron Ramsey as he took to the field. Tony Pulis has stoked the fire too, just before today’s match in his pre-game press conference. He said:
People talk about us being a dirty team but I haven’t had as many red cards as Arsene Wenger as a manager.But people always mention me and Stoke City — but no one talks about the situation with Wenger when he took over at Arsenal. When that was going on, he never saw a thing! History has been re-written. The balance isn’t level. It’s frustrating that you get labelled like this.”
12.40 You may be wondering why we are in for such a fiercely fought contest today. Think back to two years ago. The same two teams. One young Welsh midfielder. One young English defender. One tackle. One great lunge. One horrifically snapped leg. One red card.
It was an incident not to be watched by the easily queasy. For those who struggle to watch Casualty on a Saturday night before they watch Match of the Day.
The animosity between the teams has continued ever since. Arsenal manager, Arsene Wenger launched a scathing attack on the style of play by Stoke City. The two players have had a fractious relationship and were recently embroiled in a debate over Shawcross’s eligibility for Wales, for where he was educated.
Comedian and Arsenal fan Alan Davies gave this reaction after the incident. Well, reaction's one word for it, another would be, rant.
12.34 Jon has some reason to his prediction too. In the four league contests since Stoke's promotion to the Premier League they have won 50per cent of the matches held at the Brittania, with one draw and one defeat. They are certainly somewhat of a bogey team for the Gunners.
12.30 Good Bank Holiday Sunday afternoon everyone and welcome to this lunchtime coverage of Stoke City v Arsenal.
I hope you're all stuffed full with your roast lunches and ready for what is sure to be a feisty contest at the Britannia. There’s not much love lost between the two managers, Tony Pulis and Arsene Wenger and both couldn’t have different styles of play.
But what that leadst o is just one simply thing. An intriguing 90 minutes of football between 22 men, and some substitutes.
Here’s our match preview with Jon Percy predicting a surprise result for the home team.
Kick-off: 13.30 BST.
Stoke (Possible, 4-4-1-1): Begovic, Wilkinson, Huth, Shawcross, Wilson, Kightly, Whealan, Delap, Wilson, Walters, Crouch
Out: Dean Whitehead (suspended)
Test: Jermaine Pennant (thigh)
Arsenal (Possible, 4-2-3-1): Szczesny, Gibbs, Mertesacker, Vermalen, Jenkinson, Diaby, Arteta, Cazorla, Gervinho, Walcott, Podolski
Out: Laurent Koscielny (calf), Tomas Rosicky (hamstring), Jack Wilshere (ankle), Bacary Sagna (broken leg).
Test: Wojciech Szczesny (rib)
Arsenal will assess goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny, who has a minor rib problem, ahead of Sunday's trip to Stoke, but England winger Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (ankle) is fit again, along with reserve keeper Lukasz Fabianski (back).
Stoke's American summer signing Geoff Cameron is available and should begin training with his new side today after he was cleared to enter the country on Thursday, while Jermaine Pennant could return from injury.
The Britannia Stadium has been an unforgiving venue for Arsène Wenger ever since Stoke's elevation to the Premier League and Arsenal's manager has frequently departed the Potteries nursing a burning sense of injustice. Wenger's team are in transition after a summer of change and this will be the ultimate test of their credentials. This is always a game Tony Pulis looks forward to and he will relish the challenge to earn a fourth home win in six attempts against Arsenal. Dean Whitehead is suspended
Referee: Lee Mason. Matches (last season): 33, Red cards: 5, Yellow cards: 135
Stat of the game: Stoke have scored first in all five games they have played against Arsenal at the Britannia under Tony Pulis.
Prediction: 2-1, John Percy.