Football

Set pieces elevate Arsenal

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Arsenal celebrate Ramsey's goal (©GettyImages)
Arsenal celebrate Ramsey's goal (©GettyImages).

Arsenal returned to the top of the Premier League after comfortably disposing of Stoke City at The Emirates.

The Gunners were left sweating before kick-off when Theo Walcott picked up an injury but in his absence, three set pieces undid the visitors.

The manner of which Mark Hughes' side conceded will serve as cruel irony given their perceived style of play where they look to dominate from corners and throw-ins with a strong physical presence.

The hosts looked to be cruising to a bigger victory after four minutes.

New signing Mesut Ozil's low drilled free-kick was tamely palmed out by Asmir Begovic as far as Aaron Ramsey who continued his rich vein of goal-scoring form by tapping in from close range.

There were very little incidents of note of note until the second goal as Arsene Wenger's side looked to dominate the possession.

And that second goal went to the visitors.

After a counter-attack from the Potters, Steven N'zonzi picked up the ball from midfield and floated a lovely cross to full debutant Marko Arnautovic whose volleyed effort came off the post, the retreating defenders failed to clear as it rolled out to Geoff Cameron who became an unlikely scorer when he picked out the bottom corner beautifully.

That lead was short lived though.

Less than ten minutes later, just after the half hour mark,  Ozil again delivered from a corner, this time he found Per Mertesacker whose looping header exploited the lack of defending on the posts.

The second half continued in a sedate manner, Ozil and Olivier Giroud had chances to get on the score-sheet.

However it was another unlikely goal source that put the game beyond doubt after 72 minutes.

Ozil completed a hat-trick of assists when his free-kick landed on Bacary Sagna's head which beat Begovic for a third time.

Maybe a 3-1 defeat is harsh to Stoke but for all of their effort to play well and try to keep a hold of possession they really lacked quality up front as they weren't able to create many clear-cut chances.

Arsenal move top and can only be removed this afternoon in the event of a big Tottenham win at Cardiff, Stoke meanwhile drop to tenth but can be encouraged with the start to life under Hughes.

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Topics:
Stoke City
Football
Arsenal
Premier League
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