Arsenal vs. Stoke City: Final score 3-1, an odd but effective Gunners performance

Ian Walton

Somehow, Arsenal only had 50 percent of the possession in their game against Stoke. They also had three set piece goals.

Arsenal games against Stoke are usually predictable affairs. Stoke backs off them and packs everyone behind the ball. They look for scoring chances on set pieces and longballs. Arsenal's set pieces are basically nullified. The Gunners have 70 percent possession and find a goal because Stoke aren't that good. Scene.

Sunday's game was nothing like that, with Mark Hughes' edition of the Potters actually attempting to play some football. They had half the possession, however, they seemed to forget that they're the best set piece team in the country. Arsenal scored all three of their goals from dead balls in an odd 3-1 win.

Aaron Ramsey put Arsenal ahead early, continuing his ridiculous scoring run with a goal off a rebound. Mesut Özil forced a save out of Asmir Begovic on a direct free kick and Ramsey was in the perfect spot to clean up the garbage after making a great run to the post.

Stoke's surprising answer came from Geoff Cameron, and not on a header. The center back turned attacking midfielder turned right back showed off some of the skills that led to his odd conversion to a midfield role a few years back, picking out a corner from 20 yards not long after Marko Arnautovic hit the post.

The Gunners would head into the halftime break ahead thanks to Per Mertesacker, who scored with a beautiful header, backwards and to the back post from 12 yards away, off a corner by Özil. It appeared that Laurent Koscielny might have fouled Begovic and hindered his ability to make a save, but the referee saw no infraction.

Arsenal looked in control throughout the second half and put the game away in the 72nd minute when Bacary Sagna headed in Özil's third assist of the day on yet another set piece.

Arsenal: Szczesny, Gibbs, Koscielny, Mertesacker, Sagna, Flamini, Gnabry (Miyaichi 73'), Ramsey, Özil (Arteta 80'), Wilshere (Monreal 73'), Giroud

Goals: Ramsey (5'), Mertesacker (36'), Sagna (72')

Stoke: Begovic, Pieters (Palacios 67'), Huth, Shawcross, Cameron; Arnautovic, Wilson, Nzonzi, Adam (Ireland 59'), Walters, Jones (Pennant 75')

Goals: Cameron (26')

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