Match Report: Stoke 0 Arsenal 0
By Michael Baggaley at the Britannia Stadium
STOKE CITY 0
STOKE City's eagerly awaited home clash with Arsenal failed to produce any fireworks as the teams battled out a goalless draw this afternoon.
Arsenal had the better of possession, but neither side could create much in the way of chances in front of a 27,072 crowd and a live television audience.
The result keeps City unbeaten, following their opening day draw with Reading, and also means they have suffered just one defeat to the Gunners in their six meetings at the Britannia Stadium since promotion in 2008.
Tony Pulis made two changes to the side which drew 1-1 with Reading as Geoff Cameron made his debut in central midfield and Jermaine Pennant returned to the right wing after Matthew Etherington was ruled out with a hamstring injury.
Pennant's return meant Michael Kightly moved across to the left wing outside the new central midfield partnership of Cameron and Glenn Whelan.
Arsene Wenger included his new midfielder Santi Cazorla as well as his two new boys up front, Lukas Podolski and Olivier Giroud.
However, first-choice keeper Wojciech Szczesny was injured so Vito Mannone was a late replacement.
Cameron made an instant impression with ball-winning challenges on Cazorla and Podolski before City had a sixth minute effort ruled out.
Marc Wilson's cross was headed down by Peter Crouch to Jon Walters. He slammed the ball past Mannone but the offside flag cut short the celebrations.
But Andy Wilkinson flung himself in front of Podolski's strike to deny the Gunners as the visitors began to settle into the game.
Robert Huth brought down Podolski on the edge of the area to earn a booking. But Cazorla fired his first shot into the wall before screwing the rebound well wide.
Arsenal played their way behind the Stoke defence on 21 minutes but Gervinho just failed to connect at the back post after Kieran Gibbs crossed towards the unmarked striker.
The visitors were enjoying the lion's share of possession without creating clear cut chances.
City threatened on 29 minutes when Kightly's 20-yard strike was well held by Mannone. However, Asmir Begovic produced an even better stop on 35 minutes as he flung himself to his right to beat away Cazorla's 25-yard strike.
Stoke 0 Arsenal 0
After an even start to the second half, the game threatened to swing Arsenal's way when Wilkinson's slip gave Podolski room on the left. But his low cross was claimed by Begovic, diving at the feet of Giroud.
Wilkinson went into the book for a 64th-minute foul on Thomas Vermaelen on the edge of the area. Arteta took the free kick, just inside the 'D', but smashed it into the wall.
City made a 66th-minute change as Pennant was replaced by Cameron Jerome. Walters moved out to the right of midfield as Jerome partnered Crouch up front.
Cazorla's 30-yard strike was deflected over before Giroud volleyed well wide from the resulting corner.
Arsene Wenger made a double change on 72 minutes as Theo Walcott and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain replaced Gervinho and Podolski.
Huth's mis-kick allowed Diaby half a yard in the area, but the midfielder stabbed his shot wide.
Ryan Shotton replaced Peter Crouch on 79 minutes, as Tony Pulis looked to combat the wide threat of Oxlade-Chamberlain. That meant Walters going back up front with Shotton playing on the right. Pulis introduced more fresh legs two minutes later as Wilson Palacios came on for Glenn Whelan.
Meanwhile, Aaron Ramsey replaced Cazorla for the Gunners, arriving to a chorus of boos from a large section of the home supporters.
Oxlade-Chamberlain headed Arteta's corner wide but Stoke forced an 86th-minute chance when Kightly's through ball freed Walters.
However, the striker mis-hit a shot which rolled harmlessly to Mannone.
Ramsey fired just wide from the edge of the area and Giroud almost won it in the 89th minute after gathering the ball on the left wing.
The striker spotted Begovic off his line, but his 35 yard chip cleared the bar by inches.
STOKE CITY: Begovic, Wilkinson, Huth, Shawcross, Wilson, Pennant (Jerome, 66), Cameron, Whelan (Palacios, 81) Kightly, Walters, Crouch (Shotton, 79).
Subs: Sorensen, Jones, Upson, Delap.
ARSENAL: Mannone, Jenkinson, Mertesacker, Vermaelen, Gibbs, Arteta, Diaby, Cazorla (Ramsey), Podolski (Oxlade-Chamberlain, 72), Giroud, Gervinho (Walcott, 72).
Subs: Martinez, Santon, Djourou, Coquelin.
Referee: Lee Mason