Arsenal produced a largely unconvincing display but were still able to overcome a resolute but ultimately flawed Stoke City 3-0 at the Emirates Stadium.
Arsenal 3 Stoke City 0
Ramsey hits bar
Welbeck fires just wide
Aubameyang nets penalty and gets brace
Lacazette scores at the death
The first half was devoid of chances with Arsenal managing just one shot on target through Aaron Ramsey, which clipped the crossbar.
After the break, both sides improved and Stoke’s Xherdan Shaqiri hit the far post from a corner kick. However, the Gunners took the lead as Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scored from the spot when Mesut Ozil was brought down in the box.
“That shows well the state of our society – when people are generous, we are surprised! They have a good understanding, I like that because they can make the team stronger” pic.twitter.com/rymzqYKD46
— Arsenal FC (@Arsenal) April 1, 2018
The Gabon star scored his second in the final five minutes before Alexandre Lacazette added a late third also from the spot.
The opening 20 minutes was devoid of virtually any goalmouth action, as Stoke’s high press seemed to disrupt Arsenal’s labored attempts to pass the ball out from the back.
In fact, it took until the 22nd minute before a chance arrived for the Gunners through attacking midfielder Ramsey. Following a better build-up, goalkeeper Jack Butland fluffed his punch and the ball dropped to the Wales midfielder on the right-hand side of the box.
Ramsey sent a chip on target which bounced off the crossbar and away from danger for a goal kick.
5 – Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has now scored five goals in the Premier League; the most by any Arsenal player in their first six appearances in the competition. Alive. pic.twitter.com/Ha3tfxFvSb
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) April 1, 2018
City were barely in the contest as an attacking force, but in the 30th minute Arsenal were thankful to Shkodran Mustafi, who made a well-time tackle on Ramadan Sobhi after Hector Bellerin gifted possession away just outside his own box.
After the break, the dour nature of the contest continued and it took until just before the hour mark for the first real chance to arrive for Arsene Wenger’s men.
When Ozil chipped the ball to Danny Welbeck on the left hand side of the box, the striker fired just wide of the near post. Soon after, Nacho Monreal forced Butland into a diving save to his bottom-left, as the home team proved slightly more incisive.
In the 70th minute, City nearly found a bizarre opener as Shaqiri’s corner kick caught out David Ospina in goal, before the cross hit the far post and was scrambled clear by Arsenal’s defence.
A minute later, Aubameyang was sent through on goal but was denied by a good block by Butland, as the action started to heat up.
📸 Cool as you like from @Aubameyang7
— Premier League (@premierleague) April 1, 2018
Eventually the deadlock was broken in the 75th minute from the penalty spot after Ozil was brought down by defender Bruno Martins Indi, despite the Stoke man getting a touch on the ball.
Aubameyang stepped up and confidently sent a strike into the bottom-right corner. In the closing stages, Stoke fell to pieces defensively and Aubameyang showed his predatory instincts to fire home at the far post from a corner in the 86th minute.
Three minutes later Lacazette got his name on the scoresheet when Badou Ndiaye hauled down the striker, and he stepped up to convert the Gunners’ third.