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Full-Time: Stoke 0-0 Arsenal
13.24 – Without further ado, the team news. That rather hulking being you see in the picture is, of course, Vito Mannone. Both Wojciech Szczesny and Lukasz Fabianski are injured so the Italian makes his first Gunners appearance since December.
Olivier Giroud comes in for Theo Walcott.
Stoke make two changes from the game against Reading. Dean Whitehead is suspended after his red card and is replaced by Jeff Cameron, while Jermaine Pennant comes in for Matthew Etherington.
Arsenal: Mannone; Jenkinson, Vermaelen, Merteksaker, Gibbs; Podolski, Diaby, Arteta, Cazorla, Gervinho; Giroud.
Stoke: Begovic; Wilkinson, Huth, Shawcross, Wilson; Pennant, Cameron, Whelan, Kightly; Walters, Crouch.
13.35 – We had no idea who Geoff Cameron* was before this game, but he’s clearly cut from the same cloth as Rory Delap (who’s on the bench). That long throw almost had Mannone in bother.
*US international, 27, new Stoke right-back, sometimes plays as a central defender, just the facts ma’am.
13.38 – “Stoke have the ball in the net!” You know what that means, don’t you? Jonathan Walters thought he had his first goal of the season from a Peter Crouch flick-on, but the offside flag went straight up.
13.42 – Cazorla crosses for Podolski but the German’s header goes over. And he was offside. Arsenal still to get going.
13.45 – Giroud accidentally hammers the ball against Abou Diaby and the Frenchman stays upright. Wonders will never cease…
Arsenal are pressuring the Stoke defence, with Cazorla pulling the strings.
13.46 – Brilliant run by Podolski results in a yellow card for Huth. A clear free-kick in a dangerous position for Arsenal.
13.47 – Cazorla lashes the ball against the wall – miskick – then drags the rebound wide. Poor.
13.52 – Arsenal nearly score! Gibbs, Cazorla and Podolski combine but the left back’s cross is just too high.
13.54 – Vermaelen does some great work in midfield, finding Podolski, who advances and slots in Cazorla. The Spaniard has too many around him though. Somebody probably shouted ‘HOUSE!’ and he didn’t know what it meant.
13.56 – Podolski’s shot from the edge of the area fails to trouble Begovic.
An interesting one – this is Vito Mannone’s first Premier League start for three years. He made his debut against Stoke.
13.57 – An ineffective volleyed cross from Wilkinson, according to Sky, but we think the full-back was chancing a shot from Crouch’s knock-down.
14.00 – Stoke break after another sustained period of Cazorla pressure – Walters finds Kightly in loads of space, with the former Wolves man’s shot comfortably saved by Mannone.
14.02 – A short Arsenal free-kick is played to Cazorla but he hasn’t found his range. Dragged wide.
14.05 – Mikel Arteta is fouled in the middle of the pitch but play goes on, the ball is picked up by you-know-who and the former Malaga man’s shot is saved brilliantly by Begovic.
14.10 – Another Cameron long throw is plucked from the air by Mannone. The American has seen the game pass him by, which would lead one to suspect he’s been bought purely for his javelin skills as Delap approaches his 60th birthday.
14.11 – A fine match, end to end, Stoke get caught on the counter by Podolski and Glenn Whelan has to intercept as his ball threatens to find Giroud.
Arsenal’s Santi Cazorla (left) and Stoke City’s Geoff Cameron (right) battle for the ball
14.15 – One minute of stoppage time to be played…
14.18 – An Arsenal corner, successfully defended by Stoke, is the last action of the first half. An entertaining game, dominated for the first half an hour by Santi Cazorla.
Stoke have had their opportunities, most notably a long range strike from Michael Kightly, while Jon Walters had a goal correctly ruled out for offside.
We’ll be back for the second half.
14.31 – Stoke and Arsenal are back out on the pitch. No substitutions that we can see.
14.33 – Some clever football as Diaby tries to release Giroud, but the French players were not on the same wavelength.
14.35 – Can anyone tell us the point of Gervinho? He’s been anonymous again today.
14.40 – Arsenal keep trying to find Mertesacker with near post corners, and it hasn’t even barely looked like working. Stoke are not exactly a team of diminutive tricksters.
14.45 – Penalty??? No, says referee Lee Mason, and he’s wrong. Pennant gets free of Gibbs down the right and the Arsenal full-back brings the winger down. No joy for Stoke. Wrong decision.
14.49 – Any Coventry fans out there? Manager Andy Thorn has been sacked.
Sent from Coventry, if you will?
Here all week.
14.52 – A very wild challenge by Wilkinson on Thomas Vermaelen on the edge of the Stoke box. Horrible. He should go, but it’s yellow.
The free-kick from Arteta hits the wall.
14.53 – Pennant goes off to be replaced by Cameron Jerome.
14.54 – Haven’t heard this one in a while, but with no goals so far this season…
14.56 – Crouch tries a volley at the far post but it was impossible. Jerome’s introduction has made all the difference.
14.57 – Podolski corner, Giroud attempted volley, over the bar, ridiculous.
14.58 – Kightly whips a great ball into the Arsenal box but it’s well defended by Vermaelen.
Theo Walcott replaces Gervinho, while Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain replaces Podolski.
15.00 – Arteta advances and plays a one-two with Giroud (actually, it rebounds off the Frenchman’s shin) before sending the ball into the stand. Not good.
15.03 – Man City team v Liverpool: Hart, Kolo Toure, Kompany (C), Zabaleta, Milner, Kolarov, De Jong, Yaya, Nasri, Balotelli, Tevez
15.06 – This time last year Arsenal were losing 8-2 to Manchester United. The defence seems to have tightened up but, unfortunately, so has the attack.
Diaby is the latest to miss, falling over as he shoots on goal, slicing the ball wide.
Stoke are about to bring on Ryan Shotton, with Crouch going off. Walters goes back up front.
15.07 – Liverpool team v Man City: Reina, Kelly, Johnson, Coates, Skrtel, Lucas, Allen, Gerrard, Borini, Suarez, Sterling.
No Daniel Agger. Expect speculation.
15.09 – Glenn Whelan is off, Wilson Palacios is on.
15.11 – As mentioned here, 17-year-old Raheem Sterling will make his first Premier League start for Liverpool against Manchester City today.
We were, ahem, just testing Cian.
15.16 – Apparently, Aaron Ramsey – on for Cazorla – has been booed by certain sections of the Stoke support.
There are no words.
In the action itself, Giroud tries an audacious lob that just clears Begovic’s crossbar. Wenger is not happy – Ramsey was in a good position.
15.22 – Full-time, and Arsenal have started their season with two goalless draws. Stoke have also drawn their first two games. Not a bad game but the fact that the Gunners’ build-up play failed to yield a goal, or even a serious chance, will worry Arsene Wenger.
Thanks for keeping up – join Paul Fennessey shortly for Liverpool v Man City, while Fintan O’Toole is liveblogging the All-Ireland SFC semi-final between Cork and Donegal here.