Olivier Giroud struggles to fill Robin van Persie's boots as new-look Gunners fire blanks again

view gallery VIEW GALLERY

Stoke 0 Arsenal 0

Britannia Stadium

How do you solve the problem of losing 37-goal Robin van Persie? Arsène Wenger is having difficulty at the moment after watching his Arsenal side go 180 Premier League minutes without scoring.

Their plight was summed up perfectly by Stoke City's jubilant supporters after the new Manchester United forward's replacement Olivier Giroud spectacularly missed the target from Santi Cazorla's corner midway through the second half.

It started quietly in one small section of the Britannia Stadium before reaching a crescendo: "Robin Van Persie, he would have scored that!"

Wenger admitted afterwards that it is tough but he has called on Giroud, from Montpellier, Cazorla, from Malaga and Lukas Podolski, from Cologne, to make improvements in training if they are to replace Van Persie's goals as a team.

"The understanding was missing," said Wenger. "One month ago Cazorla and Podolski did not know each other. There is work to be done on the training ground. There is potential but something is missing. I am very positive about my team. We haven't scored in two games but we played against two units that defended very well.

"If you want to convince me we lost an exceptional player you are wasting your time. I was the first to say that. We must find a way around that by sharing around the goals we scored with Van Persie. I work for 30 years on the football pitch every day and I know what it takes to improve a football player.

"Giroud can't think like he should replace Van Persie. I had the same questions when Thierry Henry left. We have to take perspective."

Wenger was at least happy with the defensive aspects of his side's performance and his players' attitude against Stoke yesterday and Sunderland last week.

"We were very strong spirit-wise," he said. "We were dominant in the challenges and defensively very strong. I feel we played against two highly focused defensive sides. Other games are more open. Some other teams go forward and open their games. The team we played against it was a cup final for 90 minutes. But we behaved like men who were ready for a fight.

"Offensively we have some work to do as we missed accuracy in the final third. There was something missing in the final third. We should have won the game 1-0 but credit to Stoke, they defended really well with experience at the back.

"But we're happy with a point. Defensively we had no problem, they had one good chance in the second half but apart from that we did very well. If they have six basketball players at set pieces it's very difficult."

Stoke v Arsenal has always been a heated fixture, especially after a Ryan Shawcross challenge broke Aaron Ramsey's leg in six places two years ago. But aside from a few gestures by both managers on the touchline and several ill-natured songs from both sets of opposing fans, this match passed off without any lapses in discipline. In truth, neither side really looked like finding the net in a game that did nothing for the image of the Premier League.

Arsenal shaded the game in terms of possession but simply could not find a way past a spirited Stoke City side.

Cazorla, in only his second game in a Gunners shirt, was the most lively and chances fell to his boot in the first half, with one spectacular bending shot beautifully saved by Asmir Begovic.

Stoke only fleetingly offered an attacking threat and came closest when Michael Kightly's effort was held by Vito Mannone, only in the side due to the absence of Wojciech Szczesny with a rib injury.

Their best moment could well have been a penalty, with Kieran Gibbs lucky to get away with a coming together in the area with Jermaine Pennant, the former Arsenal player.

Both sides made attacking substitutions in the second half, Tony Pulis throwing caution to the wind to send on Cameron Jerome while Wenger used Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Theo Walcott. The changes did not work, although Giroud was cursing his luck a minute from time.

The Frenchman's brilliant 35-yard effort had Begovic worried but just cleared the crossbar. It could have changed Arsenal's mood and given them the lift they desperately needed.

Stoke, in their fifth season in the Premier League, look primed to stay there. It may not be pretty, and it never is with the Potters, but Pulis is proud of the side that he has assembled and has a big year ahead as the club concentrate on their youth set-up.

"I'm really pleased with a point," he said. "The attitude was first class. As a football club we must never become blasé.

"We have just got category A with the academy," Pulis added. "The chairman is a local lad and we hope it will be a system that brings through young players. The Coates family want local youngsters to give their all for this football club."

Pulis is taking that philosophy into what promises to be a lengthy week of transfer dealings. Maurice Edu should sign from Rangers today and the Potters hopes to eventually complete the loan signing of Tom Huddlestone from Tottenham. But Michael Dawson, also from White Hart Lane, may be beyond his means.

"I'd like to take Dawson at Spurs but I don't know if we can afford it," Pulis added. "You have a level on who you can bring in. If we have to bite the bullet, we bite the bullet."

Match facts

Booked: Stoke Huth, Wilkinson.

Man of the match: Cazorla.

Match rating: 5/10.

Possession: Stoke 41%. Arsenal 59%

Attempts on target: Stoke 4. Arsenal 6.

Referee: L Mason (Lancs).

Attendance: 27,072.

News
Jacqueline Bisset has claimed that young women today are obsessed with being 'hot', rather than 'charming', 'romantic' or 'beautiful'
people
Sport
New Zealand fly-half Aaron Cruden pictured in The Zookeeper's Son on a late-night drinking session
rugby
News
Liam Payne has attacked the media for reporting his tweet of support to Willie Robertson and the subsequent backlash from fans
peopleBut One Direction star insists he is not homophobic
Arts and Entertainment
A bit rich: Maggie Smith in Downton Abbey
tvSeries 5 opening episode attracts lowest ratings since drama began
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Ben Affleck stars as prime suspect Nick Dunne in the film adaptation of Gone Girl
filmBen Affleck and Rosamund Pike excel in David Fincher's film, says Geoffrey Macnab
News
news
Arts and Entertainment
Lena Dunham
booksLena Dunham's memoirs - written at the age of 28 - are honest to the point of making you squirm
Life and Style
fashionThe supermodel on her career, motherhood and Cara Delevingne
News
i100
Life and Style
A new app has been launched that enables people to have a cuddle from a stranger
techNew app offers 'PG alternative' to dating services like Tinder
Sport
Greg Dyke insists he will not resign as Football Association chairman after receiving a watch worth more than £16,000 but has called for an end to the culture of gifts being given to football officials
football
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Jake Quickenden sings his heart out in his second audition
tvX Factor: How did the Jakes - and Charlie Martinez - fare?
Sport
premier league
Sport
Frank Lampard and his non-celebration
premier leagueManchester City vs Chelsea match report from the Etihad Stadium
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments