Despite dominating against Stoke for long periods Arsenal succumbed to their second successive frustrating goalless draw at the Britannia Stadium.
The Gunners bossed the game in terms of possession but had limited clear-cut chances as they struggled to open their Barclays Premier League account.
Stoke had a penalty shout turned down as Arsenal’s three-pronged attack of Olivier Giroud, Lukas Podolski and Gervinho failed to find a breakthrough.
The visitors’ manager Arsene Wenger made two changes, dropping Theo Walcott to the bench to hand a first start to Frenchman Giroud with goalkeeper Vito Mannone replacing the injured Wojciech Szczesny.
Stoke boss Tony Pulis made two changes, handing a debut to American summer signing Geoff Cameron with Dean Whitehead suspended, while Jermaine Pennant returned to the side after recovering from a thigh injury.
Cameron, who played against Mexico for the United States last week, started brightly with a testing long throw in the style of substitute Rory Delap before he released a good ball down the right hand side as the hosts dominated the early exchanges.
The Potters then had an early goal chalked off as Jonathan Walters strayed offside but good linking play with strike-partner Peter Crouch gave the home fans something to cheer in the opening exchanges.
Arsenal then began to enjoy the majority of possession in midfield and displayed warning signs as they began to press, but like last weekend’s goalless draw against Sunderland, they lacked a cutting edge.
They missed two good chances in the opening 20 minutes as Podolski was unable to overpower a stumbling Andy Wilkinson to open his account before Kieran Gibbss’s ball to the far post went begging, just inches away from the German striker.
For Stoke, Walters was a threat on the right and he almost teed up Michael Kightly for the opener but Arsenal goalkeeper Mannone made a comfortable save from 20 yards.
Arsenal then began to dominate with Santi Cazorla weaving passes as Podolski pushed on, before the former Malaga midfielder forced a fantastic diving save from Stoke keeper Asmir Begovic with a 25-yard effort.
Wenger was left with his head in his hands when Arteta&’s 20-yard shot flew wide before Abou Diaby had too much time to think and stumbled over a close-range effort.
Arsenal went close again as the clock ticked down with Giroud’s long-range effort skimming the top of the cross bar, but the Gunners were left frustrated as they could only take a point back to the Emirates after another disappointing result.
|22 Dec 2012||v Spurs (A)|
|29 Dec 2012||v Southampton (H)|
|10 Mar 2013||v Newcastle (A)|
|09 Feb 2013||v Reading (H)|
|02 Mar 2013||v West Ham (H)|
|12 May 2013||v Spurs (H)|