This was predictably a hard fought match. Stoke always defend deep and in numbers, making it very hard for the Gunners to break them down. Arsenal had the lion's share of possession, and deserved the victory, but once again they conceded a goal on a set piece, which has been their greatest (but certainly not their only) defensive weakness over the past couple of seasons.
Gervinho, who scored the first goal and set up the other two for Van Persie, was the man of the match, always looking dangerous on the wing. Mikel Arteta finally looks like he's growing into the quarterback role, managing the offense. Alex Song played his usual strong game, shoring up the midfield. On the other hand, Theo Walcott, who announced this week that he wants a new contract, just seemed to be taking up space. The few times he did get involved in the play, it was to no useful purpose. His game, and his career, seemingly have plateaued; on the evidence of his play this season, he does not deserve a new Arsenal contract.
The victory moves Arsenal up to 7th in the League table, just six points out of a Champion's League qualification spot.