By Matt Barlow
It's always the same when Stoke are in town. Aerial assault, set-piece dangers, neckache and that sort of thing.
Except this was the day when Arsene Wenger out-Stoked Stoke and went back to the top of the Barclays Premier League.
Towering headers from Per Mertesacker and Bacary Sagna did the damage, together with what has become the obligatory goal from Aaron Ramsey, runaway top scorer with his seventh goal in eight Arsenal games this season.
Scroll down for video
On the run: Mesut Ozil drives forward for Arsenal against Stoke
Top of the league: Aaron Ramsey celebrates his goal that helped send Arsenal top
Arsenal (4-3-2-1): Szczesny 6; Sagna 7, Mertesacker 7, Koscielny 7, Gibbs 7; Flamini 8, Wilshere 6 (Monreal 73), Ramsey 7; Gnabry 5 (Ryo 73), Ozil 8 (Arteta 81); Giroud 6.
Subs not used: Vermaelen, Viviano, Bendtner, Jenkinson
Stoke (4-3-2-1): Begovic 5; Cameron 6, Shawcross 6, Huth 6, Pieters 5 (Palacios 67); Wilson 6, N'Zonzi 6, Adam 6 (Ireland 59, 5); Walters 5, Arnautovic 6; Jones 6 (Pennant 75).
Subs not used: Whelan, Crouch, Etherington, Crouch, Sorensen
Referee: Mike Dean
Man of the match: Ozil
*Player ratings by SAMI MOKBEL at The Emirates
To complete the confusion, Stoke produced a beautifully worked goal from open play featuring a defence-splitting pass, a sweet volley and clinical first-time finish by right back Geoff Cameron.
If these are changing times then that must be good for Wenger, who last peered down from the Premier League summit in December 2010 apart from a few hours last weekend.
And to think that all it took to bleed the poison from the Emirates Stadium was a 42million German playmaker with an exquisite touch, balance and vision.
Mesut Ozil was afforded a rapturous ovation when he was replaced by Mikel Arteta, returning from injury as a late substitute. 'Once he is fully integrated, we will see more,' said Wenger, but for now, three assists will have to do.
Ozil truly has special gifts. Every pass is weighted to perfection and yesterday his dead-ball delivery did the damage. At Real Madrid, there was a feeling he was prone to flutter in, decorate the game with something amazing and then quietly fade out.
When Arsenal do not have the ball, Ozil walks. When they win it back he comes to life. This is fine if the rest of the team is weighted accordingly. It is the argument which is causing strife at Chelsea with Juan Mata.
In the goals: Aaron Ramsey celebrates with teammates after scoring against Stoke
In a good run of form: Ramsey celebrates his good goalscoring start to the season
SPORTSMAIL SUPER STAT
Aaron Ramsey has scored
seven goals from nine shots on
target for Arsenal this season
How many playmakers can you force into a team before it loses purpose? In modern football, how little can you accept they offer when the team does not have the ball? What will Wenger do when Santi Cazorla is fit after an ankle injury, which the boss expects will be in 'two to three weeks'?
Jack Wilshere played wide on the left yesterday. He was not at his most creative but worked hard, took a few knocks and looked ready for a rest. He will be excused from Capital One Cup duty at West Bromwich on Wednesday.
When Cazorla is fit, he, Wilshere and Ozil will most likely contest two positions. Mathieu Flamini, Arteta and Ramsey will contest two. This is enough to offer hope that this bright start can be extended into the campaign.
Back in it: Charlie Adam celebrates on the shoulders of goalscorer Geoff Cameron after Stoke make it 1-1
Good strike: Cameron draws Stoke level with his first half strike
There is certainly greater depth of quality at Arsenal than a summer exodus of players suggested, even if Wenger handed two young players their Premier League debuts for the club. Serge Gnabry stepped in when Theo Walcott aggravated a stomach muscle injury in the warm-up and Ryo Miyaichi later came on for Gnabry.
One man who cannot be left out is Ramsey, who opened the scoring in the fifth minute. Asmir Begovic tamely pushed out Ozil's free-kick and Ramsey beat Jon Walters to the spillage. He is in splendid form and brimming with confidence.
When a ball dropped from the sky into his remit in the second half, there was a collective groan of disappointment when the crowd realised he was not shaping to volley it like Zinedine Zidane in the 2002 Champions League final. Ramsey should have taken it on. It would probably have flown in.
Heads up: Per Mertesacker jumps to head in a goal against Stoke to re-gain the lead for Arsenal
Back in front: Mertesacker is celebrates with Olivier Giroud and Laurent Koscielny after his goal
Ramsey's goal was equalised by Cameron. Steven Nzonzi clipped a pass to Marko Arnautovic, who steered a volley on to the post and right back Cameron arrived unexpectedly to sweep in the rebound.
Wenger's team showed their spirit to fight back. Mertesacker went close with a glancing header from a corner but Erik Pieters kept it out with a good defensive header, only for Arsenal to take the lead from a carbon copy of the set-piece.
Again Ozil's corner was met at the near post by Mertesacker but this time Pieters had been lured away from the post by his determination to stick close to Gnabry and the ball bounced in off the upright.
Beating his man: Olivier Giroud runs past a tackle Robert Huth
Off target: Giroud has his shot on goal rebound off Stoke City's Ryan Shawcross
Falling down: Jack Wilshere goes between Jonathan Walters and Geoff Cameron
Good feeling: Bacary Sagna celebrates with Giroud as he scores Arsenal's third goal
Begovic flung himself at the feet of Olivier Giroud before half-time and the Bosnian keeper tipped one over from him after the break.
Stoke created little and were ultimately beaten by their inability to defend set-pieces when Sagna leapt high above two defenders to meet a free-kick from Ozil and loop a header over Begovic. It was the 400th Premier League goal scored at the Emirates.
Stoke boss Mark Hughes seemed to be as annoyed as Tony Pulis would have been. 'That doesn't normally happen to Stoke teams,' he fumed. This doesn't normally happen to Arsenal either and they celebrated accordingly.