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Monday September 23, 2013 MYT 12:12:13 AM
Monday September 23, 2013 MYT 12:12:15 AM
by martyn herman
Arsenal's Aaron Ramsey (L) is tackled by Stoke City's Erik Pieters during their English Premier League soccer match at the Emirates Stadium in London September 22, 2013. REUTERS/Paul Hackett
LONDON (Reuters) - The Arsenal fans came to acclaim record signing Mesut Ozil on his home debut but Aaron Ramsey took the plaudits with the first goal in a 3-1 win over Stoke City which put the Gunners top of the Premier League on Sunday.
Welsh midfielder Ramsey scored his seventh goal of the season after five minutes, firing home after Ozil's free kick had come back off Stoke keeper Asmir Begovic.
Stoke did equalise after 26 minutes through American Geoff Cameron but goals from Per Mertesacker and Bacary Sagna sealed a seventh consecutive win in all competitions for the Gunners.
After losing their opening match of the season at home to Aston Villa, Arsene Wenger's side have won four league games in a row and have 12 points, two more than Chelsea and Liverpool.
Swansea City followed up a notable 3-0 Europa League win in Valencia in midweek with a 2-0 victory at Crystal Palace that moved Michael Laudrup's side into mid-table.
While Ramsey continued his hot streak, Ozil offered Arsenal fans plenty of encouragement, having a hand in all three goals.
It was the German playmaker's ball into the area that allowed Mertesacker to direct a header in at the far post after 36 minutes and he then supplied the second-half free kick which Sagna met with a looping header over the stranded Begovic.
Stoke had threatened to sour the mood when Cameron steered in a rebound after Marco Arnautovic's shot rebounded off the post and enjoyed decent spell after the break before Sagna ended their hopes of a rare away point against Arsenal.
Ozil, signed for 42.5 million pounds ($68.00 million) from Real Madrid on transfer deadline day, received an ovation when he was substituted near the end.
"He's of course a player, when you look at his numbers, the assists are not a coincidence, they are a reality of his game," Wenger told reporters.
"I believe that once he is completely integrated we will see even more of him. But he's shown today that he is a great player. He gave a lift to everyone in the club."
Tottenham Hotspur can match Arsenal's total later with victory at Cardiff City.
Manchester United meet Manchester City at The Etihad Stadium without striker Robin van Persie who was ruled out with a groin strain in the build-up to the day's big derby.
($1 = 0.6250 British pounds)
(Additional reporting by Robert Woodward, editing by Alan Baldwin)
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