Welcome to a new feature on Arsenal.com - Talking Heads.
Before and after every first-team fixture our MatchDay Show team - and an Arsenal blogger - will have their say on the match.
Arsenal took on Stoke in the Premier League on Saturday and our Talking Heads for this game were Dan Roebuck, former Gunner Martin Hayes and Arsenal blogger LadyArse.
Read on for their post-match comments and look back at what they had to say before the game.
DAN ROEBUCK, COMMENTATOR
Nobody quite knows how crucial this point may be when the season comes to its end - but I have a feeling it may well prove decisive for Arsenal. This was a game in which three points were there for the taking but ultimately two resolute defensive showings earned each side a share of the spoils. Tomas Rosicky and Yossi Benayoun proved just why Arsène Wenger insists upon experience in these kinds of fixtures with two professional displays in midfield. Rosicky in particular was excellent and his superb assist was just reward for an impressive display. All in all, Arsenal avoided defeat and a lot can be said for that. Enough has been said about Stoke's supposed hold over the Gunners but Arsenal held firm and were rarely troubled by the hosts' set-piece prowess. It's another point gained and Wenger's side still have third place in their own hands. Norwich now takes on that must-win feel.
Who would have thought it would be Newcastle breathing down Arsenal's necks at this stage of the season? Arsène Wenger's side had better believe it because the Magpies are in form and ready to capitalise on any slip-up. The Britannia Stadium has hardly been a happy hunting ground for Arsenal but Stoke have not quite made it the fortress of past seasons. An early goal could work wonders for an Arsenal side without both Mikel Arteta and Theo Walcott. The duo are big losses but there is plenty elsewhere to suggest that the Gunners can get the job done. Abou Diaby should start, while Gervinho's lively substitute appearance against Chelsea also puts him in the frame. I expect an immediate return for Yossi Benayoun as well.
MARTIN HAYES, STUDIO GUEST
It was a frustrating afternoon. Overall it was a good performance and Arsenal played very well in the first half. It was probably diappointing that they went in 1-1 at half-time when they probably should have been ahead. The second half was more even, which was a shame, but we come away from Stoke with a point, which is normally good. There is still the potenial to take six points from our final two games and the Newcastle result obviously helped the cause. It is still all to play for and you have to look at the performance - it was good, solid and chances were created. That is positive going forward into the last two games. It is still in our hands and all to play for.
All the games Arsenal have now are massive - and none more so than Saturday's at Stoke. At the moment, third place is ours to throw away but we can't afford to lose any more points. If we keep winning, it puts pressure on the teams behind us. To go to Stoke is always a problem because we are not best equipped to deal with those sides - we are not big and we don't have as much aerial strength. But we have been stronger and more disciplined this season. We haven't been conceding set-piece goals like we have in the past, while Stoke, with the players that they've bought, have tried to become a different team and have moved away from the way they used to play. Maybe that's why they have struggled a bit. If we can keep the ball and work them, we can win. Stoke will want to finish the season on a high, so we have to be patient and take our chances when they come. I fancy us to score a couple, although Stoke are likely to get one, but I think we will edge it.
When all is said and done, a draw is never a bad result to come away from the Britannia with. Stoke have beaten Spurs at home this season, while holding Manchester City and United. In the race for third place that one point could end up being invaluable. We showed that we were ready to match Stoke in the more physical side of the game. The first half, despite going behind, saw Arsenal dominate and we were perhaps unfortunate not to take a lead into the break. While the second half was perhaps a more even affair, we still managed to fashion out the chances which would have allowed us to take all three points and give us a bit more of a cushion in third than we currently enjoy. That said, had you asked any Arsenal fans in October whether they would like to be heading into the last two games against Norwich at home and West Brom away with third place and automatic Champions League qualification very much in our own hands, not one person would have refused or demanded better. We have come a long way since our disastrous start to the season and the finish line is now in view - now we just have to make sure we cross it in third.
A trip to Stoke is never really easy for any team but the bad blood which exists between the two sets of supporters since Ramsey broke his leg always makes the Britannia that little bit tougher for Arsenal. With Chelsea edging closer to securing Champions League football through actually winning the competition, securing third spot has become even more important for Arsenal and with only three games left there is no room for error. Stoke never make it easy for us when we go there but there is an added steel about our side this season which was perhaps missing in previous years, so we should not be intimidated. Our record recently at the Britannia has not been great, losing on three of our last four visits, and Stoke have a good home record this season taking 10 points from their last four home games. As always with Arsenal, if we play to the best of our ability we will come away with the points, but even the slightest dip in concentration will see us punished in what is bound to be a hostile stadium.
* The views expressed in Talking Heads do not necessarily reflect those of Arsenal Football Club or Arsenal Broadband Ltd.Copyright 2013 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source 30 Apr 2012