Lukas Podolski's deflected free-kick proved the difference Saturday as Arsenal eked out a much-needed 1-0 victory against Stoke.
After securing just five points from as many Premier League matches, the Gunners were in danger of losing ground on the top four coming into the game.
Arsene Wenger's side looked set for another frustrating day at the office Saturday -- thanks in no small part to an outstanding display by Stoke goalkeeper Asmir Begovic.
It was those in front of Begovic that came to the fore in a second half in which it looked like City's stubborn defense would help end a run of 10 successive defeats in league and cup at Arsenal.
However, substitute Podolski ended those hopes 12 minutes from time with a low free kick that deflected in off American defender Geoff Cameron.
The Gunners made five changes for this afternoon's match, with deadline-day signing Nacho Monreal handed his debut.
The Spain international replaced the injured Kieran Gibbs at left back in an Arsenal side that started much better than they had against Liverpool in midweek.
Wilshere blazed over after a Walcott cutback failed to find a teammate as Arsenal continued to press for an early goal.
It took 15 minutes for Wojciech Szczesny to best tested by Stoke.
First the Bosnia international denied Oxlade-Chamberlain from close range after a Wilshere corner fell straight into his path.
Begovic was the scourge of Arsenal once again in the 34th minute, denying a Koscielny header with another block.
Four minutes from the break the Stoke goalkeeper was at it again. Wilshere played an exquisite through ball to Oxlade-Chamberlain, whose curled effort looked destined to ripple the net until Begovic superbly palmed wide.
Arsenal continued to press for the opener as halftime approached, but the only action of note was a clash of heads between Monreal and Walters.
The latter got a bloody head in the challenge, but was patched up with a bandage similar to the one donned by teammate Huth.
The German center back was called into action shortly after play resumed for the second half, rising well to stop Giroud bundling home a Monreal cross.
Giroud fired wide under pressure soon after but Arsenal's attacks were becoming less frequent.
Wenger brought on Santi Cazorla and Podolski in a bid to inject new life into his side's attack, with Diaby and Oxlade-Chamberlain replaced.
The introduction of the Spaniard almost had an immediate impact as Cazorla sent in a floated cross to Giroud, but the Frenchman was unable to direct his header on target.
Glenn Whelan picked up a booking as City looked to hold off the hosts, who finally took the lead in the 78th minute.
Wilkinson received a yellow card for bringing down Walcott on the edge of the box, allowing substitute Podolski to send a low free kick that deflected in off Cameron's heel.
It had looked like the goal would be chalked off for an apparent offside against Walcott, but, after consulting with his assistant, referee Chris Foy awarded the goal.
Cazorla came close to making it 2-0 shortly afterward, only for Begovic to get the slightest touch to send it behind.
Shawcross was booked for a late challenge on Koscielny and Owen looked to aim a punch at Mikel Arteta after a late challenge by the Spaniard.