Arsenal gifted Stoke the win – Wenger

The Frenchman was unhappy with the manner of his side’s defending as the Gunners lost 3-2 at the Britannia Stadium on Saturday following a calamitous first half display

Arsene Wenger has criticised Arsenal’s “tender” defending as they fell to a surprise 3-2 loss against Stoke City on Saturday.

Peter Crouch gave the Potters the perfect start, scoring inside 20 seconds, before Bojan Krkic and Jonathan Walters handed Mark Hughes’ side a 3-0 half-time lead.

And although the Gunners responded by scoring twice in a matter of minutes in the second half, Stoke held on to claim victory, leaving Wenger extremely disapppointed in his team’s approach.

He told reporters: “Stoke started strongly and we were not decisive enough in the defensive challenges. We gave them a present.

“After that we put a lot of energy into the game. In the second half we had good opportunities to come back but we couldn’t.

“We were too tender at the back from the start today. When we responded it was too late in the game.

“You have to give them credit. I think we were a bit inexperienced at the back. We could not play Koscielny or Monreal. We were a bit soft to cope with what they offered us.

“You have to be committed and focused from the first minute. I think we were a bit unlucky because the third goal was a foul from the corner. But still we weren’t good enough defensively today.”

Despite pulling two goals back, Arsenal’s comeback was halted as Calum Chambers received his first career red card for a second bookable offence, something Wenger contested.

“It was a bad decision,” he said. “If Chambers has to go off today I’ll watch the game again with you and show five more players who should go.

“I don’t want to comment too much on the referee but watch the game again and watched what happened on the pitch. I don’t think he deserved to be sent off compared to other people who put arms and elbows in faces.”

Stoke have a formidable Premier League record against the Gunners and Wenger has often found himself on the receiving end of various taunts from Potters supporters, something he chose to avoid on Saturday.

“One single reason [I stayed seated], They love me so much here that I didn’t want to give them an opportunity to show me their love.”

Wenger also touched on Danny Welbeck, who started the game on the bench.

“I rotated a little bit but had to respond at half-time. He looked like he was alright. We have three or four strikers from game to game and not everybody can play.”