Arsenal boss slams sluggish defending following Stoke City defeat

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger was critical about the club’s defence following a disappointing 1-0 defeat to Stoke City at the Bet365 Stadium on Saturday.


The Gunners could not make the most of their 77 percent possession with lazy defending combined with a couple of poor refereeing decisions costing them a potential victory.

Following the game, Wenger was not in a sympathising mood with his defenders with Nacho Monreal having misjudged the situation prior to Jese Rodriguez’s maiden goal in English football, he said: “It was frustrating getting caught cold for the goal. Defensively there is no excuse. We gave them a cheap goal. We knew it was important not to make a defensive mistake. But we came out straight after half-time, were too sluggish and paid for it. We gave them too much freedom in the middle. I was not convinced by our central defence today. We were unlucky. I think we scored a regular goal that was given offside and it wasn’t offside. It’s a very easy decision. It’s a difficult defeat to swallow. We had chances. We should have won the game comfortably.”

Arsenal had a similar lapse at the back during the 4-3 triumph against Leicester City in the opening day of the campaign, and this has already posed question marks over their title challenge at such an early stage of the season. Apart from the backline, midfielder Granit Xhaka is another who has struggled in the opening exchanges with his woeful passing and poor man marking playing a part in all four of the Gunners’ goals conceded this term.

Arsene Wenger’s side travel next to Anfield to take on Liverpool, and they will hope to get their defence sorted out by then in order to avoid another defeat prior to the international break. Arsenal will be boosted in the attack front prior to their Merseyside visit with Alexis Sanchez likely to be deemed fit following his recovery from an abdominal strain.