Arsene Wenger Post-Stoke Press Conference

“Exactly, they made it difficult for us, they were well organised, defended very deep, we didn’t find the space, but we kept going and overall we were a bit lucky on the goal but overall we deserve this win, because we had good chances, their keeper made the saves. We played in one half in the second half especially and overall I think we deserved to win the game.”

Wenger’s thoughts on seeing the offside flag. “I thought, I haven’t seen honestly from the bench, I didn’t see what happened, I thought the linesman has given offside, I couldn’t see anything else, or maybe somebody from us has handled the ball, that’s all I could think. But in fact I’ve heard that Walcott was offside, but he was not interfering with the game then its a normal goal.

“There were some heated moments, I don’t think there was anything exceptional with some tackles. I feel overall Theo Walcott got good treatment today (*sarcasm*) but I am very happy because the way he responded to it was with full commitment and desire to impose himself and that’s where you see today that Walcott has become a different player recently, and he’s shown that today.

“It looked to me [that Ryan Shawcross was lucky to stay on the pitch] but I have to look at it again. I’m not maybe completely objective with Ryan Shawcross, so that’s why I’m a bit cautious with my statement.

“Honestly I haven’t seen that [Owen throw a punch at Arteta].”

What is it about Stoke that gets under Arsenal’s skin? “I don’t know, they know that we try to play a game that is based on movement and technique and they oppose us very strong defence, what they did very well, you have to give them credit for the way they defended today. But overall I don’t think too much happened, apart from Theo Walcott, I think he got a few bad tackles that deserved maybe a yellow before but overall it was a physical game, with a team who at the moment tries to get some points. We expected that, we prepared mentally for that.

“Yeah [it’s a relief we can grind a win too]. We are a team who can create chances, who can score goals. Today it was not the case, we created chances but we couldn’t get the goals. But still, I’m happy that for long time now we didn’t concede, and that the defence looked solid, and the satisfaction is as well that Nacho Monreal had a good start for a player who just arrived yesterday and is in the team today. He had no time to think about it but overall I felt he got stronger and stronger during the game.”

What were Nacho’s first thoughts of English football? “There is no better cultural shock than Stoke when you come from Spain. Because of course they had a very physical game. I think he dealt well with it.”

On the wins important. “I said already before the West Ham, before the Liverpool game, that we are in a position where we can’t drop points. We dropped two points against Liverpool but we couldn’t do it again today. But what is more important is the quality of our performances is there, the spirit is there, so the target to be in the top four and to focus on the two cups we are still in is very important now because we strengthen our belief and our confidence.”

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