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Wenger admits to Arsenal weakness

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Wenger was frustrated after a 'difficult day'

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger admitted his team simply could not cope with Stoke's aerial threat as they slipped to a 2-1 away defeat.

Both of Stoke's goals came courtesy of Rory Delap long throws and Wenger said: "Yes we had a plan, of course.

"We worked on it a lot. But those kind of goals, straight into the box with 20 people there, it is not our greatest strength to deal with that.

"We were punished, but at the end of the day Stoke deserved their victory."

Ricardo Fuller profited from Delap's 35-yard throw to head home Stoke's first goal.

And Delap threw the Gunners into turmoil again in the second half when Ryan Shawcross flicked on the midfielder's hurler and Olofinjana bundled the ball over the line.

Wenger added: "Traditional people who love the traditional English game with a lot of fight and a lot of commitment, will have been happy because they got what they like."

It was very difficult. You could see that Stoke, physically, were a bit stronger than us

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger

Delap, who has contributed to eight of Stoke's 13 Premier League goals this season with his throws, believes they are "undefendable".

"If I throw the perfect ball, with the height and quality in our team, I think it is undefendable and that has been proven," said Delap.

"There's no secret to it, everyone knows we do it and it's working well for us."

But Stoke assistant boss David Kemp says Stoke have much more to their game.

"I think we saw what Stoke are all about," said Kemp. "We played very well, created chances and caused plenty of problems.

"Delap's throw is a fantastic weapon but we created chances through other areas of our play. Winning games likes this is a big thing."

Wenger believes striker Robin van Persie should not have been sent off for his petulant late challenge on Stoke keeper Thomas Sorensen.

"It should have been a yellow," said the Frenchman.

"He should not have done it and he knows that but a red card was harsh."

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Arsenal also picked up injuries to Theo Walcott, who was stretchered off with his left arm in a sling, Emmanuel Adebayor and Bacary Sagna.

The Gunners now sit fourth in the table and trail Chelsea by six points.

Defeat at the Britannia Stadium came just days after rivals Tottenham scored two late goals to snatch a 4-4 draw at The Emirates.

And Wenger admitted: "We lacked sharpness. It was very difficult. You could see that Stoke, physically, were a bit stronger than us.

"And we conceded goals that Stoke are strong at. We lost many players and had a red card."

Arsenal play Fenerbahce in the Champions League on Wednesday and Manchester United in the Premier League next Saturday.

"It is an opportunity to show how strong we are," said the Gunners manager.

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see also
Stoke 2-1 Arsenal
01 Nov 08 |  Premier League
Arsenal 4-4 Tottenham
29 Oct 08 |  Premier League
Saturday's football photos
01 Nov 08 |  Football
Premier League as it happened
01 Nov 08 |  Premier League
Hero or zero?
01 Nov 08 |  Premier League


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