Arsene Wenger has admitted that Arsenal were not effective in their defensive challenge during their 3-2 defeat against Stoke City on Saturday.
The Gunners were 3-0 down at half time as goals were Peter Crouch, Bojan Krkic and Jonathan Walters helped the Potters take the lead. The north London club came close to avoiding a defeat in the second half after scoring twice in two minutes.
However, Arsenal failed to find the third goal and the defeat was their first in the last four matches played in all competitions. The Gunners manager was disappointed with his side's performance and claims the Emirates club gave an early present to Stoke as Crouch scored in the first minute of the game.
"Stoke started strong and we were not decisive enough in our defensive challenges. From then on we gave them an early present and after that put a lot of energy into the game," Wenger explained.
"In the second half we had good opportunities to come back and we couldn't. Overall we put a lot of energy into this game like we always have recently and unfortunately we missed our start. We were slow at the back and when we started to respond it was too late in the game."
"They started strong, we have to give them credit for that. We were a bit inexperienced at the back - we couldn't play Koscielny or Monreal and we had Debuchy out as well. We were altogether maybe a bit soft to cope with what they offered us."
"They started strong, we have to give them credit for that. We were a bit inexperienced at the back - we couldn't play Koscielny or Monreal and we had Debuchy out as well. We were altogether maybe a bit soft to cope with what they offered us," he said.
Meanwhile, Arsenal defender Calum Chambers was sent off in the final quarter of the game. Wenger has questioned the referee's decision as the Frenchman believes it was a "bad decision" by the match official to give the marching orders to the former Southampton man.
"It was a bad decision. If Chambers has to go off today, I can watch with you the game and I'll find you five more players who should go," the Gunners manager stressed.
"I don't know. I don't want to comment too much on the referee's decision. Watch the game again and watch what happened on the pitch. I don't think that Chambers deserved to be sent off if compared to some other people who put arms and elbows in faces," Wenger added.