By Richard Clarke

Arsène Wenger was left with much to worry about after the loss at Stoke on Saturday but his biggest concern was the lack of chances his side created.

Arsenal conjured up just 14 shots in the defeat at the Britannia Stadium with only four on target, the lowest tally in any game this season.

After the game Wenger refused to decry Stoke’s tactics and defended his own team selection, however the greatest issue was that lack of incisiveness from his side.

“My biggest worry is that we did not create a lot,” he said. “We are not used to playing without creating chances and that is very frustrating.

“They scored on two throws and I know you never want that. But we could not express our strong side in the game, which is to create chances and get them out of position.

“I don’t approve or disapprove [of Stoke’s tactics]. They played the game they wanted and they played it very well. At the end of the day, they could express their strong points and we could not.”

Wenger made three unforced changes for the game, packing his midfielders with tacklers rather than technicians. It worked in the opening stages but unravelled after Ricardo Fuller scored from Rory Delap’s catapult throw-in after 10 minutes. Despite that, the Frenchman saw no option but to shuffle his squad.

“We have to rotate,” said Wenger. “Unlike Stoke we play in between [Premier League matches] and the games in the Champions League are very demanding. You cannot play with the same side.

“You can maybe if you play once per month but not three times a week so you rotate. We did play the taller players but the wind is quite strong in the stadium, it is open on one side.

“That makes our game a little more difficult.”

Copyright 2017 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to as the source
3 Nov 2008