Saturday, 2nd February, 2013

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger believes that Stoke gave Theo Walcott the physical treatment today, but saluted the way the England international coped with it.

Wenger’s men beat the Potters 1-0 at the Emirates Stadium, with a goal from Lukas Podolski, a second-half substitute, earning the hosts the victory and three precious points. Podolski had a deflection to thank for the goal, as his free-kick went in off Geoff Cameron in the 78th minute.

It was though no more than Arsenal deserved, with Wenger’s side having come through the physical battle and registered 15 attempts on goal to Stoke’s six.

And while the French tactician did not have any complaints about Stoke’s physical style of play, he did feel his side needed to rise to the challenge in that aspect of the match, singling Walcott out especially for praise.


"There were some heated moments, I don’t think there was anything exceptional in the tackles", Wenger told his club’s official site.

"Theo Walcott got good treatment today, but I am very happy because the way he responded to it was with full commitment and desire to impose himself.

"That is where you see that Walcott has become a different player recently."

New Arsenal signing Nacho Monreal received a real introduction to English football, with a clash of heads resulting in some serious bleeding for the Spaniard. And Wenger thinks the left-back handled it well.

"There is no better culture shock than Stoke when you come from Spain!", he said.

"They had a very physical game and I think he dealt well with it."

The three points puts Arsenal on 41 points, just one away from the top four.

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