Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger says his inexperienced defence was behind his side’s disappointing 3-2 defeat against Stoke City yesterday.
For the large part, the North Londoners were excellent in defence during their two wins and much has to do with the renewed defensive partnership of Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny.
The latter has only recently come back from a long-term injury sustained on International duty in September, and boss Wenger felt it would be best not to risk him for the clash against the Potters.
While the intentions of resting Koscielny was thoughtful, it ultimately proved a costly decision as the visitors were blown away by the host’s dominant first-half showing.
The Gunners’ back five – including the goalkeeper – was an average age of just 23 and Wenger revealed to reporters after the game it was their inexperience which proved the telling factor.
“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,” he told Arsenal.com.
“We were altogether maybe a bit soft to cope with what they offered us. That shows that in every single game you have to be committed and focused from the first minute onwards.”
“We were a bit unlucky because the third goal was a foul on the corner. Still, we were defensively not good enough today.”
The defeat leaves the Gunners in sixth spot in the table, two points behind rivals Manchester United in fourth and 13 points adrift of league leaders Chelsea.