REUTERS – Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has praised his side’s ability to deal with Stoke’s “very direct” and “physical” approach in Sunday’s goalless Premier League draw at the Britannia Stadium.
The stalemate allowed Arsenal to return to the top of the Premier League table ahead of surprise package Leicester City on goal difference.
After acknowledging that Stoke had become a more technical side under Mark Hughes, Wenger believed the Potters had taken on a more direct approach often employed by former boss Tony Pulis.
“Stoke wanted to surprise us by playing a very direct game and made it very physical. We had to fight,” Wenger told reporters after the game.
“We expected them to play more on the ground but they decided to go the other way and we dealt quite well with it.”
Hughes played down Wenger’s claims of excessive physicality, highlighting the fact that Sunday’s game passed without a single caution being issued.
“I don’t think there was a yellow card, was there?” Hughes asked.
“I don’t know why the physical aspect of the game needs to be mentioned. I thought it was a good football game, with both teams trying to win a key Premier League game. That’s certainly what we were doing.”
(Reporting by Shravanth Vijayakumar in Bengaluru; Editing by John O’Brien)