Nacho Monreal celebrates debut as Arsenal win 1-0 over Stoke City
Lukas Podolski's 78th minute winner, which came in controversial circumstances, moved Arsenal into fourth spot and Monreal impressed in his side's stubborn defensive efforts to keep the Potters at bay.
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger was quite pleased with the performance of his newly bought fullback Nacho Monreal. The left back performed brilliantly as Arsenal recorded a 1-0 win over Stoke City this weekend.
A 78th minute strike from Lukas Podolski was the only goal of the game that helped Arsenal acquire their 11 victory in the Premier League this season. The Emirates boss praised all of Arsenal’s defenders in his post-game press conference with special praise for the debutant Nacho Monreal.
“There's no better culture shock than Stoke when you come from Spain, because of course they have a very physical game, and I think [Monreal] dealt well with it,” Arsene Wenger said. “The satisfaction is that Monreal had a good start for a player who just arrived yesterday and is in the team today. He had no time to think about it, but overall I felt he got stronger and stronger during the game.”
Any defender brought to England has to get used to the physicality of the English Premier League. Nacho Monreal had to undergo a similar experience, something he accomplished with success.
Meanwhile, Stoke City manager Tony Pulis ruled Lukas Podolski’s strike as a contentious one. According to Tony Pulis, Arsenal players pulled a fast one over match referee Chris Foy in order to hide the offside run from Theo Walcott. On the other hand, Arsene Wenger claims since Theo Walcott was inactive in the play Lukas Podoloski’s goal was completely justified.
“I haven't seen it from the bench - what happened,” Arsene Wenger said. “I thought the linesman had given offside, I couldn't see anything else, or maybe somebody from us had handled the ball, that's all I could think.
“But in fact I have heard that Walcott was offside but he was not interfering with the game, then it's a normal goal. Who wouldn't do that? I am sorry if we did that, but we were trying to understand why the linesman disallowed the goal. We didn't do it in an aggressive way.”
The game had a lot of intense moments, such as late and deadly tackle from Ryan Shawcross on Laurent Koscielny and Michael Owen’s attempt to punch Mikel Arteta. In spite of all the drama, nothing serious was done. Arsene Wenger praised the cool and calm attitude from his side and hoped no bad memories would be remembered from the day.
“There were some heated moments, I don't think there was anything exceptional in the tackles,” Arsene Wenger said. “Theo Walcott god 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.
“They [Stoke] know that we try to play a game based on movement and technique and they oppose us with a very strong defense... Overall it was a physical game with a team who tries to get some points and we expected that. We prepared mentally for that.”