Wenger under more pressure post Arsenal's 3-2 loss to Stoke

Arsene WengerJohannesburg, Dec 07 : Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has reportedly come under more pressure as his side suffered a 3-2 loss to Stoke City on Saturday in their Premier League clash.

English striker Peter Crouch, Spaniard Bojan Krkic and Republic of Ireland striker Jonathan Walters had put Stoke in complete control at half-time and only a controversial decision from referee Anthony Taylor midway through the second half denied Mark Hughes' side a four-goal lead.

Taylor's ruling threatened to be a major talking point when two quickfire goals from Santi Cazorla, from the penalty spot, and Aaron Ramsey gave Arsenal hope, however the dismissal of Calum Chambers ruined the visitors' momentum, Sport24 reported.

A point would have flattered Wenger's squad after a catastrophic first-half showing as they missed the chance to move into the Premier League's top four.

Stoke's win continued their excellent home record against Arsenal, making it five victories and two draws from their eight league matches against them at the Britannia Stadium.

The ease with which Stoke beat Wenger's team is reportedly sure to see more questions being raised over the Frenchman's tactics.

Surely even Hughes could not have dreamt up such a perfect start as his team seized the lead within just 19 seconds, with Crouch neatly laying the ball off to Steven Nzonzi, wide on the right, before continuing his run into the box and as Hector Bellerin, a surprise inclusion, lost his footing at the crucial moment he fired the shot into a virtually empty net with goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez already wrong-footed.

Next it was Bojan's turn to get on the scoresheet as, with 35 minutes gone, he expertly stole in at the near post to exquisitely volley home Walters' whipped right-wing delivery.

Walters then trebled the lead on the stroke of half-time, lashing in at the far post after a Bojan corner fell invitingly for him to complete a stunning first 45 minutes from Hughes' team.

Then Arsenal's Cazorla converted the 68th-minute penalty despite the best efforts of Asmir Begovic, who guessed correctly. Begovic saved well from Welbeck's first-time effort as Arsenal finally embarked on a period of dominance and, from the resulting corner, Ramsey volleying in Alexis Sanchez's delivery from the edge of the penalty area to make it two goals in as many minutes.

The momentum swung back towards Stoke, however, when Chambers was red carded in the 79th minute for a second bookable offence following a shirt tug on Bojan and it proved pivotal as Stoke hung on to complete a memorable victory, the report added. (ANI)