‘Arsenal too easy to play against’ – Gerrard tears into title contender credentials

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A 1-0 reverse at the Britannia Stadium leaves the Gunners with a win and a defeat from their first two games

Arsenal came in for fierce criticism from England icon Steven Gerrard after folding to defeat against Stoke City on Saturday. 

Having started the 2017-18 Premier League season with a gripping 4-3 victory over Leicester City, Arsene Wenger's men showed little of the same fight as Jese Rodriguez's solitary strike decided the outcome at the Britannia Stadium. 

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The Gunners dominated possession, holding 77.3 per cent of the ball for their highest share since the 2003-4 season, but it was to no avail as they failed to break down a determined Stoke team. 

And for ex-Liverpool legend Gerrard, it was the team's deficiencies when they not in possession that ultimately decided the match against Wenger's side.

“To be a top team and compete for this Premier League, you have to be really good in possession – and Arsenal are, they’re a fantastic team," the former England midfielder said to BT Sport

"But to be a top, top side, you have to compete outside of possession, you have to be horrible to play against, Arsenal are too easy to play against.

“I thought the performance was typical Arsenal. Fantastic in possession and, yes, they created a lot of chances and on another day they could’ve scored a lot of goals. But just passive out of possession, not enough people who want to put their body on the line."

Gerrard then went on to give a curious further explanation of the defeat: that Wenger in fact has too much talent in his team!

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“It seems to me that Arsenal have too many technical, gifted players in the starting XI," he added.

"They need a couple of players in there with steel and aggression. Otherwise it’s going to look nice and they’re going to have loads of possession but they’re going to have more performances like this.”

Next up for Arsenal is a trip to Gerrard's former club Liverpool, who bounced back from an opening weekend draw against Watford with a 1-0 victory over Crystal Palace on Saturday .

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