sport

Penalty call spot on - Hughes

Mark Hughes was left puzzled by Arsene Wenger's claim that Stoke should not have been awarded a penalty against Arsenal.

Gunners boss Wenger felt referee Mike Jones made a bad decision when he pointed to the spot in the 76th minute of Saturday's Premier League clash at the Britannia Stadium.

Jon Walters managed to flick the ball up in the air on the edge of the area, and Laurent Koscielny handled. Whether the France centre-back intended to commit the offence or not was the central matter of dispute, but Walters stepped up to put away the penalty past Wojciech Szczesny.

Hughes told Sky Sports: "I just saw it as the ball bouncing around there, then it bounces up - it was awkward obviously for Koscielny, but it's clearly hit his hand. I'm surprised that Arsenal think it isn't (a penalty).. then again, maybe I'm not!"

Hughes' Potters have now added Arsenal to a list of Britannia Stadium victims this season that already included Chelsea and Manchester United.

"We seem to be making a habit of it," he added. "We've had some great results and good performances, and today was another one.

"I thought we were excellent from start to finish. We restricted Arsenal to very few opportunities. We had really good chances ourselves as well, apart from what was obviously a clear-cut penalty - I think there's no doubt about that.

"We're delighted. It's difficult when you go up against a team like Arsenal - they will try and probe and create, but I thought we coped fairly well with them. I thought we had more intensity and drive in our play than they did, and as a consequence we were able to nullify them quite easily."

Walters has a far from perfect record from 12 yards, but he looked composed as he sent Szczesny the wrong way.

"Jon will always put his hand up for penalties," Hughes continued. "He's missed a few, he's scored a few as well. It was a key moment in the game, and you need a calm head under those circumstances. He wasn't going to let anyone else have the ball, and he put it down and converted the chance with aplomb."

Next up for Stoke, who have risen to 12th spot, is a trip to Norwich in a week's time. They then entertain West Ham before travelling to Aston Villa and hosting Hull.

"We've got a number of games coming up now where we're up against teams in the bottom half," said Hughes. "If we can just get back-to-back wins, which is always vital in the Premier League, it gives you such a lift.

"We've got the potential to do that because we're a good side. We've proved that on a number of occasions this season, now we've got to put in another good performance next week."