Danny Higginbotham believes Arsene Wenger's comment that Stoke players are 'cowards' is out of line.
Wenger took a swipe at City's hard tackling following injuries to Emmanuel Adebayor and Theo Walcott in Arsenal's shock defeat at the Britannia Stadium.
But the former Sunderland defender has hit back at the claims, telling the Daily Express: "The accusation of cowardice hurts players. It's a very extreme line to take.
"But managers, like players, are entitled to their opinion. What we have to do is turn it around and take it as a compliment because I don't think we'd be having this conversation if we'd got beaten by Arsenal.
"They are one of the best teams in Europe, but we deserved to win last Saturday. Wenger admitted that afterwards, and that was very gracious of him.
"What happened a few days later with his comments... we don't want to take any interest in that.
"I am yet to meet a player who has gone out intentionally to hurt a fellow professional."
Referees' chief Keith Hackett has assured Stoke boss Tony Pulis that officials will not be influenced by Wenger's accusations.
"It's a laugh saying we are the Dogs of War," added Higginbotham.
Stoke's impressive home form has kept them adrift of the drop zone but The Potters will have to improve on their travels starting on Saturday at Wigan, after only one point in five away games.
Pulis is eager to put an end to those statistics, saying simply: "We haven't won away yet and it would be nice to put that to bed."
Meanwhile Latics manager Steve Bruce is keen for his side to not be another victim to the long throw of City's Rory Delap - which has proved a deadly weapon against the likes of Aston Villa, Sunderland, Everton, Portsmouth and especially the Gunners.
"I haven't seen anyone throw it like this boy. It's pretty clear what you have to do. You have to stick your head in there and be prepared to get hurt now and again," noted Bruce.