Premier League

Arsenal’s Arsène Wenger unsurprised by ‘again a farcical decision on a penalty’

Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article titled “Arsenal’s Arsène Wenger unsurprised by ‘again a farcical decision on a penalty’” was written by David Hytner at the Emirates Stadium, for The Guardian on Thursday 4th January 2018 00.20 UTC

Arsène Wenger made the extraordinary claim that he knew beforehand his Arsenal team would be the victim of a “farcical” refereeing decision as he continued to rage against perceived injustice at the hands of officials.

The Arsenal manager watched his team draw 2-2 against Chelsea at the Emirates Stadium – thanks to a last-gasp Héctor Bellerín equaliser – but he was fuming when the referee, Anthony Taylor, awarded a penalty for the visitors, even though there was contact from Bellerín on Eden Hazard. The Chelsea forward scored to make it 1-1.

Wenger had been raging since the award of a controversial penalty against his team at West Bromwich Albion on Saturday, which in effect cost them two points. He has been charged by the Football Association for a post-match altercation with the referee, Mike Dean – he faces a touchline or stadium ban – but he not only vowed to contest that but launched a fresh complaint. “We got again a farcical decision on a penalty but we knew that, as well, before,” Wenger said. “So we have to deal with that. It is very frustrating that we are still sixth. Our recent performances have been top-quality but you have to say we have not been gifted with luck.

“I will contest my charge 100%. You can listen to every interview I did [after West Brom] and I stick to everything I said without any problem. I am 35 years in football.

“I know what I say after the game. And I stand up for what I said, no problem,” he said.

Wenger’s tone turned darkly conspiratorial when he highlighted how Tottenham Hotspur’s first goal in their win at Swansea City on Tuesday night had been offside while they also might have had Davinson Sánchez sent off.

“The referees get away with you, with the English press, always, no matter what they do,” Wenger said.

“You have watched the game last night. You couldn’t read a line about it today. So nothing will change. So we have to deal with that and to live with that.

“It was the Tottenham game against Swansea but nobody talks about it. So that means nothing will change.”

The Chelsea manager, Antonio Conte, said: “I must be honest, I didn’t see the penalty. We must have respect for the decisions of the referee.

“There’s frustration for coaches but we must accept the referee’s decisions.”

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