Following Arsenal’s 3-1 defeat at Manchester City, Arsene Wenger didn’t have a lot of happy things to say. It is hard to blame him, honestly, because while Man City were clearly the more positive of the two sides, they were gifted a number of controversial decisions that helped seal the visitor’s fate.
Along with a few ungiven fouls, including one that nearly hobbled Aaron Ramsey, the second half goals were the clear standouts. Man City’s second goal came from the penalty spot, awarded after a shoulder to shoulder collision between Nacho Monreal and Raheem Sterling. Your feelings on this could derive from whether you believe the attacker or the defender should get the benefit of the doubt.
The third goal came shortly after Arsenal had clawed back into the match and were looking threatening, with David Silva clearly offside before assisting on Gabriel Jesus’ goal. It was, in short, a frustrating day for Arsenal.
Wenger made his annoyance clear in his post game interview to Sky Sports:
“I would say, overall, once again the referee made the decision today with a soft penalty and an offside goal. We are used to it. Last year we had two offside goals against us and now once again.
“I feel they don’t work enough. The referees don’t work enough, their levels drop every season at the moment. Overall, it’s unacceptable what happens.
“The physical level is very good, the decisions…the third goal, at 2-1 we are in the game, but he gives a clear offside goal. That kills the game for us. Last year, if you look back, we conceded two offside goals as well. Of course, they are a top team but that makes it even more difficult for you. The decisions were just wrong.
Refs have good games and bad games, much like players, so it’s hard to agree that the group of them are getting worse when never convinced of their consistency in the first place, but Wenger clearly found his pressure release. Whether or not the FA will look kindly on these comments remains to be seen.
He’s not wrong but one should never leave it up to the refs in the first place.