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Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 September 2018

Wenger hits out at 'cruel' Arsenal schedule as Pulis accuses Sanchez of cheating

Two goals from Alexandre Lacazette on Monday night ensured three points for the London club against West Bromwich Albion.

Alexandre Lacazette scored both goals for Arsenal in the 2-0 win over West Bromwich Albion in the Premier League on Monday night. Dylan Martinez / Reuters
Alexandre Lacazette scored both goals for Arsenal in the 2-0 win over West Bromwich Albion in the Premier League on Monday night. Dylan Martinez / Reuters

Arsene Wenger has criticised the "cruel" schedule that forces Arsenal to play three games in the space of seven days while West Bromwich Albion counterpart Tony Pulis has accused Alexis Sanchez of "cheating".

Wenger's side eased to a 2-0 win over West Brom in the Premier League on Monday thanks to Alexandre Lacazette's double at the Emirates Stadium in London.

But Wenger and his players had little time to reflect on that success before they board a flight to Belarus for Thursday's Europa League clash with Bate Borisov.

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Once that trip is out of the way, Arsenal have been given only 48 hours to recover before they are due to host Brighton in another important Premier League fixture early on Sunday afternoon.

Asked if he would field a weaker team against Borisov in Europe's second-tier tournament, Wenger said: "I have a decision to make. At the moment I would say the schedule for us is a bit cruel.

"We play Monday night, we play in Borisov on Thursday, and we play Sunday morning. We have to accept it, but I will go with a team of senior players and certainly a young bench.

"There's no need to talk to the Premier League because it is television who decides. For the team selection it has an impact."

With four goals since his close-season move from Lyon, France striker Lacazette is starting to repay his hefty price tag, and Wenger is happy to see Arsenal's record signing adapt quickly.

"He's not only a goal scorer, his link up play is good, he fights as well," Wenger said. He's not fazed by the physical challenges West Brom gave us. Overall he adapts very well."

Pulis, meanwhile, was left fuming after the match following referee Bobby Madley's decision not to award a penalty when Jay Rodriguez appeared to be fouled in the first half.

"Obviously we believe it's a penalty, but we haven't had a penalty for over a year," Pulis said. "Facts are facts. The great thing is that everybody has seen it.

"He still wanted to score but once he has missed the referee should pull it back. It could be a penalty and they could have a player sent off so we not only score but are against a team down to 10 players."

Pulis also accused Chilean forward Sanchez of cheating to earn the free-kick that led to Arsenal's opening goal.

"The disappointing thing is Sanchez falls for the first free kick, that's cheating," Pulis said. "Jay is very honest and does not get rewarded. Everyone saw what happened. Sanchez actually dives for the first free kick and he should be booked for diving.

"Then you see the tackle in the box. The referee had a great view. Everyone has seen it and can make their minds up."

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