x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Were Arsenal undone by the referee or is Wenger a hypocrite?

Wenger blames the referee when his own defence is shaky.

When Falcao quickly took an indirect free-kick to score a contentious winner for Porto, Arsene Wenger complained about the referee Martin Hansson. "It is difficult to understand how the referee can interpret that," said the Arsenal coach of the match-winner which further punished the Gunners goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski after he inexplicably picked up a Sol Campbell backpass in his area. "On an indirect free-kick, if you allow the team to play quickly, just five metres from the goal, how can you defend that? It was unbelievable and difficult to understand. It is completely inappropriate that he allows that in such a situation." Wenger's words, however accurate of the series of events, fail to resonate. Observers will remember his candid assessment of a quickly-taken free-kick by Thierry Henry, the former striker, which also led to the winning goal in a 2-1 Premier League victory against Chelsea three seasons ago.

"I don't agree with the rule because it's difficult to defend - but that is the rule," said Wenger at the time. "I feel that it was an intelligent exploitation of the rules. The goalkeeper has to adapt as well." Cesc Fabregas was more insightful and risked his manager's wrath when he said there own house was not in order. "When you concede these goals you cannot go anywhere, schoolboy goals, what can you do?" Do you agree with Fabregas or do you think Wenger has a reason to be unhappy?