Wenger attacks ref as Man City send Arsenal home empty-handed
Gunners boss angry at offside goal as his team fall 12 points behind league leaders
05 November, 2017 — By Richard Osley
FA Premier League
MANCHESTER CITY 3 (De Bruyne 19, Aguero 19 pen, Gabriel Jesus 74)
ARSENAL 1 (Lacazette 65)
THE bad news for Arsenal fans: Manchester City were simply too good for the Gunners today (Sunday). The good news, or the consolation news, is that every other team will struggle to break through Pep Guardiola’s men. As early as Guy Fawkes Night, it is difficult to see any team overhauling his expensively-assembled team.
City’s billion pound eleven, however, did benefit from what looked like two refereeing errors at opportune moments. It meant Arsenal boss Arlene Wenger was largely able to sidestep questions after the match about his own decisions and focus instead on those made by referee Michael Oliver.
The home team were already ahead through Kevin De Bruyne’s angled drive, scored halfway through the first half, when Oliver ruled Nacho Monreal to have bundled Raheem Sterling soon after the restart. It was a 50/50, a messy tangle as Arsenal tried to stop Sterling but a soft call for a penalty nevertheless. Sergio Aguero scored the resulting spot kick by sending Petr Cech the wrong way.
Wenger summoned record signing Alexandre Lacazette from the bench and within ten minutes of arrival he had poked the ball through Ederson’s legs to make it a match again. And the Gunners boss had a point when he suggested his team was at least pressing for an equaliser when they were stunned to a concede a third, set up by David Silva and converted by another goalscoring sub, Gabriel Jesus. The Arsenal defence had gone into slow motion on the assumption Silva was offside – the replays showed he was – but the flag stayed down.
“The referees don’t work enough. The level drops every season. The decisions are just wrong,” Wenger told the BBC afterwards. “You have seen what I’ve seen.”
It was a raw decision by the officials and the Gunners could not respond on the pitch, the life fizzling out of the contest. It meant the talking point was on Oliver and his assistants rather than whether Arsenal, now 12 points behind City already in the league, can compete with Guardiola’s team.
Wenger was playing at least four players in spots which are not naturally their own position, with Nacho Monreal, a full back by trade, and Francis Coquelin, the fringe midfielder, playing in central defence alongside Laurent Koscielny.
You might think this means Arsenal do not have the resources to buy stellar central backs, but then again on the bench, for a crucial tie, sat Lacazette for the first hour. The most expensive player ever to sign for the Arsenal is not seen right to start against in this big fixture in the season, just as he wasn’t against Liverpool away. Curious just curiouser in the world of Arsene Wenger.
MANCHESTER. CITY: Ederson, Delph, Walker, Otamendi, Stones, Fernandinho, Silva D, De Bruyne, Sane (Silva B 87), Sterling (Gundogan 78), Aguero (Gabriel Jesus 62)
Subs not used: Danilo, Bravo, Mangala, Toure
ARSENAL: Cech, Belelrin, Kolasinac, Monreal, Koscielny, Coquelin (Lacazette 56), Xhaka (Giroud 78), Ramsey, Ozil, Iwobi (Wilshere 78), Sanchez
Subs not used: Debuchy, Macey, Elneny, Walcott