Arsene Wenger: Football is becoming more like rugby

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Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has issued a timely complaint about heavy-handed opposition ahead of Saturday's lunchtime meeting with Blackburn Rovers.

The Frenchman has urged referees to take action to prevent football from becoming more like rugby.

Wenger is concerned that goalkeepers are not being given enough protection and has cited last week's example of Stoke City players regularly buffeting Tottenham keeper Heurelho Gomes as a case in point.

The Gunners lost 2-1 to Blackburn last season and after the match, Wenger was similarly upset with the treatment meted out to his goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski.

"I believe everybody looks at his squad and tries to find a way where the game is most efficient and we developed one way. It is not the only way, I respect every other way as long as the referees get the rules respected," said Wenger.

"I saw some pictures last Sunday. You cannot say any more it is football, it is rugby on the goalkeepers.

"The referees cannot go on and accept that.

"When you see how (Stoke's Ryan) Shawcross kicked Gomes, how (Robert) Huth pushed Gomes in the goal, you cannot say that is football any more.

"If the referees allow that you cannot accept that because that has nothing to do with the game.

"Apart from that, when a team play long ball and head the ball and become physical I accept that completely and I respect that.

"But it has to be in respect of the rules, that is all."

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