Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has slammed ‘unacceptable’ refereeing in the Gunners’ 0-0 draw with Sunderland at the Emirates on Saturday.
Arsenal could have drawn within two points of Manchester United on the English Premier League table with victory over the Black Cats, owing to United’s midweek defeat at Chelsea.
But the Gunners were left frustrated by a combination of stoic defence and poor decision-making by the officials, who failed to spot a clear penalty when Andrey Arshavin was pushed by Titus Bramble and wrongly disallowed a goal for offside minutes later.
Wenger, whose weary squad will travel to Barcelona in the Champions League on Tuesday, was left exasperated by the result but tipped them to rebound from the setback.
”It is another disappointment,” Wenger said.
”You do not want to have things going against you, but what can we do? Now we just have to focus on Tuesday night.”
”I am very happy with the performance, defensively we were very good and gave a lot physically, and I cannot fault the players’ attitude.”
“True, we lacked a bit of creativity and sharpness in final third, but had two decisions going against us today which punish us severely, especially the offside, which is not offside. To win this game 1-0 today was important.”
”Today’s result comes at a bad moment. Will it psychologically have such a big impact on the championship? I don’t think so.”
Quizzed about the decision not to award Arshavin a penalty, Wenger said: “He was pushed, of course he was pushed.”
“You see the penalties we get at Newcastle and you see these kinds of penalties not given.”
“But we have to take it on the chin and continue to fight. But it is absolutely disappointing and not acceptable.”
Sunderland boss Steve Bruce praised goalkeeper Simon Mignolet, who put in a man of the match performance to deny Arsenal’s persistent attacks.
“He has had a fantastic first season,” Bruce told Sky Sports.
“I think he played the first 11 or 12 games and to come out of the Belgian first division, he is only 22 years old, he looked very assured.”
“When he has produced a performance like has today, that will give him great confidence.”
“It is not a shock to us because we work with him every day. But there is a big jump from training ground to playing at the Emirates.”
“But he will be very, very pleased with that, I’m sure.”