Speaking to the press after Arsenal’s draw against the Spurs, Arsene Wenger was vocal about certain parts of the game. Claiming that Arsenal deserved the win, he also accused Tottenham of time wasting, and indicated that the penalty decision should have gone his way as well.
The Arsenal manger was understandably disappointed, as his team had to come from behind to salvage a point, even though they dominated for most of the game. The fact that this was a home game played in front of a partisan Emirates crowd makes it even worse.
He also alluded to the fact that time wasting was not punished by referees and made it clear that time wasters should be carded more often. Given below are some of his responses.
On whether it was frustrating to get just one point:
I think, if you look at the shots on goal Tottenham had and the amount of time they had the ball, they can say they have got a great result today.
Yes, it’s the kind of game that you win if you don’t give a goal away. They waited for us, defended deep to catch us on the break, and we had about 70 per cent possession. You have to be patient without making the mistake. We also had a handicap because we lost two players early in the game and we were restricted to just one change when we had complete control of the game in the final 30 minutes. I had only one option to bring on going forward and that is not enough in a game like that.
On Tottenham’s goal and their defence:
Yes, we lost the ball in our half. But I must give credit to my team because once again we came back and we put a huge effort in with a high workrate all together. It’s one of the few times that we’ve had so much possession against a Tottenham team since I’ve been here, but they defended well. You have to give them credit. Younes Kaboul and Jan Vertonghen did well, as well as Hugo Lloris. They took every second they could again, to make the game last as little as possible. I would like to see the referee deal with that in the proper way for once.
On whether the Spurs wasted time:
They tried to make it as simple as possible – they tried to gain time. Slowing the game down is normal and I understand it completely. But the referee’s there to make the flow of the game respected and I would like an English referee to do it for once. People pay money in the stands to watch football. It’s as simple as that. It’s only a respect of the people who pay money to watch football.
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Book them straight away [if they waste time]. When the keeper gets the ball and walks from one side of the goal to the other side to keep the ball out, give him a yellow card and then the next time he’ll take it where the ball is.
Arsenal had a rather strong penalty appeal turned down, and Wenger made it clear that he believed it to be the wrong decision:
I think it was [a penalty] but the referee decided it wasn’t, so you should ask him why.
The penalties in the rule book are not decided on the intensity of the appeal. [However,] It can influence [the referee’s decision].
Another question was why Alexis Sanchez, who has probably been Arsenal’s best player this season, was kept on the bench. Wenger refused to be drawn on the subject, keeping his reply short.
It was selection of the day. There were no medical reasons.
Even though Arsenal remain unbeaten so far, their performances include four draws, including come from behind results against Everton and the Spurs. As such, it is hardly the ideal start to the season for a team that wants to challenge for the title.
It’s frustrating. I think the positive is that we are unbeaten but the negative is that we’ve missed four points from the quality of the games we’ve played. Somewhere we have to keep that unbeaten record and I think at some stage we will win the games instead of drawing. I think today we would have won had we not conceded the first goal.
Arsenal face a real test next week as they travel to Stamford Bridge to face League leaders Chelsea. The Blues are also unbeaten, but have won five of their six fixtures so far and are the odds on favourites to win the League. A positive result there could be the required impetus for Arsenal to get their title challenge back on track, and would give the players a massive boost of confidence.