Arsene Wenger has criticised the quality of the refereeing during our aggregate loss against AS Monaco on Tuesday night, claiming that Svein Oddvar Moen had a poor first half in particular, as reported by the Daily Mail.
It’s difficult to throw any blame the referees way, as our Champions League exit was largely a result of giving ourselves too much to do after our poor first leg.
He certainly didn’t have a good game however, and there were a number of small decisions that didn’t go our way.
Alexis Sanchez felt he should have had a penalty in the first half, after going down in the box under a Nabil Dirar challenge. But not only did Moen ignore his penalty pleas, he booked the Chilean for diving as well.
It was unquestionably a soft challenge, and our summer signing appeared to be looking for it. It certainly wasn’t a dive however, and the yellow card for one of our hardest working players severely limited his defensive impact throughout the game.
On top of booking our man, the official failed to hand out cautions to any Monaco players in the first half – despite a number of fouls throughout.
The Ligue 1 side were constantly looking to break up play and interrupt our attacks with small innocuous looking fouls. Individually they were arguably not worth yellow cards, but Moen clearly wasn’t keeping count and was content to let them continue.
Wenger was seen talking to the referee at the end of the first half, and explained his actions following the game.
“I think his (Moen’s) first half was very poor,” he said.
“I just told him half-time that I was not happy with some decisions.”
Monaco can’t really be blamed for trying to waste time and continually interrupt the game. It’s a legitimate tactic, and something I often wish Arsenal would do a bit more of.
The referee needs to keep tabs on the repeat offenders however, and issue warnings so that they are less inclined to keep at it for the entirety of the game.