Arsene Wenger has admitted that we weren’t anywhere near our best against Dinamo Zagreb this past Wednesday night, but also believes that poor refereeing played a large part, as reported by the BBC.
Our Champions League campaign got off to a horrendous start, crashing to a 2-1 defeat against the group’s supposed minnows. We seemed to drastically underestimate the Croatian side, and as a result were found seriously lacking.
We looked to be in the ascendancy in the early stages, but were quickly brought down to earth when we switched off for a moment and conceded. Things were then made worse when Olivier Giroud was sent off – his first yellow for descent and his second for a very soft foul.
Wenger spoke after the game, and was clearly not happy with the referees decisions.
“I believe the first goal is offside and after the sending off is very harsh,” he said.
“We were not at our best, but nor was the referee.
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“The first yellow is Giroud’s fault because he protested, even if it was not a foul against him.
“The second yellow card, he is unlucky to touch the guy – he did not see him. It was accidental completely, but it happened.
“I don’t understand the referee. It has to be on purpose, a foul on purpose. Then the referee should have given many yellows.”
It certainly was a poor night from the referee’s perspective, but that isn’t enough of an excuse. We were downright terrible throughout the game, and can’t expect to beat anyone if we play like that.
A lot of the blame is going to fall on Giroud, but practically the whole team were at fault. The French forward was very unlucky to be sent off, but he should have known he was walking a tightrope.
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There is no excuse for playing that way, and the players battling for a starting spot – Kieran Gibbs, Mathieu Debuchy, and Mikel Arteta – should be particularly disappointed with their performances.
Wenger was right to rest players for our trip to Chelsea this weekend, but we really need to perform better if we are to have any hope of challenging for titles this season.