Wenger deflects dive blame from Sterling to officials

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Arsene Wenger has taken another swipe at the standard of the Premier League’s referees and reiterated his belief that Manchester City’s Raheem Sterling dived to win a penalty in Arsenal’s recent 3-1 defeat at the Etihad.

Michael Oliver pointed to the spot three minutes after half time after the England international went down under pressure from Nacho Monreal; a decision that caused consternation on the Gunners bench.

Speaking to beIN Sports about the incident, the boss was keen to divert blame away from Sterling and towards the officials, whose overall quality he feels is deteriorating.

“I didn’t say it [that he dived], in a negative way. I said he used the fact he was in front of our defender to dive and he dived. In a few years, he will say that as well. In the heat of the moment, of course, he will deny it. He used well, in his position, to get in front.

“A penalty is a deliberate foul in the box, it’s not a provoked foul in the box, that’s where the difference is and in a big game like that you have to look at the defender and what he’s doing, not at what the striker is doing. The striker will always go down.

“If it was one of my strikers, he would have gone down certainly as well. He is not to blame, Raheem Sterling, he used his advantage to fool the referee. That’s what he did. I don’t blame Raheem Sterling, I just say for me, it was a dive.”

Asked whether he’d applaud one of his players for winning a penalty under similar circumstances, Wenger admitted he would, while also taking another shot at the quality of the officiating in England.

“Of course, of course. He used the naivety of the referees in a positive way. That’s why I said the referees don’t work, they don’t do their homework.

“The referees are professional in England, it’s one of the few countries where they are professional, look at their schedule and look how many will go to the World Cup. Then you have the answer.”

Despite suggestions, he might get a slap on the wrist from the FA for his post-match comments about the referee, Wenger made clear that he’d continue to speak his mind on the subject.

“I don’t mind [if they punish me]. I’ve been in the job 35-years and that won’t change my mind or change the way I think. In this game, we conceded a penalty that wasn’t a penalty and an offside goal that was an offside goal. They should better look at themselves rather than blame other people for comments who have to absorb those wrong decisions and stand up for it.”

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94 Comments on "Wenger deflects dive blame from Sterling to officials"

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Antgoon

I was going to say he’s starting to sound silly but he’s been that way for years now.

Moonie

Grow up and quit being negative all the time.

Martin

Not being negative. Justifiably angry about 2 appalling decisions

Salman

muddled thinking, muddled tactics. How can he still claim that it was a dive and not a penalty? he needs to stop going on about referees and other players and focus on his own game. He has fallen so far below the standard needed to win the title it is depressing.

adgonner

Can’t believe there are so many thumbs down for anti Wenger comments

Hermitian

Yup, he’s only our best ever manager. Go figure!

Too Drunk To Be Offside
Too Drunk To Be Offside

Wenger Version 1 was the greatest ever manager at the club. Wenger version 2, one of the more mediocre ones.

Hermitian

See Martin above for a good reply to your type(s) of comment(s), but, in all honesty, I find your post hilarious – not unlike many posts here 🙂

You seem to split the manager’s history with us into two parts, but for some reason don’t seem to that interested to look for the reasons. Instead, you put it down to a mysterious change in his ability.

Are you sure that you’re on the right track?

Martin

I agree but toxic fans will always forget the transformation he brought to the club. Should have left with dignity after the Cup Final last season but is unquestionably the greatest manager we have ever had. 3 Premier league titles including 2 doubles and undefeated season 7 FA CUPS and kept us in Champions League for 20 years.

Swerve

Toxic fans you say….

Your sort disgust me, embarrassed you are a Gooner.

Black and white, I’m right so you lot are toxic??

Let me guess we should all go and watch Spurs right?

You lot will die out soon as reality sets in (and are already in droves these last 2 years), and then claim you were always of two minds anyway.

Makes me bloody laugh.

Martin

I’ve been a gooner for over 50 years and am ashamed that toxic idiots like you cannot appreciate what Aw has done for this club.

clins

why is it that you being guys are still living in the past . he was and still is our greatest manager and no fan would deny that .

but if he is responsible for the success he brought to the club he should be equally resposible for the deafeats the club faced as a result of him and should be held accountabe for that. I’m not saying we should forget about the achiements the club had after him in the first moment of defeat . but if he is keep on staying that way and is not changing in any way then we have a problem . no one let alone wenger should have the job for life, particularly a job like that of managing a big club like arsenal .

Henry is the greatest striker arsenal has seen , does it mean that we should keep on playing henry even if he is 40 years old and scoring barely . that is what you guys are suggesting .

Swerve222

And now you put words in my mouth, as expected.

Who says you cannot appreciate what the man has done for this club and at the same time realise it has become his vanity project as a result of that and the unbridled and unqualified adulation people like you afford him.

He has done fabulously out of such a position where he has been given free reign without consequence unlike any manager in football before him. Some challenges along the way but also a lot of misdirection and excuses which some fall for all too easily and are now coming out in the wash as the justifications for those excuses is revealed not to have been as it was given.

You could have been a Gooner for 100 years and your attitude towards fellow supporters who disagree with you would still stink that doesn’t give you a free pass, or those amongst your likes.

Won’t be long until all these refs become greens and likely all of you will have some excuse ready.

ronaldo

you are so right, they are embarrassed to be a so called fan

Kwame Ampadu Down

And the other type of toxic fans will abuse anyone doesn’t agree with the do gooders. There are extremists taking over the arsenal debate but the ones at the ‘positive’ end of the spectrum are just as numerous.

Dan Hunter

Beg to differ… Graham was better

Greg

Difference of opinion. Crikey will this be respected!

kas

Yes, the interview in the Guardian last week sums it all up. Basically GG said ‘Every dog has it’s day, and Wenger’s ended what 10 years ago’ So why does the old FRENCH Millionaire feel entitlement? How many clubs does he have to moan about ‘I could have joined Madrid, Man U, Barca, PSG etc to justify him still being here?

ronaldo

he WAS, he aint now, a couple more losses and you will be jumping on the band wagon to get rid of him

PFo

I’m critical of Wenger but he’s clearly right in this case.

Kwame Ampadu Down

He’s right about the decisions in this game but very wrong when he talks as if the referees are always against us. Referees are shit, not biased…and saying they are biased is really poor stuff, worthy of the likes of Mourinho.

Goonerink

except there are numerous studies that show that the referee bias is either highly coincidental or in fact a bias against teams who play good football.

Kwame Ampadu Down

Are there? Where? Not being funny, I genuinely don’t know what you’re referring to.
Only thing like that I’ve seen is Untold arsenal which is beyond embarrassment. Awful stuff, awful website .

Salman

Apparently, more fans believe that Wenger’s tactics and thinking are not muddled, and he still maintains the standard required to win the title. I beg to differ. And it is still more depressing.

Goonerink

Not many people like the term diving, but translated into pundit language Wenger perhaps should have said “he felt contact and went down easily”

Victor

Wengers observation is that Sterling initiated, schemed the contact. He ran into the path of the defender and “contact” was inevitable. He cheated

Wild bill

Sometimes, the attacker cons the referee by initiating contact but not in this case. He has no obligation to avoid a clumsy defender clattering into him. Stonewall penalty and it was one of two penalties that City should have been awarded.

Eddie

The defender charged at him shoulder to shoulder. Thats where the contact was initiated. Sterling then took a dive and entagled his legs to Monreal on the way down. No stonewall penalty. Not a penalty at all

Rolo Toure

If you’ve ever seen a player slow down and wait for the contact from a lumbering defender (it happens about twenty times a game, all over the pitch), it’s rightly given as a foul every time. No-one questions the attacker then. He’s in possession and the defender is at fault for not being more careful. If the Monreal foul isn’t clear enough for you, watch Monreal bundle Sterling over to prevent a goal in the first half.

To blame the result on the officials is just absurd. We should focus more on the tendencies of players like Monreal, Koscielny and Monreal to give away dumb penalties.

Martin

Dumb penalty. A clear dive

pete

monreal koscielny and monreal?

Ben

Agree with Eddie below – not a stonewall penalty at all.. it was soft, and I can see why it was given .. but we never get the rub of the green, and other teams always seem to get it!

Kwame Ampadu Down

No, never Ben. Apart from v West Brom & v Norwich recently & in the cup final & in the cup semi final….

Martin

Nonsense. A clear dive

Billy Dyer

Watch the incident again. Sterling was already on his way down by the time Nacho touched his leg!!!

Martin

Sterling would’ve scored if monreal hadn’t knocked him over. I wonder what arsene thought about the earlier incident when sterling was pushed into the net when he had a tap in. Or maybe he didn’t see it.

Martin

It must be confusing to have 2 different Martin’s giving opposing opinions. It was a clear dive as Monreal made hardly any contact and I suppose you think the 3rd goal wasn’t offside?

Eddie

More like he went down and made sure there was plenty on contact

PFo

Right. Not only did he step across Nacho’s path, he dragged his leg in an unnatural way as he started going down, clearly initiating and playing for the contact (on his legs; the upper body contact was inevitable but wasn’t a foul).

Runcorn Gooner

In situations like Sterling was in a large number of players would go down because they might get a penalty but the diving committee could not penalise him because it’s not clear cut. The ref could go either way on them.

The same happened with Richarlison at Watford.

It’s only idiots like that Spurs moron Ali who dive every time a player is within 5 yards that they get caught.

Lula

I thought it was a penalty. The other goal was definitely offside. Refereeing has been terrible for years, no question.

But the thing I’m more concerned about is the fact that we’re sixth and look like the same group of players that couldn’t bag a run of good form for three months at the start of the year.

Billy Dyer

You watch too much of Alan Shearer. Not every contact is a foul

Victor

We were robbed. That’s the truth. I am sick and tired of fans who wouldn’t call it our because they are too obsessed with Arsene.
We weren’t the better team, but we could have got away with a draw, or with luck, a win.
The fact is that City scored only one legit goal (The KDB goal). We also happened to score one legit goal. There! A draw. A valuable point. Good for the morale and confidence of the squad too.

Loose_Cannon

Disagree that we were robbed, if we’re actually being honest City were much the better side and they still looked like they were in second gear. And if anything City should have had a penalty in the first half (Kolasinic on Sterling). Meanwhile how many meaningful chances did we have? How much pressure did we put them under? We should look at ourselves, not the refs.

kas

Were fighting for 6th place for F…… sake, how far as this old fool taken us on the road to nowhere to quote ‘Talking Heads’

Greg

Oh he didn’t mean it in a negative way!

We will never challenge for the title again with aw. I obviously don’t mean that in a negative way

Edzo

We won’t win the title again. Period. No matter who is our manager, the club will never spend like city, United or Chelsea. Spurs will never win it, either. The club won’t pay their stars and those players will eventually leave.

Money spent on players and money spent on wages will dictate what club wins titles.

Eddie

Hopefully you are wrong. And we can point to Leicester.

Donald\'s Trump

For fucks sake. Get a grip we are The Arsenal. We are fucking massive

ramgooner

Monreal goes shoulder to shoulder on Sterling and Sterling realizes he can neither control the ball nor outmuscle Monreal so he puts his left foot in front of Monreal and dives bringing down Monreal along with him. Since, Nacho was behind Sterling when this happened it looked as though Nacho shoved Sterling.
It was worse than the Richarlson dive. Retrospective punishment my @$$.

ginwillfixit

be serious…..
its a penalty all day long and there was also a penalty in the first half on sterling that hasnt been mentioned. Arsene needs to worry more about the fact city beat arsenal so easily in third gear

Toni

Third gear? What about Liverpool. Were they beaten in third gear? Secondly, you are being too biased. You are only seeing Wenger at fault. Despite your bias, you can very easily tell that Silva received the ball in an offside position and assisted the third goal. In football, that should not stand, but it did. Poor officiating.

Loose_Cannon

It shouldn’t have stood but Kos and Xhaka shouldn’t have been standing around either, hoping the linesman does his job. If they just played to the f**king whistle they’d have easily cut out that pass! It’s that kind of complacency that cost us the match, not the officials.

PFo

You seem to be under the false impression that it’s either/or: the fact that our players could’ve done better does nothing to change the fact that the officials ALSO were to blame for our loss.

Loose_Cannon

But I don’t blame the officials for our loss, I blame our performance. I’d get it if we were battering them but actually we were thoroughly outplayed apart from a couple of 10 minute periods. I think many people here are under the false impression that we deserved something from that game, we didn’t. I just wish we looked at ourselves and what we could do to improve as a team instead of trying to play the victim and blame everyone and everything else.

Billy Dyer

No, it wasn’t poor officiating (sarcasm).
Ref was not against us at all. Every time that Fernandinho cluttered Alexis, wasn’t even a foul.
Every time we just about touched any city players, yellow card was out in a split of a second

PFo

It’s not a penalty, for the reasons already stated above, and adding “all day long” to your claim doesn’t magically make it more convincing.

Wild bill

You have a lively imagination

Martin

So have you if you don’t believe Toni

Bob\'s Mexican Cousin
Bob\'s Mexican Cousin

That’s two dives their fucking new system was supposed to punish. I get the feeling that they fear the reaction from the cuntits if they call one a dive. I’d put my money on them suspending someone for the first time in a dead rubber match in March.

Eddie

Indeed

adgonner

Oh arsene.. you are so beautifully setting us up for yet another unsuccessful season.. season after season after season.. the same.. you really can’t see that the club is on the way down?

Ozenal

If this was end of season then the referees association might actually take a good look at themselves. But as with the board, they are in denial that anything is wrong. Decisions made out of fear… hmmm. You will get people playing on those fears.

Such as Sterling and soon to be out of contract player’s agents.

Both ruthless and both seeking advantage of those naive enough to keep burying their heads in sand.

Mootilated

”I didn’t say that he dived. I said that he used our defender to mask the fact that he dived.”

”So you’re saying he did dive?”

”…Maybe?”

KingKolo

What does any of that even mean? Wenger suggests Sterling would deny he’d dived in the heat of the moment as if he had not been the one who had accused the fella of diving in the heat of the moment.

Fatgooner

It was one of those that sometimes the ref gives and sometimes he doesn’t. But it wasn’t a howler like Wenger is trying to make out. The real scandal was the clearly offside third goal: I bet the lino was embarrassed when he say it on TV later.

Wenger should be asking himself why we are such a mediocre side, and not lambasting officials. But I suppose that will never happen.

Billy Dyer

Of course the referee was so embarrassed. And then he checked his bank balance if the money from the sheikh went in.
That game which ended 6:3 to city, we conceded another 2/3 illegal goals.

Kwame Ampadu Down

So who was paying the refs last year when a blatant pen for handball wasn’t given against Monreal in the 2-2 league draw or when Aguero’ s goal was ridiculously disallowed in the cup semi?

Gervinho

“(The FA) should better look at themselves rather than blame other people for comments who have to absorb those wrong decisions”

Instead of looking in the mirror and taking corrective steps (e.g. instant replay for offsides), they push a narrative that “it’s part of the game” and “they all even out over the season.”

But then again, they are accountable to nobody so why would they change?

Eddie

If it happens for Arsenal against one of the darling minnows, the whole will be told, over and over again, for months, by the same people refusing to call this one and deflecting to Wenger

Greg

It’s that bloody transfer windows fault I tell ya!

allezkev

Maybe Arsene has an eye on this weekends NLD and by repeating his criticism of the officials at the Etihad is also trying to heap some attention and pressure on the referee who’ll do the Spuds game?

Don Cazorleone

Interesting.

Especially as Mike Dean is refereeing.

Absolut

FFS. Bloody Dean. Expect the worst.

kas

Yep with Kane & Ali both recovered, please don’t blame Dean for this weeks Malaise

Ben

Totally agree with Wenger .. negativity and disappointment aside, he does have a point.. the ref’s always over-punish and under-protect us…
When we buy physical players, like all fans are crying out for, they are given red and yellows for fun..
We competed with Man City – we weren’t better, but weren’t much worse… that is football, the better side doesn’t always win (reference any game we lost against stoke, wigan, hull etc…)
But the point is, we COULD have won, if the ref wasn’t crap or biased

Support the team .. everyone else is against us, we don’t need our supporters to be as well

Wenger says and has said some daft stuff, but he is bang on here

Billy Dyer

At last someone has the same opinion. My hat comes off to you sir.
It must be something wrong with our pundits as well. Wright, Merson, Alan Smith, etc all jump the gun to criticise Arsenal. …
Yes, we were not at our best, but Wenger (for all my opinion that he should have quit years ago) has an absolute point with refs. They’re all (refs) very happy and quick to award penalties and red cards against us.
But people are detracted by hatred against Wenger.
Be a supporter! Not critic!

Sumeet

Specialist in deflection

Greg

He needs to be nowadays!

Don Cazorleone

Criticising Wenger on this site is to be expected.

But paraphrasing Mourinho to do it… Well that’s just a cardinal sin.

High gunner

I feel wenger is spot on

bob

I’m pretty sick of the narrative that “Oh there’s contact, so it must be a penalty”. Monreal has tried to use his strength and after the fact there has been a tangle of legs, but honestly I would like my defender to be challenging to put the attacker off there. After the initial shoulder to shoulder contact I would think that Sterling didn’t really have full control of the ball so he’s looked to go down, and yes he is exactly that kind of player. I know lots of people would say he has every right to go down there but frankly I think that’s bollocks that’s been repeated so much its stuck: you have the right to go down if you can’t stay up, you shouldn’t be looking to go down, if you are you are looking to simulate and that’s abusing the rules. Of course if one of our players did it I’m sure we would be happy but that’s exactly the point, the referees and those that uphold the rules across the league should really be saying bullshit to all of it, and it’s the standard of the refereeing, where players feel they have to go down and simulate to get anything, that has been the root cause of this. The implementation of the post-incident review had a chance to pretty definitively spell out that trying to “buy a penalty” is just plain wrong thinking from the start, for all teams including ours! But of course they bottled it. So I don’t think its wrong for Arsene to be outspoken about this – the standard of refereeing and what is allowed regarding penalties is bullshit and needs to be straightened out.

Greg

Shame the full interview isn’t on here. Presume that’ll be another article or two later today or tomorrow

Loose_Cannon

Might be unpopular here but I thought it was a penalty. A soft penalty but still a penalty, and Kolasinic was lucky to get away with the one on Sterling in the first half. Instead of blaming the refs, Wenger would be better off reflecting on his decision to play Coquelin at CB and leave Lacazette on the bench. That would be much more constructive.

Greg

Easier to blame everyone else though

Vonnie

Which is why we now have Mike Dean for NLD, why doesn’t Arsene just shut up sometimes. We know most referees don’t like us, but this behaviour from Arsene just makes it worse.

Don Cazorleone

Because someone needs to put the spotlight on just how bad the level of refereeing is.
I mean, it really is fucking dire.
There is no accountability at all, refs don’t have to publicly explain anything, managers get fined if they question them, pundits are instructed to sympathise with them, and the FA is resistant to video assistance.

For me, it’s one of the main things that is ruining football at the moment. More so than the money.

Vonnie

I personally think that a lot of the premier league referees are useless and some are corrupt, but Arsene carrying on like that isn’t going to help the team. There are other teams suffering as well, why don’t they get together and put some pressure on the FA? PGMOL is a secret society that doesn’t answer to anybody. I agree that referees are ruining football at the moment, and it’s very strange that Sky and BT sports pundits will always support the referee decision, or sweep it under the carpet when it’s wrong, unless it’s against one of the favoured teams of course.

Billy Dyer

Exactly.
The Sky, BT & BBC have favourites. Liverpool, Manchester’s (both), Sp@rs, Chelsea.
If that incident (penalty) was reversed, the City defender would have done it to our striker, poundits would have said:
It’s a contact sport, Arsenal need to toughen up and stop being whimps. That was plain dive

P. Geertsma

Homework? I was under the impression that officials are supposed to make calls during the match, not before…

Dholio

Get over it Arsene. The officials and the lines people are only human and doing an outstanding job on a weekly basis. Just ask the Northern Irish. They’ll back up that statement!

Ausdrexler

I dont blame anybody except the rule makers. They have allowed players to deceive and manipulate officials for ever and a day and have done nothing to stop it. Until it becomes a case of players coping real suspensions for diving then it will continue forever and a day.
The 2 things I hate most about the game of football:
1. diving
2. Crowding the Referee when a decision goes against a team

I umpire regularly in field hockey, if a player or team of players want to surround me after a decision is made then they will be spending a bit of time in the sinbin. Football needs a sinbin rule.. temporary suspension during the game will sort a lot of the nonsense out.

Matt

How about your coaching standard Wenger? Pretty poor for a club like Arsenal. Can’t wait for this sorry manager to leave our great club and stop listening to these excuses for his failures!

Jeff

Please don’t miss the point. He’s deflecting, again. He plays coquelin at centre back. Leaves our most prolific striker on the bench (a player I presume wants to be at Arsenal) plays ozil & Sanchez who don’t want to be at Arsenal! But no, it’s never his fault, is it! He admitted he’d want his player to do the same, then moans when sterling does it. And yes the third goal was offside. So what, with the line up he picked and the lack of tactical nous, appeasing players he laughingly thinks will stay and the fact man city looked like they could go up a gear at any point, the decisions made no difference whatsoever.

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