Arsenal were relatively poor on Wednesday when they absolutely had to win, but the officials hardly helped.

The first Swansea goal came after an obvious foul on Mesut Özil wasn’t given, Arsenal didn’t defend the situation well enough but it still should’ve been a foul. Ashley Williams’ winner was netted from an offside position. It doesn’t excuse Petr Čech, but it is still a kick in the teeth.

These aren’t excuses at all. There are far more reasons Arsenal aren’t playing well (and they really aren’t, the refs don’t decide games) but it would be nice for the correct decisions to be given and the game won or lost on merit.

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 18: Arsenal Manager Arsene Wenger has words with Fourth Official Michael Oliver during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester City and Arsenal at the Etihad Stadium on December 18, 2011 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)
Wenger could be on Michael Oliver’s case on Saturday if decisions go against Arsenal again. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)


“We watched the game again we were a bit unlucky as well,” Arsène Wenger said on Friday morning. “The second goal was offside, the first was a blatant foul on Özil that was not given so even if we can only look at ourselves to correct the results everything went against us.

“I blame nobody I just give you the objective analysis of the game.”

The performance against Tottenham Hotspur in Saturday’s north London derby will determine the result, but officials can have a big impact too and it leaves a bitter taste when they don’t do their job well enough.

Wenger is anticipating a fierce atmosphere at White Hart Lane but believes his players can cope with that, and went on to put a little pressure on Michael Oliver who will be the man in the middle on Saturday lunchtime.

“What matters is what’s going on in the pitch, we’ve played very well in Europe.

“When we had the right performance we always got the right result, it’s down to the referee after that to make the right decisions.”