Arsene Wenger has continued his criticism of England’s referees.
Wenger hasn’t backed down from the comments he made following Arsenal’s 3-1 defeat to Manchester City. Back then, he labelled Raheem Sterling a diver, and claimed that the standard of refereeing goes down every year.
The FA didn’t deem his comments worthy of punishment, but may rethink that stance at the rate Wenger is going. In a recent interview with BeIN Sports, Wenger said: “[Sterling] used the naivety of the referee in a very positive way,” reports the Evening Standard.
“That’s why I said the referees don’t work, they don’t do their homework. They’re professional in England, one of the few countries. Look at their schedule and look at how many will go to the World Cup.”
Arsenal have suffered as a result of some dubious officiating this season. The two incidents against Manchester City are still fresh in the mind. Sterling made the most of contact with Nacho Monreal, while David Silva was certainly offside in the build-up to Gabriel Jesus’ goal.
Wenger reportedly ruffled a few City feathers with his comments about Sterling. His clarification wouldn’t have done him any favours, either. “I didn’t say that in a negative way, I said he used the fact he was in front of our defender [Monreal] to dive and he dived.
“In a few years he’ll say that as well. In the heat of the moment he’ll deny it. He used well 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 big games like that you have to look at the defender and what he’s doing, not what the striker is doing.
“The striker will always go down. If it was one of my strikers he would certainly have gone down as well. It was not to blame Raheem Sterling, he used his advantage to fool the referee. That’s what he did. I don’t blame Sterling, I just said it was a dive.”
Wenger has had many bans and fines during his career, so the prospect of any FA action against him isn’t worrying in the slightest. “I don’t mind. I am 35 years in the job, it will not change my mind. In this game we conceded a penalty that was not a penalty and an offside goal that was an offside goal,” he added.
“They should look at themselves rather than at other people, who have to absorb their wrong decision and stand up for it, and the comments they make.”
Arsenal will be hoping for a more competent refereeing display when they play Tottenham on Saturday – Mike Dean has been appointed, so make of that what you will. The game is bound to be difficult enough as it is without more decisions going against Arsenal.