Tue, Nov 07, 2017 - Page 16 News List

City ‘hard to stop,’ Wenger says

ONCE IN A BLUE MOON:City have notched 10 wins and a draw, prompting speculation they could emulate Arsene Wenger’s 2003-2004 ‘Invincibles’

AFP, MANCHESTER, England

Manchester City’s Kevin de Bruyne scores against Arsenal in their Premier League match at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester, England, on Sunday.

Photo: EPA-EFE

Arsene Wenger on Sunday accepted leaders Manchester City would be “hard to stop” in their quest for the English Premier League title especially if they continued to get the rub of the green from referees.

The Gunners manager accused City forward Raheem Sterling of diving after he won a penalty in his team’s 3-1 victory over Arsenal at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester.

Veteran French boss Wenger was furious with the performance of referee Michael Oliver, who awarded the spot-kick and a dubious goal, which the Arsenal manager claimed was offside.

“I believe it was no penalty,” Wenger said. “We know that Raheem Sterling dives well, he does that very well, and the third goal was offside. I am very upset because at 2-1 we were in the game. The third goal was the killer and it is by coincidence that mistakes always go for the home team, as we know.

“It is unfortunate that the game finished the way it finished. I am disappointed. You can accept it if City win in a normal way, they are a good side, but this is unacceptable,” Wenger added after a match that left his side 12 points behind the league leaders. “Last season, we lost two offside goals and it has happened again. City will be hard to stop.”

City have 10 wins and a draw from their opening 11 league games this season, prompting speculation they could emulate Wenger’s “Invincibles” that went the whole of the 2003-2004 campaign without losing a league fixture.

“Look, can anyone stop them?” Wenger asked rhetorically. “It will be difficult this season with the way they have started, the way they are on a run, they quality they have.”

Wenger had grounds for complaint when Laurent Koscielny was judged to have brought down Sterling for Sergio Aguero to make it 2-0 from the penalty spot and television replays suggested he was especially hard done by as David Silva appeared offside before setting up Gabriel Jesus for City’s third goal in the 74th minute.

Kevin de Bruyne gave City the lead and while trailing 2-0, Arsenal were briefly given hope when substitute Alexandre Lacazette pulled a goal back.

City manager Pep Guardiola was understandably delighted to have beaten a title rival so emphatically.

After winning just two games against the top six clubs last season, City have already won all three this campaign, previously hammering Liverpool and outplaying champions Chelsea.

“All know is everybody can beat us, that is a principle in all sports,” Guardiola said. “It doesn’t matter what happens in the past. You can win the [UEFA] Champions League and lose the day after.”

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