Tue, Jan 02, 2018 - Page 16 News List

Angry Wenger pans schedulers, referees


Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger on Sunday hit out at the English Premier League fixture schedulers, who he claims have handed Chelsea an advantage ahead of their derby tomorrow.

Wenger launched a tirade against the fixture list and the standard of refereeing after his side were held to a 1-1 draw by West Bromwich Albion, with even Gunners legend Thierry Henry coming under fire.

Wenger broke Alex Ferguson’s record of 810 Premier League games as a manager, but he was in no mood to celebrate as he looked ahead to his side’s next game.

“You cannot give West Brom five days to prepare for a game like that when we have three,” Wenger said. “I am ready to play every day as long as our opponent has played the same time recovery over Christmas. It is not normal. We have the same problem against Chelsea. They played yesterday, we played today, they have one day more again.”

A late penalty from Jay Rodriguez rescued a draw for West Brom after Calum Chambers was penalized for handball in a decision that even West Brom boss Alan Pardew admitted was “tough.”

“It wasn’t a penalty,” Wenger said. “It was not a deliberate handball. He [Chambers] didn’t lift his hand. It was down. Where do you put your hands? You have no pockets in your shorts. The referee has not seen it. That’s my opinion, he will tell you that he has seen it. Ask him. I don’t want to waste my time with them, we have to live with the decision, to deal with it and to swallow it, and go to the next game.”

Alexis Sanchez had fired Arsenal ahead on 83 minutes with a deflected free-kick and celebrated with his teammates just days after the lack of a group celebration for a Sanchez goal against Crystal Palace had prompted TV pundit Henry to claim there were splits in the camp.

“I don’t listen to what he [Henry] says,” Wenger said. “I focus on our own problems. That is the important thing. All these people are paid to talk, and it is difficult always to talk and talk and talk, and only say things that are true and intelligent.”

West Brom have still not won in seven games under Pardew, who sympathized with Wenger over the late penalty.

“I’d be very upset if it was given against me,” Pardew said. “It was a tough penalty... I can understand Arsene being very angry about that, but we deserved it.”

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