Arsene Wenger has criticised referee Martin Atkinson for his performance during Arsenal’s defeat to Chelsea in the Premier League on Sunday, ESPN
Wenger felt that Arsenal should have been awarded a free-kick in the build-up to Chelsea’s first goal after Ramires challenged Francois Coquelin, while the manager also believed the Brazilian midfielder dived to win the penalty that Frank Lampard converted to score the Blues’ second goal.
In his post-match interview with the television broadcaster Ramires appeared to admit he fouled Coquelin, while Wenger claimed that the referee’s inconsistent decisions cost Arsenal, although he also reserved criticism for the performance of his players.
Wenger said: “The referee gave a lot of free-kicks today, and some much less than the Coquelin one. It’s frustrating. It doesn’t mean we should have conceded the goal but, in the big games, these decisions have big implications.”
The Frenchman also conceded that goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny could have been shown a straight red card when he was adjudged to have fouled Ramires, as even though Wenger did not believe it was a foul – he went so far as to suggest Ramires dived – he felt that once the referee has signalled for the penalty the lack of a red card was “surprising”.
Arsenal now find themselves seven points adrift of the top four of the Premier League in sixth, with local rivals Tottenham Hotspur holding on to the last Champions League qualification place. Fifth-place Everton can add to the three point gap between themselves and Arsenal by beating Southampton on Monday evening.
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