The Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger and Wolves Mick McCarthy both ripped into referees after yesterday’s 1-1 draw at the Emirates, but for completely different reasons!
McCarthy was totally upset that he had to play the last 20 minutes with ten men after Stuart Atwell sent off Nenad Milijas and believes that the hostile atmosphere at the Emirates influenced his decision-making.
“I think that rarefied atmosphere out there is a difficult place to work in whether you are a player, coach, manager, referee or an assistant,” said McCarthy. “It’s pretty pressurised out there and I think there was a lot of pressure on him to do it.
“Whenever the ball was in our box, it was an appeal for a handball or a foul because their fans are desperate to win and not have the indignation and upset of being held to a point by lowly Wolves.
“I think my players conducted themselves particularly well all through the game. I don’t think it was a sending-off or that they remonstrated too badly with him.”
As for the sending off, McCarthy was adamant that it should never have been a red card: “Not while I have got a hole in my bum!” he said. “He has got his foot on the ground, makes contact with the ball. I don’t think he leaves the ground. Somebody said to me he has got his studs up but you genuinely do if you tackle with your foot sliding in.”
It was suggested that Alex Song committed two worse fouls without punishment, but McCarthy refused to say that he should have gone off as well.
“I just don’t want mine sent off when they don’t deserve it,” he said. “I’m not one that shirks challenges. Have you ever seen me play? It’s part of the game. It’s so exciting and if you take it out it won’t be the same.”
On the other hand, Arsene Wenger believes that referees never give Arsenal blatant penalties, and although he complained about yesterday’s incident he also took the oppoprtunity to say that the Gunners should have had one against Man City which ended in a 1-0 defeat.
“I’ve heard that it was a penalty, yes,” said the Arsenal manager. “What can I do? It looks like for us to get a penalty you have to fight very hard. I saw the Manchester City handball and it was definitely handball. The decisions are not going in our favour.”
So basically Wenger is saying that referees have cost Arsenal three points just in the last week. They would have come in rather handy too……