Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger says he ‘didn’t see’ controversial penalty incident asking: Do you want me to accuse English players of diving?
PUBLISHED: 23:11 15 March 2018 | UPDATED: 23:26 15 March 2018
Danny Loo Photography 2018
To use a famous quote it was dejavu all over again as Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger said he didn’t see the penalty decision which was the crucial turning point in the match as Arsenal beat AC Milan 3-1 and 5-1 on aggregate to progress to the last eight of the Europa League.
Milan’s Hakan Calhanoglu put the Rossoneri 1-0 up on 35 minutes with a stunning 30 yard curler past David Opsina.
However four minutes later Arsenal responded to the challenge by increasing their intensity which saw Welbeck charge into the box.
Ricardo Rodriguez – a Swiss team-mate of Granit Xhaka – struggled to get goalside of the onrushing forward. It was bad defending from the Zurich-born former Wolfsburg left-back and as he continued his diagonal run across Welbeck the Arsenal forward fell to the ground.
Yet at first glance it looked like a harsh penalty – and the second and third views didn’t change any minds.
However, when quizzed after the match long-serving boss Wenger reverted to an answer that was his stock-in-trade during his early years at the club, replying that he ‘hadn’t seen it’.
He then learned forward conspiratorially with a wry smile and added: “Do you want me to accuse English players of being divers?”
When asked if his team had turned a corner he said: “It’s true this year we struggled but we are four times in the cup final over the last few years.
“When you lose a cup final in the middle of the season it’s difficult. It’s difficult to do well in the championship and the Europa League.
“For the climate around the team it was good to win tonight. Let’s focus on the quarter final. If we get Madrid we get Madrid...”
AC Milan boss Rino Gattuso spoke afterwards on the incident saying with grace: “He [Welbeck] is a striker, he has to do what he does.
“We can’t use it as a reference for all English football. There a great deal of fair play here. When I was a player I tried to take advantage of situations.’
The draw for the last eight of the tournament takes place at midday tomorrow.
The teams Arsenal can play include: Atletico Madrid, Marseille, Lazio, RB Leipzig, RB Salzburg, Sporting Lisbon and CSKA Moscow.