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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

GOAL! Danny Welbeck steps up to equalise from the spot in the Europa League match between Arsenal and A.C. Milan at the Emirates Stadium, North London. Picture: Danny Loo

GOAL! Danny Welbeck steps up to equalise from the spot in the Europa League match between Arsenal and A.C. Milan at the Emirates Stadium, North London. Picture: Danny Loo

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.

GOAL! Danny Welbeck appeals to the official behind the goal after going down in the box under a challenge from Ricardo Rodriguez in the Europa League match between Arsenal and A.C. Milan at the Emirates Stadium, North London. Picture: Danny Loo GOAL! Danny Welbeck appeals to the official behind the goal after going down in the box under a challenge from Ricardo Rodriguez in the Europa League match between Arsenal and A.C. Milan at the Emirates Stadium, North London. Picture: Danny Loo

Milan’s Hakan Calhanoglu put the Rossoneri 1-0 up on 35 minutes with a stunning 30 yard curler past David Opsina.

GOAL! Danny Welbeck goes down in the box to win a penalty under a challenge from Ricardo Rodriguez in the Europa League match between Arsenal and A.C. Milan at the Emirates Stadium, North London. Picture: Danny Loo GOAL! Danny Welbeck goes down in the box to win a penalty under a challenge from Ricardo Rodriguez in the Europa League match between Arsenal and A.C. Milan at the Emirates Stadium, North London. Picture: Danny Loo

However four minutes later Arsenal responded to the challenge by increasing their intensity which saw Welbeck charge into the box.

GOAL! Danny Welbeck goes down in the box to win a penalty under a challenge from Ricardo Rodriguez in the Europa League match between Arsenal and A.C. Milan at the Emirates Stadium, North London. Picture: Danny Loo GOAL! Danny Welbeck goes down in the box to win a penalty under a challenge from Ricardo Rodriguez in the Europa League match between Arsenal and A.C. Milan at the Emirates Stadium, North London. Picture: Danny Loo

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.

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger before the Europa League match between Arsenal and A.C. Milan at the Emirates Stadium, North London. Picture: Danny Loo Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger before the Europa League match between Arsenal and A.C. Milan at the Emirates Stadium, North London. Picture: Danny Loo

Yet at first glance it looked like a harsh penalty – and the second and third views didn’t change any minds.

The Arsenal team before the Europa League match between Arsenal and A.C. Milan at the Emirates Stadium, North London. Picture: Danny Loo The Arsenal team before the Europa League match between Arsenal and A.C. Milan at the Emirates Stadium, North London. Picture: Danny Loo

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’.

A.C. Milan fans before the Europa League match between Arsenal and A.C. Milan at the Emirates Stadium, North London. Picture: Danny Loo A.C. Milan fans before the Europa League match between Arsenal and A.C. Milan at the Emirates Stadium, North London. Picture: Danny Loo

He then learned forward conspiratorially with a wry smile and added: “Do you want me to accuse English players of being divers?”

Nacho Monreal bursts into the box in the Europa League match between Arsenal and A.C. Milan at the Emirates Stadium, North London. Picture: Danny Loo Nacho Monreal bursts into the box in the Europa League match between Arsenal and A.C. Milan at the Emirates Stadium, North London. Picture: Danny Loo

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.

Henrikh Mkhitaryan puts a cross in to the box in the Europa League match between Arsenal and A.C. Milan at the Emirates Stadium, North London. Picture: Danny Loo Henrikh Mkhitaryan puts a cross in to the box in the Europa League match between Arsenal and A.C. Milan at the Emirates Stadium, North London. Picture: Danny Loo

“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.

GOAL! Hakan Calhanoglu celebrates scoring the first goal in the Europa League match between Arsenal and A.C. Milan at the Emirates Stadium, North London. Picture: Danny Loo GOAL! Hakan Calhanoglu celebrates scoring the first goal in the Europa League match between Arsenal and A.C. Milan at the Emirates Stadium, North London. Picture: Danny Loo

“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...”

GOAL! Hakan Calhanoglu celebrates scoring the first goal in the Europa League match between Arsenal and A.C. Milan at the Emirates Stadium, North London. Picture: Danny Loo GOAL! Hakan Calhanoglu celebrates scoring the first goal in the Europa League match between Arsenal and A.C. Milan at the Emirates Stadium, North London. Picture: Danny Loo

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.

A.C. Milan manager Gennaro Gattuso before the Europa League match between Arsenal and A.C. Milan at the Emirates Stadium, North London. Picture: Danny Loo A.C. Milan manager Gennaro Gattuso before the Europa League match between Arsenal and A.C. Milan at the Emirates Stadium, North London. Picture: Danny Loo

“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.

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