Arsenal boss Wenger after Manchester City’s 3-1 Etihad victory: Penalty and offside goal ‘killed’ our chances
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Arsenal Wenger blamed referee Michael Oliver decisions for ‘killing’ the match as Manchester City beat Arsenal 3-1 at the Etihad on Sunday afternoon.
Arsenal were angry at Oliver for awarding a penalty after Nacho Monreal tangled with Raheem Sterling with the score at 1-0 after Kevin De Bruyne scored in the first half as Sergio Aguero slotted home the spot-kick to make it 2-0.
After substitute Alexandre Lacazette – on for the disappointing Francis Coquelin who was a surprise choice for a starting berth – pulled a goal back to make it 2-1 both Jesus and David Silva seeming to be offside for City’s third, scored by the former.
A clearly unhappy Wenger on being asked about the penalty and the ‘offside’ goal said: “You have seen what I seen, you judge what you want. The fact you tell me it’s an offside goal that shows enough.
“I don’t want to take anything away from their quality. But it killed the game. Every year we come here – last year we get two offside goals against us and this year.
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“We suffered because we played too deep in the first half but the second half was an even game. It was us chasing the game and them always being dangerous on counter-attacks.
“I felt we put a lot of effort in and at 2-1 I felt we could come back.
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“But at 3-1 it was an immense relief for him [Guardiola]. It was an unexpected present but it is what it is.
“Then you have to go forward and every counter-attack it feels like a goal.
“We tried to be solid at the back. I felt overall before the game I would say that I knew we could be in trouble with their pace, with the strikers they had.
“And that’s why we tried to play our usual system. When we were 2-0 down we had to take a gamble.”
On being asked why Coquelin made a surprise appearance in the starting line-up Wenger said club captain Per Mertesacker was sick when he reported for duty on Saturday morning, Rob Holding had a thigh strain and Mathieu Debuchy was not yet match fit.
He also insisted playing the Frenchman did not harm Arsenal’s chances as the Gunners slipped to another disappointing defeat to a ‘top-four’ side.