Arsenal manager Wenger gives verdict on West Brom ‘penalty’ controversy
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Arsene Wenger praised his team after beating West Brom 2-0 at the Emirates on Monday night.
The Gunners survived a few scares after Tony Pulis’ men put the Gunners under pressure during the first half with a committed display that on another night with another referee could have seen them lead at the interval.
Referee Bobby Madley turned down strong Baggies appeals for a penalty after Shkodran Mustafi brought down Jay Rodgriguez.
Wenger later suggested that the official played advantage that then saw the former Burnley player recover to fire a shot that Petr Cech turned onto the post before Jake Livermore missed a chance to score when well-placed.
However it appeared at the time that Madley had simply ignored appeals for a spot-kick, leaving Pulis to rage on the touchline at the fourth official Stuart Attwell. Wenger summed up the match saiyng: “In the first half it was difficult because they were very physical, very strong, very mobile. They went very direct and it took us some time to get used to that.
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“I believe in the second half we controlled the game much more. Overall it finished in a comfortable way but the first half was a bit nervous for us.
“The referee left the advantage and they nearly scored from that. They hit the post and I think the decision is ‘defendable’ on both sides – whether he should have given the decision or not.
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“If he gives the penalty and not the advantage and they miss the penalty then you will say ‘why did he not give the advantage?’
With Arsenal now unbeaten since the international break preceding the 4-0 humiliation at Anfield by Liverpool at the end of August his team notched up another win at home as they moved up to seventh place in the table.
He added: “What is important is that we are strong at home – we have played six games now including three difficult away games, at Chelsea, at Liverpool, at Stoke.
“We know we can get results away from home. What is very important for is the three points because everybody else won.
“We were under pressure not to drop points tonight.”
Reflecting on the disastrous thrashing on Merseyside and the way they have subsequently rallied Wenger hailed his teams character saying: “Yes, we are in a different position now than before [playing Liverpool].
“You know we live in a world where when you ‘miss’ a game like Liverpool it is a very difficult environment. There is only one way to respond and that is to show your character on the pitch.”
Tony Pulis said he was not going to talk about the referee during his post-match press conference but claimed Alexis Sanhcez ‘dived after three minutes’ before cutting short the questioning by walking off after giving a wry smile when asked what the most disappointing part of the match was for him.