English Premiership

Goal-line officials puzzle Wenger

2014-11-07 17:34
Arsene Wenger (Supplied)
Arsene Wenger (Supplied)

London - Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger claimed on Friday that goal-line officials serve next to no purpose, saying: "They should buy a seat for them, and give them a good book!"

Wenger saw his side let a 3-0 lead slip to draw 3-3 at home to Anderlecht in the Champions League in mid-week, which prevented them from rubber-stamping their progress to the last 16.

While Wenger accepted that his team only had themselves to blame, he criticised one of the goal-line officials for allowing Anthony Vanden Borre's first goal for Anderlecht to stand even though he was offside.

"I do not know what the guys behind the line are paid for," Wenger told a press conference. "That is a general feeling shared by everyone who watches football. They should buy a seat for them, and give them a good book!"

Calling on UEFA's chief refereeing officer Pierluigi Collina to clearly define the goal-line assistants' role, Wenger added: "We can learn a lot from what happened on Tuesday.

"We have special incidents. Some things we can correct, like the second and third goals. But we cannot influence the first goal. When the goalscorers are one yard offside, we cannot influence that.

"Every time we go to Geneva, Collina explains to us that the fifth referee is a fantastic finding. But when you see the pictures on the first goal, it is unbelievable.

"A guy stands behind the line in front of the offside guy and does not stay a word."

Wenger said he was happy about Theo Walcott's England recall, despite the fact the 25-year-old has played only 10 minutes for Arsenal since a 10-month spell on the sidelines with a cruciate knee ligament injury.

Walcott was called up by England manager Roy Hodgson on Thursday for the national team's forthcoming games against Slovenia and Scotland, and Wenger said he would go with his blessing.

"Roy Hodgson is free to do what he wants. (Walcott) has been chosen by England and he needs competition," said the Frenchman.

"He has been out for 10 months. I don't know if you realise how long that is. People think it's like mechanics. They're not machines, they are human beings, and to get back into the rhythm of the top, top competition will take time."

Jack Wilshere is available for Sunday's game at Swansea City after missing two games through illness, but Mikel Arteta will not feature after being forced off against Anderlecht with a hamstring problem.


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