English Premiership

Refs 'happy' to see Fergie go

2013-11-09 14:01
Arsene Wenger (AFP)

London - Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger says that the referee for his side's game at Manchester United will feel less pressure now that Alex Ferguson is no longer in the opposition dug-out.

Sunday's Premier League encounter at Old Trafford will mark the first time that the two teams have met with someone other than Ferguson in charge of United since August 1986, following the 71-year-old's retirement in May.

Wenger endured several defeats at Ferguson's hands and he has suggested that the long-serving Scot's presence may have put pressure on match officials to favour United.

When asked how Ferguson's absence would affect matters on Sunday, the Frenchman replied: "That is a question you shouldn't ask me, but the referees.

"Every year there is a company who makes the table reasoned without the referees' mistakes, so check that."

Wenger added, with a smile: "I think the referees were absolutely relaxed and happy to go there."

He went on: "I expect the referees to make the right decisions. I never have preconceived ideas.

"It is down to the referee to make the right decisions, to protect the players and to give the free-kicks you deserve.

"There (at Old Trafford) pressure comes as well from the crowd when they go for every ball and put the referee under pressure, and that is a bit more in the north than in the south.

"You know that when you go to Sunderland the crowd plays every ball, when you go to Everton the crowd plays every ball. Then in London, the crowd is a bit more relaxed."

Arsenal go into the game as the Premier League leaders and could move 11 points clear of United if they defeat the reigning champions.

Back-to-back victories over Liverpool and Borussia Dortmund have strengthened the London club's self-belief and Wenger says that his side will go to Manchester intending to dominate the game.

"Yes, we believe we can get a result," he said. "We go there, like we go everywhere, to control the game and to win the game.

"We still think the best way to win at Old Trafford is to control the game, which means take the ball, keep the ball and have more possession than they do."

Aaron Ramsey continued his stunning form by scoring the only goal of Arsenal's mid-week win away to Dortmund in the Champions League and United manager David Moyes has revealed that he came close to signing the Welsh midfielder during his time at Everton.

United and Everton both had 5 million ($8 million, 6 million euros) bids for Ramsey accepted by Cardiff City in 2008 and Moyes believed he was coming to Goodison Park, only for the then 17-year-old to elect to join Arsenal.

"I was very close to signing Aaron. I had him and his family in my house, but Arsenal beat me to it," Moyes told reporters ahead of the Arsenal game.

"He has played really well. He now sees himself as one of their really important players and has not let them down with the goals he has scored."

Moyes also claimed that United turned down an opportunity to sign Mesut Ozil from Real Madrid during the close season before the German playmaker moved to Arsenal in a 42.4 million club-record deal.

"We weren't close to buying him," said Moyes.

"Something was mooted but we had Shinji Kagawa and Wayne Rooney. It wasn't something we required at that time and we were looking at different positions."

Read more on:    arsenal  |  arsene wenger  |  soccer

What To Read Next


Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.
Live Video Streaming
Video Highlights
Sport Talk

29 October 2016
Sunderland v Arsenal, Stadium of Light 13:30
Manchester United v Burnley, Old Trafford 16:00
Middlesbrough v Bournemouth, Riverside Stadium 16:00
West Bromwich Albion v Manchester City, The Hawthorns 16:00
Watford v Hull City, Vicarage Road 16:00
Tottenham Hotspur v Leicester City, White Hart Lane 16:00
Crystal Palace v Liverpool, Selhurst Park 18:30
30 October 2016
Everton v West Ham United, Goodison Park 15:30
Southampton v Chelsea, St. Mary's Stadium 18:00
31 October 2016
Stoke City v Swansea City, Britannia Stadium 22:00
Team P W PTS
Previous Results

Date Home Team Result Away Team

Who will claim the Premier League title at the end of the 2016/17 season?

Love 2 Meet
Sport24 on Twitter

Follow Sport24 news on Twitter


With the Absa Premiership in full swing, who will be crowned champions when all is said and done? Will Mamelodi Sundowns defend their title? Or can Kaizer Chiefs, Orlando Pirates or Bidvest Wits mount a serious challenge? Stay glued to Sport24 to find out!

Latest blogs

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.