English Premiership

Wenger finds fault with referee and team

2015-12-27 10:27
Arsene Wenger (arsenal.com)

Southampton - Arsene Wenger believes referee Jon Moss incorrectly allowed three goals in his side's 4-0 rout at the hands of Southampton, but insisted his Arsenal team's performance was more of a concern.

Arsenal began Saturday's match well but simply fell apart after Southampton's opening goal, scored with a 30-yard shot by Cuco Martina on his first Premier League start.

Wenger believed that the goal should not have stood, nor the second, nor the third.

But he was more concerned that his players had not stood up to the physical challenge of the Saints, particularly Shane Long, who scored the second and fourth goals at St Mary's.

"Southampton made the game very physical and we lost too may challenges and that explains why we lost," said Wenger.

"But we were unlucky with the decisions of the referee. The first goal was offside, the second a foul and the third was a goal kick.

"If you're a bit below par and, on top of that, three goals go against you in the decisions it's very difficult. But well done Southampton and we hope that in the next game we have this type of decisions.

"I smile but what can I do about it? I must say they were sharper than us in the challenges and we have to look at what we can master.

"We cannot master the decisions of the referee but our own behaviour we can -- and on that front I believe Southampton looked stronger in the challenges and we lost too many. Long got away with a lot, but he was good."

Per Mertesacker looked slow as Long danced or barged past him on occasions, and to a neutral it appeared that Laurent Koscielny was simply outmuscled, first by Long and then Jose Fonte, for the second and third goals.

The upshot was that Arsenal missed the chance to move above Leicester City into first place in the Premier League.

That, in itself, was less of a concern to Wenger than his team's below-par showing ahead of home matches against Bournemouth and Newcastle, which both look like must-wins if Arsenal are to remain serious title contenders.

"I said before the game that being one point behind or in front is not too important, it's the quality of our performance that counts and we were not good enough to win the game," Wenger said.

"We have just to look at that. On the other side we have not to moan too much because we play again in 48 hours. There is only one way to respond."

He denied that his team had been unable to take the pressure of being at the top.

"Personally I don't think the pressure got to us but there's no way to check that. I felt we were physically not at our best tonight."

Southampton manager Ronald Koeman dismissed Wenger's criticism of the referee, preferring to praise Long, who has been in the shadow of top scorer Graziano Pelle, who missed the match with a knee injury.

"If you lose 4-0 it's not about the referee," he said.

"It's not my way to analyse a game. But Shane Long created big problems and was very dangerous. He attacked the spaces behind the Arsenal defenders. He's a different number nine than Graziano and that's important."

Long is likely to keep his place in Monday's match away to West Ham United.

"I don't think Graziano will be back for Monday but we know the qualities of Shane and he was one of the key players against Arsenal."

So should Dutch-born Curacao defender Martina, signed from FC Twente in the summer and only in the team thanks to an groin injury to first-choice right back Cedric Soares.

"We didn't sign the player to score goals," Koeman said. "But it was a great goal because it's not easy to score against a great keeper like (Petr)Cech."


What To Read Next


Read News24’s Comments Policy

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.