It is becoming a cliche nowadays that after nearly every single game that Arsenal don’t win, Arsene Wenger immediately jumps in front of the cameras and rants about the terrible decisions against us and the dire quality of the standard of refereeing in the Premier League. Sometimes of course he is absolutely right like the penalty that Mike Dean gave against at West Brom the other night, but is he right on every single occasion? And how do you think the referees feel when they are being questioned over every 50/50 decision they make in a game?
This has been a particularly bad season for Arsenal and Wenger has complained about the refs many many times, as he did yet again when discussing the Mike Dean incident. Wenger said: “No, he saw what he wanted to see and we have to deal with that. We have to put that behind us and focus on our next game, not to dwell on it.
“I think we had a convincing result at Crystal Palace and we would have won this game as well, so let’s continue to focus on how we play and to win the games.
“My job is to stand up for the results. Part of that is as well to stand up for things I’m not responsible for. You could argue as well that sometimes I get credit for things I’m not responsible for as well!
“Unfortunately, that’s the case. It was very disappointing in the way it happened. I must say what is more frustrating for me is that it happened many times this season – at Stoke, at Watford, at Manchester City, at West Brom. That is a concerning coincidence for me. That’s why I was not happy at all with the movement that the referee made to show why he gave the penalty, because that didn’t correspond at all with what happened. On that front, it’s a bit worrying.”
To me it looks like Wenger is at war with the referees. He criticizes them at every game and calls for them to be punished. Does he think this is going to persuade them to look on Arsenal favourably the next time there is a 50/50 decision? I doubt that very much.
When you see managers like Klopp or Conte on the touchlines at games, they spend all the match shouting instructions at their players, egging them on and advising them on positional play, and they argue with the fourth official if there is a particularly bad foul or somesuch, but Wenger? He sits in his seat playing with his zip, and it seems the only time he gets up is when he wants to shout at the referee or rant at the Fourth official. How much must these men hate coming to watch over Arsenal games? They know how much Wenger despises them as he makes it very clear. Have you ever heard Wenger praise a referee after a game?
So I believe he has made the referees into his enemies, and if you go to war you must expect your enemy to retaliate now and then – so is it any surprise that they will try to hurt Arsenal to get at Wenger. They will be criticized whatever they do so why should they care?
Maybe it’s time to call a truce?