After watching his side lose 3-1 at Stamford Bridge on Saturday, Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger blamed referee Martin Atkinson for the defeat. Wenger claimed that Hector Bellerin was fouled by Marcos Alonso for the opener when he climbed above Hector Bellerin to head home a rebound, but the Arsenal defender soon left the pitch injured after being caught by an elbow in the incident.
“Of course it was a foul, but he (referee Martin Atkinson) allowed the goal,” Wenger said.
“Referees are much more severe with tackles on the ground and let much more go with elbows in the face. It’s not only today, but in many, many games I see that.
“But it’s more dangerous to hit the head than the legs.”
But Arsenal legend Thierry Henry disagreed with the man he still calls ‘the boss’ saying that while Alonso’s challenge looked ‘bad’ it was legitimate and Martin Atkinson was right to give it.
“If you’re a neutral, he attacks the ball like you should. It looks bad, but it’s a fair challenge, the momentum carrier him” said Henry.
“He focuses on the first goal, but is that why you lost the game? During the season, things come and go. The way they played today, we knew they would be exposed on the counter-attack if they didn’t identify the threat early.”
Once again in a big game at Stamford Bridge Arsenal were poor, losing for the fifth straight time, the longest losing streak at Stamford Bridge since 1966 to 1970.
Arsenal were second best to Chelsea all day, something that Wenger conceded in his post-match press conference.
“It was the kind of game Chelsea loves and they mastered very well,” Wenger said.
“Chelsea is very strong at defending and very good on transition and counter attack. And we paid for that.
“We lost many balls in positions where you cannot afford to lose it when you play against a team good on counter-attack.”
The defeat means that Arsenal’s title dreams are over. They are now 12 points behind Chelsea, and now have to refocus on staying in the top four. A Manchester City win tomorrow will see Arsenal drop to fourth in the table, just one point above Liverpool.