Arsene Wenger is famous for never seeing controversial incidents involving his Arsenal players, but the eyesight of the Gunners manager must be improving after saying it was the correct decision not to award Jay Rodriguez a penalty in Arsenal’s 2-0 win over West Brom on Monday.
The forward was felled in the area by Shkodran Mustafi in only the eighth minute at the Emirates Stadium, before he got to his feet and saw a shot tipped onto the post by Petr Cech after referee Bobby Madley allowed play to continue.
West Brom boss Tony Pulis said it was “a stonewall penalty” and Rodriguez himself said he felt clear contact, but Wenger says Madley was right to award the advantage.
“Mustafi tackled and touched the West Brom player,” the Arsenal manager told Sky Sports.
“It could have been given, the referee left the advantage. I think it was right because they were in a position where they could score and they hit the post.
“It’s a kind of decision that’s difficult. If he doesn’t give the advantage and they miss the penalty, people will reproach [the referee].”
Alexandre Lacazette went on to score twice to give Arsenal their third home win in a row in the Premier League and take his tally to four goals in the top flight.
“What’s interesting is that he gets stronger in every game, and that’s very positive,” Wenger said of his club-record signing. ”
He adapts to the physical demands here and technically he’s intelligent. You could see on the goal from the free-kick, there was a rebound and he was there.”
Wenger also praised the performance of Alexis Sanchez, who he believes has recovered fully from an ankle injury picked up at the start of the month.
“He worked very hard, he finished tired but you could see that he’s back to his level,” he said.
The win moved Arsenal back to within six points of league leaders Manchester City and Wenger said it was important to respond after there were weekend wins for Manchester United, Chelsea, Liverpool, Tottenham and Pep Guardiola’s side.
“In the first half, they had a very direct game, a very intense game to stop us from playing and they were dangerous on the break and from long balls,” he said.
“In the second half I feel we dominated the game and it was one-way traffic. But as long as you don’t score the second goal, knowing they’re good at set-pieces, you’re always a bit on your nerves.
“You’re always under pressure when everybody else wins. You can’t afford to drop points and you know a team who can give you a very difficult night is West Brom.”