Arsene Wenger was left fuming with referee Mike Dean after he awarded West Bromwich Albion a controversial late penalty for a Calum Chambers handball to deny Arsenal victory.
The Arsenal manager is angry at standards of officiating in the Premier League having lobbied for the role to become professional in the early 2000s only to see ‘no improvement’.
Dean pointed to the spot when the ball hit Chambers’ arm from about one yard, infuriating Arsenal who insisted the contact was accidental. Jay Rodriguez converted the 89th-minute penalty to equalise after Alexis Sanchez’s deflected opener.
‘It wasn’t a penalty. It was not a deliberate handball. When you are as close as that, it’s impossible to play football. Where do you put your hands? You have no pockets in your shorts” Wenger fumed.
‘The referee has not seen it. That’s my opinion, he will tell you that he has seen it. I don’t want to waste my time with them, we have to live with the decision, swallow it, and go to the next game.
‘I’m angry because we have seen the same things again. I did fight very hard for the referees to become professional many years ago with David Dein. But I see no improvement.
‘There are two countries in Europe where you have professional referees, in Italy and in England, and not one English referee will go to the World Cup.
‘But everything is all right. We cannot say a word against it because they’re untouchable. That is the truth. It’s not only me that judges them.’
Petr Cech was booked for protesting the decision and said:
‘Every time we meet with refs prior to season and it comes to the point about when the player is close to the ball and has no chance to react it is never a penalty.
‘I asked the referee why he changes this decision. I was not rude. It disappoints me even more that he said nothing when I asked him. I expect he answers in a normal way, not for him to give me a yellow card and say nothing.’