Wenger charged for comments against referee

Reuters
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger is in trouble again with the English FA over his outbursts against the referee following the draw against West Bromwich Albion on Sunday. 
Reuters
AFP

Arsenal's French manager Arsene Wenger (left) has words with English referee Mike Dean during the English Premier League match against West Bromwich Albion at The Hawthorns stadium in central England on Sunday. 

The English Football Association late on Tuesday charged Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger for comments against match officials after the 1-1 Premier League draw at West Bromwich Albion on New Year's Eve.

"It is alleged his language and/or behavior in the match officials’ changing room after the game was abusive and/or improper and/or questioned the integrity of the match referee," the FA said in a statement.

Wenger has until Friday to respond to the charge.

The Frenchman was handed a four-match ban for misconduct last January for pushing the fourth official after his team's 2-1 win over Burnley, and risks another suspension for his latest outburst.

Sunday had seen Wenger surpass former Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson’s Premier League record with his 811th game in charge at one team, but that was soured by the outcome.

Dean awarded an 89th minute penalty after Calum Chambers was adjudged to have handled in the area, with Jay Rodriguez converting to deny Arsenal victory and provoke a furious reaction.

Wenger, whose team saw out 2017 in fifth place, was spoken to by Dean.

"I did fight many years ago for referees to become professional, but unfortunately their levels do not go up. It is difficult to accept," the manager told Sky Sports afterwards. 

Earlier, Wenger moved to allay the fears of Arsenal fans saying he would replace both Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil with world-class players should they end up leaving.

Both Sanchez, who came close to moving to Manchester City on the final day of the last transfer window in August, and Ozil’s contracts are up at the end of the present season.

Sanchez’s attitude and commitment to the club have been questioned by fans and some of his teammates did not congratulate the 29-year-old Chilean after he scored a double in the 3-2 Premier League win over Crystal Palace last Thursday.

Wenger, whose transfer dealings have been a sore point with sections of the Arsenal support, said he would also be on the look-out for players in the present transfer window.

“We are open to any position for the exceptional player that can give us a plus. It depends a little bit on the injuries as well,” said the Arsenal manager on the eve of its match with reigning Premier League champion Chelsea.

“On the other hand it depends if we manage to extend the contracts of the players who are at the end of their contracts in June. It will depend on that as well. We have to take the consequences of those decisions and respond to it.

“How we cope with that, first of all we have not lost them yet, and secondly we will respond to that by bringing in players of top quality. This club has lost many, many big players and has always responded well.”

However, the 68-year-old Frenchman refuted suggestions he was targeting Chelsea’s Brazil center-back David Luiz or French international midfielder Thomas Lemar from Monaco.

The failure to sign 22-year-old Lemar back in August led to the collapse of the Sanchez move to Manchester City.

“I don’t want to think about any special names, but these reports are wrong,” said Wenger, whose side is currently fifth in the table, six points behind Liverpool in fourth but with a game in hand.

As for catching runaway leader City, Wenger said there is the slimmest glimmer of hope for its rival given its two recent performances — a 1-0 win away at struggling Newcastle United and then a 0-0 draw on Sunday against relegation-threatened Crystal Palace.

“They have shown signs of being less dominant,” said Wenger, whose side are 21 points behind City.“One of the teams behind need to have a perfect run and they (City) need to collapse a bit.” 



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