After the debacle against Anderlecht in the midweek Champions League, it was refreshing to see that neither the Arsenal players and manager, nor the fans were particularly blaming the offside goal that allowed the opposition to get back into the game.
However, it is a fact that the goal should not have stood, especially when there’s a 5th referee in the UCL games whose USP is to be of more help in avoiding such mistakes.
While Arsene Wenger did not blame the debacle on the offside goal, he certainly had some choice words to say to UEFA about the absolute uselessness of the 5th referee, as reported by Arseblog News.
“The goal number one, we can never have an influence on that. When the guy who is one yard offside or two yards offside gets the goal we can never influence that.
“Every time we go to Geneva, [Pierluigi] Collina [member of UEFA’s Referees Committee] tell us the fifth referee is an absolutely fantastic finding, but when you see the pictures on the first goal it’s absolutely unbelievable.
“The guy stands behind the line in front of the offside guy and doesn’t say a word.
“I don’t know what they are doing, the guys behind the line; what they are paid for? I think that’s the general feeling shared by everybody who watches football.
“I think they should buy a seat for them and give them a good book.”
Adding to this, Wenger also said he wasn’t really surprised by the criticism his team got following the game, saying it was “predictable”.
“If you are 3-0 up and get back to 3-3, you always get the same. I have managed 2000 games and can anticipate what people will say. If you defend and get back to 3-3, people will ask why you defend and not continue to play a normal game. If you continue to attack, people ask why you attack. It is so predictable.”
However, he said that the team was not unduly affected by all the negativity and the squad is completely positive about the game against Swansea City.
“We are very positive inside the camp. We are not touched by that the negativity. Inside the camp we are very positive and are not touched by that. When we do not win, we are not happy. The rest, we can live with.”
It will be interesting to see how the team reacts to the debacle, and if they will be able to put on a convincing show against a Swansea side that are definitely not pushovers. Arsenal have been getting the results in the past few games of the EPL, but they were clearly inferior sides while Swansea would certainly be a tougher test.