Arsenal FC manager Arsene Wenger blasted the referee’s decision to send Olivier Giroud off in the first half. The Frenchman also questioned some of the decisions that were not given by the referee.
Arsene Wenger’s 18th successive Champions League campaign started with a loss against Croatian side Dinamo Zagreb. David Ospina, who was given his first start of the season, produced a decent block off Josip Pivaric’s shot in the first half, but the ball ricocheted off Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and went in.
Olivier Giroud was sent off five minutes before the end of first half for what the referee saw as a second bookable offence, after he fouled Ivo Pinto while fighting for the ball.
After the interval, Arsenal FC conceded their second goal when Junior Fernandes headed in from a corner. The Gunners pulled one back in the 78th minute, with Theo Walcott latching on to a brilliant through ball from Alexis Sanchez and side-footing his finish into the far corner.
We were not at our best but neither was the referee tonight – Arsene Wenger
Arsene Wenger believes that his team were unlucky tonight and added that the first goal was probably offside. He further questioned the referee’s decision to send Giroud off and insisted that the referee was not at his best during the encounter.
Speaking in his post-match press conference, as quoted by the club’s official website, Wenger said:
“Ita s difficult because we had a lot of the ball and we had early chances. We were a bit unlucky tonight. I believe the first goal was offside and then afterwards the sending off was very harsh. We have to look at ourselves as well because the second goal killed our game. We are good enough to defend corners like that well. Apart from that we had a lot of the ball when it was 10 against 11.
“They were committed, they defended well and sometimes I felt that they stopped us from gaining an advantage without being punished by the referee, especially on counter-attacks where we had to play 10 against 11 in one half. We were not at our best but neither was the referee tonight.”
I do not understand the referee – Wenger on Giroud’s sending off
The Frenchman accepted that Olivier Giroud was at fault for the first yellow card, but believed that the second yellow was completely undeserved. Wenger further defender Giroud claiming that the 28-year-old probably was unaware of the presence of Pinto and the foul was accidental.
“The first yellow card was Girouda s fault because he protested, even if there was no foul against him. After that he should have not protested to the referee. His second yellow card was completely unlucky to touch the guy. I do not understand the referee.
“I dona t think he saw the guy. It was completely accidental. It happened and I think at that moment it was not a second yellow. It has to be a foul on purpose and it was not on purpose. The referee should have given several yellows tonight based on that.”
Wenger also defended his decision to rotate the squad, with many regular first-teamers rested, possibly for the clash against Chelsea FC on Saturday.
“You know that when you dona t win the game you have to look at yourself and think, a I didna t get it righta . I personally dona t believe that the players who came in had a bad game. It just didna t work. We know we have to do that again. We were maybe a bit unlucky and maybe lacked cohesion or some competition in some situations. I have to analyse that. Ita s very difficult to give you a definite answer straight after the game.”