Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger in a rage as Besiktas escape ref's attentions
Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger described the sending off of Aaron Ramsey as "unbelievable" after his side picked up a 0-0 draw at Besiktas in the first leg of their Champions League play-off last night.
The Gunners, who are aiming to reach the Champions League group stages for a 17th consecutive season, toiled for long periods in the first half at the Ataturk Olympic Stadium but went desperately close as Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain hit the post in the closing stages.
Wenger's side will now need to get the job done at the Emirates next Wednesday, when they are expected to have German World Cup-winning trio Mesut Ozil, Per Mertesacker and Lukas Podolski back, but they will have to do it without talisman Ramsey.
The 23-year-old Welshman picked up his second yellow for pulling back former Gunners midfielder Oguzhan Ozyakup, but Wenger felt referee Milorad Mazic, who also received criticism for some of his performances at the World Cup, made a very strange decision.
"For me it's unbelievable to get the second yellow card when you see the kind of fouls they have made today – it's not serious," he commented.
Although he was annoyed about Saturday's matchwinner against Crystal Palace being dismissed, Wenger acknowledged the part played by Slaven Bilic's well-drilled outfit.
"It was a difficult game, played at a good pace, a frenetic pace, from the first to the last minute and we could have won it," he added.
"They had chances as well in the first half especially, but in the end we didn't lose the game and hopefully we'll make it at home," Wenger said.
Another potential headache for the Arsenal boss ahead of that second leg could be Mikel Arteta after the Spaniard went off after 50 minutes with an apparent ankle injury.
When pushed on what his game plan will be for the decider, Wenger stressed that first and foremost he is just worrying about his side's trip to Arteta's former team, Everton, on Saturday evening.
He said: "The ideal game plan is to score goals and not to concede but we'll see.
"We now have a different game away again at Everton and let's prepare for that."
Elsewhere last night, former Liverpool boss Rafa Benitez saw his Napoli side salvage a 1-1 draw at home to Athletic Bilbao.
Benitez guided Liverpool to Champions League glory back in 2005.