Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 20 December 2014

Oliver's twist frustrates Wenger

Arsene Wenger
Arsene Wenger

Manager Arsene Wenger felt a series of "strange decisions" had proved vital in Arsenal's 3-2 defeat at Swansea, particularly referee Michael Oliver's decision to award a penalty he described as "a complete imagination".

The penalty in question came in the 16th minute of an absorbing Liberty Stadium encounter after Nathan Dyer went down under Aaron Ramsey's challenge, although replays suggested that it was the Swansea winger who had made contact with the Arsenal midfielder and not the other way around.

Scott Sinclair made the most of the opportunity to score his fourth penalty of the season to level the scores at 1-1 and Wenger said: "The game was difficult as Swansea played well, but the game was decided by some strange decisions, the first by the referee was the penalty which was a complete imagination and it was a good dive by the player."

He added: "From then on there were other turning points like when we got back to 2-2 and made a defensive mistake, we showed a lack of appreciation for the ball and the defensive performance was not good enough.

"At 2-2 I thought we had a good chance to win as we looked dangerous and the keeper did well to keep them in the game and made some great saves, and we missed some unbelievable chances."

The defeat, their third in their last four away games, leaves the Gunners four points adrift of the top four and 12 behind leaders Manchester City, with their already slim title hopes hanging by a thread. For Swansea the result moves them into the top 10, nine points clear of the drop zone.

The club have rightly won many plaudits for an easy on the eye passing style, and manager Brendan Rodgers had called on England manager Fabio Capello to pay a visit to south Wales to cast his eye over the likes of goalscorers Dyer, Sinclair and Danny Graham.

The Northern Irishman got his wish with the Italian in attendance for an enthralling contest, and believes the trio had made their point in no uncertain terms.

"He would have been surprised at the level they played at," he said. "The front three were a massive threat all afternoon.

"Nathan scored a terrific goal and it was a wonderful finish from Danny Graham, and I'm sure it gave him something to think about."

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