Belfast Telegraph

Wenger facing touchline ban after being hit with FA charge

By Mark Mann-Bryans

Arsene Wenger could face a touchline ban after the Arsenal boss was hit with a Football Association misconduct charge following two altercations with the fourth official during Sunday's Premier League win over Burnley.

The Frenchman was sent from his technical area by referee Jon Moss for contesting the award of a stoppage-time penalty to the Clarets, having allegedly aimed verbal abuse at fellow official Anthony Taylor.

Wenger then attempted to watch the remainder of the game from the top of the tunnel and was shown by television cameras pushing Taylor when appearing to be told he had to retreat.

Arsenal went on to win the game 2-1 as Alexis Sanchez converted an even later penalty after Andre Gray's spot-kick had cancelled out Shkodran Mustafi's opener.

The Gunners manager acknowledged after the game that he should have "shut up" and "gone home" rather than get involved in a spat with Taylor - with reports claiming Wenger labelled Moss a "cheat" during the flare up which has since seen him charged.

"Arsene Wenger has been charged for misconduct following Arsenal's game against Burnley on Sunday (22 January 2017)," an FA statement read.

"It is alleged that in or around the 92nd minute, he used abusive and/or insulting words towards the fourth official.

"It is further alleged that following his dismissal from the technical area, his behaviour in remaining in the tunnel area and making physical contact with the fourth official amounted to improper conduct. He has until 6pm on 26 January 2017 to respond to the charge."

Wenger - who successfully appealed a 12-match ban he was handed in 2000 after overturning a decision which claimed he had shown violent and threatening conduct towards fourth official Paul Taylor following a defeat at Sunderland - could now be hit with a fine and a ban.

Alan Pardew was handed a £20,000 fine and a two-match ban when in charge of Newcastle after accepting an improper conduct charge following an incident in August 2012 when he shoved assistant referee Peter Kirkup.

After Sunday's dramatic late win which saw the Gunners move up to second place in the Premier League, Wenger admitted he should not have got involved physically with Taylor.

Asked about television replays showing him push the fourth official, Wenger said: "I regret everything. I should have shut up, gone in and gone home. I apologise for that.

"Look, it was nothing bad. I said something that you hear every day in football. Overall nine times out of 10 you are not sent to the stand for that.

"If I am, I am, and I should have shut up completely. I was quite calm the whole game, more than usual, but just (not) in the last two or three minutes.''

Wenger last served a ban following UEFA sanctions in 2012 which saw him suspended from the touchline for three Champions League games after comments he made about referee Damir Skomina following defeat to AC Milan.

Arsenal also saw midfielder Granit Xhaka dismissed during the Burnley game for a lunge on Steven Defour.

The Switzerland international has now been sent off nine times for club and country since 2014 and, having already seen red against Swansea this season, will now miss Arsenal's next four games through suspension.

Wenger could end up missing from the touchline for any number of forthcoming fixtures.

Arsenal are eight points behind leaders Chelsea but Mustafi, who headed home his first goal for the club, said the squad are ready to fight until the last to seal a first league crown in 13 years.

The Germany defender said: "At Arsenal you want to go for it and you look in the eyes and see that no-one gives up until the last second and it shows how much belief we have in ourselves and that we are going to go for it."

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