Belfast Telegraph

Robben in rage after Wenger moan

By Jim Van Wijk

Bayern Munich winger Arjen Robben has hit back at Arsene Wenger after the Arsenal manager accused him of being a "very good diver" as the Gunners crashed out of the Champions League.

Robben came in for criticism from Wenger and pundits alike after going down from Laurent Koscielny's challenge to earn Bayern a late penalty although it had no bearing on the game, with the Bavarian giants already leading 3-1 on aggregate and Lukasz Fabianski saving Thomas Muller's spot-kick anyway.

Earlier in the second half, Robben had fallen in the penalty area under a challenge from Santi Cazorla. Norwegian referee Svein Oddvar Moen – from whom Wenger had called for a strong performance in his pre-match press conference – was not interested and told the Dutchman to get up, but did not produce a yellow card.

Wenger was clearly less than impressed by the antics of the former Chelsea forward, who believes the Frenchman should take their European exit with dignity.

"I always say that if you are a big manager, take your loss. If you win, be happy, enjoy, but if you lose, don't start complaining about the silly things," he said.

"It was two penalties, but I don't want to have to defend myself. From a big manager, you expect a little bit more if you lose."

Bastian Schweinsteiger gave the European champions a 54th-minute lead to put them 3-0 ahead on aggregate and although Lukas Podolski levelled on the night, the home side's two-goal advantage from the first leg proved the crucial difference.

That did not stop Wenger from hitting out at Robben's antics, however. "Robben is very good at getting the maximum of nothing and he is a great player and as well a very good diver, but it is part of it," said Wenger.

"He is a fantastic player, I would not deny that, he's one of the best players in the world. But he gets in front of a player and then he slows down and goes down. He gets the free-kicks."

For Mesut Özil, who scarcely looked up from the two mobile phones he was carrying as he made his way out, his was the worst personal outcome given his ineffective first half and subsequent hamstring injury.

For many of his team-mates, a 1-1 draw on the night represented a dignified bowing out compared to what might have been at a club who had not previously been limited to one goal at home since September 28.

"Every team that has come here recently has been battered 5-0 or 6-0," Mikel Arteta said. "So that's the last thing you want with the experience we had a couple of weeks ago at Liverpool. I think it's encouraging. I think the second-half performance was very good. We can take a lot of positives from that. And the way we keep them pretty quiet as well."

Arsenal's focus narrows upon their two last prospects of success – and one in particular in which they are the runaway favourites.

Asked what winning the FA Cup would mean to Arsenal, Arteta's answer was blunt – and this from a man who has only been around for two of their eight seasons without a trophy. "I think it would be a turning point for the club," he said. "Because for such a long time we haven't won anything. It gives you a lift, gives you belief that you can start to go in the right direction and hopefully we can do it."

Belfast Telegraph


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