Belfast Telegraph

Arsene Wenger could face ban after FA charge over clash with fourth official

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 being told he had to retreat.

Arsenal would go 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 the London Evening Standard reporting 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)," a statement on the FA website 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 go 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.

Although Wenger could end up missing from the touchline for any number of forthcoming fixtures, the win over Burnley saw Arsenal leapfrog Tottenham and Liverpool into second spot.

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

Asked if the club had the momentum to challenge in the title race, the Germany defender replied: ''Yes, as 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.

''It (the win) is important for us even if you don't look at the other results. Playing at home to Burnley, you want to take the three points and if you want to stay up there it is something you have to do and that is what we did.

''In other games it looks like Arsenal aren't going to come back or it is going to be a draw, we score in the last second just because everyone believes in it and I think you have to give credit to this team.''


From Belfast Telegraph