Arsene Wenger had some strong words for the match official ahead of Arsenal's Champions League round of 16 second-leg tie against runaway Bundesliga leaders Bayern Munich, in Germany.
Neil Ashton and Sami Mokbel from The Mail Online report that the Frenchman has asked Norwegian referee Svein Oddvar Moen for a "fair chance" on Tuesday night after claiming Munich winger Arjen Robben went down too easily after a challenge from Wojciech Szczesny during the first leg.
The Arsenal goalkeeper was sent off as a result for denying a goalscoring opportunity.
The Mail Online quotes Wenger saying:
The closer the referees are to the tough leagues the more chance they have to detect the tricks that can decide a game. I hope we get a fair chance to play with 11 men. Sometimes referees come from a league that is less pacy, but I don’t know this one.
Sometimes when the referees have broad experience it helps get them out of tricky situations. You do not want players on the pitch who deserve to be sent off, but you do not want games to be killed for reasons that are a bit tricky.
To find that balance the experience of the referees is important. We have played with 10 men a few times, such as the Champions League final.
Arsenal head into the match with Munich in poor form, considering the great start they had to their campaign this year. They have only managed to win two of their last six games, per Squawka, losing away at Stoke City and receiving a 5-1 drumming at the hands of Liverpool at Anfield.
The Champions League game is a must-win if they are to stay in the competition, with Arsenal having to score at least three times to progress without the need for penalties, after losing the home leg 2-0.
The Frenchman's mind games and motivational skills will need to be at their most potent to aid his club.
John Cross of The Mirror tweeted after Wenger's pre-match press conference, backing the manager to make a difference for his team:
Arsenal failed in the first leg and allowed Munich the opportunity to control the game after Szczesny's sending off. Losing two away goals without reply was a bitter blow.
Despite Wenger's words that were directed at the match official, Szczesny was correctly sent off for impeding Robben, and he was ill-disciplined and irresponsible bringing the player down, leaving his team hamstrung with 10 men.
Playing against this specific set of Munich players is hard enough with a full quota on the pitch.
But like all top managers, Wenger's focus is of transferring the pressure to his team's opponents and taking the weight off his own players. One red card for Bayern on Tuesday would change the complexion of the tie.
If the Gunners can score early on and close the gap, then a positive outcome is possible for the North London giants, who won 2-0 in Munich last season.
However, with Munich looking every bit the best team in the world right now, there is every chance they could kill this game off as a spectacle early in the first half.
Munich, who now have Franck Ribery to call upon once more, appear likely to have too much firepower for Arsenal on Tuesday night, and they will comfortably make their way to the quarterfinals. If Toni Kroos dominates the game as he did in the first leg, it is difficult to see anything but a German win in this match.
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