Alan Shearer has called on Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger to apologise to Raheem Sterling after he said the forward "dives well" following the Gunners' 3-1 defeat to Manchester City on Sunday, during which Sterling was awarded a penalty after being fouled by Nacho Monreal.
The Premier League legend was speaking as a pundit on Match of the Day 2:
Per BBC Sport, Wenger said of the incident: "I believe it was no penalty. We know that Raheem Sterling dives well. He does that very well."
Sterling and Monreal came together early in the second half, with the Spaniard clumsily attempting to win the ball and failing to do so, sending Sterling to the ground in the process.
Football writers Shane Burns and Sam Lee both took issue with Wenger's comments:
ESPN FC's Liam Twomey was surprised, as he believed the incident was cut and dried:
Stuart Brennan of the Manchester Evening News wasn't quite as convinced, but he believed justice was done after an incident in the first half that saw Sterling fail to connect with a tap-in under pressure from Sead Kolasinac:
Wenger was furious after the match and aimed his ire at referee Michael Oliver—and officials in general—after City's third goal was allowed to stand despite scorer Gabriel Jesus and creator David Silva both being offside.
"I feel the referees don't work enough," he said." The level drops every season at the moment and, overall, it's unacceptable."
The Arsenal coach added: "The third goal was offside. I am very upset because at 2-1 we were in the game. The third goal was the killer, and it is by coincidence that mistakes always go for the home team, as we know. You can accept it if City win in a normal way, but this is unacceptable."
Per Brennan, even City boss Pep Guardiola said it was offside, but the Gunners were comprehensively beaten and were perhaps fortunate to concede just three goals.
Kevin De Bruyne opened the scoring inside 20 minutes before Sergio Aguero converted the second-half penalty. Substitute Alexandre Lacazette briefly gave Arsenal hope of getting something from the game when he pulled one back, but nine minutes later, Jesus struck to seal a deserved win for the Cityzens.
Wenger would not be drawn on the clear divide between the two sides in terms of ability, and he echoed great rival Jose Mourinho as he did, per ESPN FC's Mattias Karen:
The Manchester United boss similarly hit out at "specialists" following the Red Devils' recent 2-0 win over Benfica, and both managers seem to be feeling the pressure as they struggle to measure up to City in the Premier League.
The Sky Blues are eight points clear at the top and 12 ahead of Arsenal, who are sixth and embroiled in a battle to qualify for the UEFA Champions League, which seems relatively unlikely barring a significant improvement on the pitch.
Taking issue with refereeing decisions and criticism from pundits is nothing new, but if Wenger can't address the problems his side are evidently facing, the Gunners will only struggle even more.