Arsene Wenger said he anticipated Arsenal would be on the wrong end of a "farcical" refereeing decision after Eden Hazard was awarded a penalty in the Gunners' 2-2 draw with Chelsea on Wednesday, and the manager added he would have "committed suicide" if the Blues had won the match late on.
According to the Guardian's David Hytner, the Frenchman said: "We got again a farcical decision on a penalty but we knew that, as well, before. So we have to deal with that."
The 66th-minute incident saw Hazard awarded a penalty—which he subsequently scored—after Hector Bellerin made contact with his foot as the pair contested a loose ball. The penalty decision has proved divisive among fans and pundits alike.
Former Premier League star Michael Owen and football writer Garry Hayes sided with Wenger on the issue:
Meanwhile, The Times' Henry Winter told BBC 5 live Sport it was a clear penalty, an assessment Liverpool legend Jamie Carragher agreed with:
The incident has done little to calm Wenger's opinion on refereeing in the Premier League, with the coach still seething after a dubious penalty was awarded against them when they faced West Bromwich Albion on New Year's Eve.
His comments on the official responsible, Mike Dean, have earned him a charge from the Football Association that could result in a ban, but Wenger is standing by his assessment of the referee: "I will contest my charge 100 per cent. You can listen to every interview I did [after West Brom], and I stick to everything I said without any problem."
"The referees get away with you, with the English press, always, no matter what they do. You have watched the game last night. You couldn't read a line about it today. So nothing will change. So we have to deal with that and to live with that."
Hazard's penalty pulled Chelsea level just minutes after Jack Wilshere had broken the deadlock in an entertaining contest, and the Gunners needed a sublime effort from Bellerin in added time to earn them a point after Marcos Alonso had fired the Blues in front at the Emirates Stadium.
Davide Zappacosta almost won it for the visitors in the dying seconds, but his shot rattled the crossbar. Per Goal, Wenger added had that shot gone in, "I would have committed suicide."
Football.London's Greg Johnson criticised his choice of words:
The comment, along with his discussion of the penalty incident, will do him no favours with the FA and could put him at further risk of a touchline or stadium ban.
While his displeasure at some of the recent decisions to go against his side is understandable, Arsenal can ill afford to be without their manager as they find themselves in sixth, five points behind fourth-placed Liverpool.
The Gunners also face Chelsea twice more this month in the two-legged Carabao Cup semi-final.