Arsene Wenger laid into the Premier League and the FA after referee Mike Dean awarded a controversial penalty to West Brom in the 1-1 draw at the Hawthorns.
West Brom were handed the chance to grab a share of the points when Dean blew for a handball in the box from Calum Chambers. It seemed a harsh decision from the referee with Chambers’ hand in a natural position when Kieran Gibbs’ cross struck his hand.
Dean immediately blew for the penalty and Jay Rodriguez dispatched the spot-kick to make it 1-1, much to the fury of Arsenal and their manager.
‘It’s disappointing to see that but what can we do?,’ said Wenger after the game. ‘We can talk and talk and talk but it doesn’t change anything. The Premier League doesn’t face the problem.
‘Nor the schedule, nor with the referees. We fought very hard [for referees] to go professional, but the level hasn’t gone up.’ He added: ‘It’s difficult to accept.
It’s more the decision involved in that and it’s not the first time. ‘I believe West Brom had five days to prepare and we had three. The Premier League has to look at when the schedule is fair and unfair, on our side it’s unfair.
‘Since the start of the season you have to look at it.’ Arsene Wenger remonstrated with Dean on the touchline right after the penalty was scored and the Arsenal boss revealed the referee had very little to say.
‘Not a lot,’ Wenger replied, ‘No I will not speak to him [again].’ Arsene Wenger was not alone in his anger as Jack Wilshere was cautioned for his reaction to the penalty decision before Petr Cech and Hector Bellerin furiously confronted Dean after the game.
Cech was handed a yellow card despite the full-time whistle going and the result leaves Arsenal three points behind fourth-place Liverpool. The Gunners will be bitterly disappointed with their final performance of 2017 after labouring to the draw.
Arsenal had thought they had stolen all three points after James McClean inadvertently turned in Alexis Sanchez’s free-kick in the 83rd minute.