Stoke-on-Trent (United Kingdom) (AFP) – Arsene Wenger believes his side does not receive its fair share of penalty decisions, a view he claimed was demonstrated in their 1-0 Premier League defeat at Stoke City.
The Arsenal manager was left beaten by an early second half goal from Stoke’s new Spanish forward Jese, signed on loan this week from PSG and whose training had been curtailed by his new-born son requiring a medical procedure.
But, while accepting that his side had not performed well, the veteran French manager was also left fuming by two failed penalty appeals — for a handball by Kurt Zouma and foul by Mame Diouf.
“We don’t get penalties, we know that,” said Wenger.
“I can get the numbers you will see. Look at the statistics. We had the highest penalties against us at home by a mile and the lowest number for us.”
To add to the manager’s bad mood, he also saw a second half “equaliser” by record signing Alexandre Lacazette ruled out for offside — a decision by referee Andre Marriner which television replays suggested had been correct by a matter of millimetres.
“I watched it, it’s not offside at all,” said Wenger. “Even his foot was not offside but we have to swallow that.
“We should have scored and it’s just another detail that didn’t go our way.”
Among many disappointing Arsenal performances, German international Mesut Ozil was particularly underwhelming, with television pundits picking him out for special attention, although Wenger would not criticise him.
“I think he did try,” said the manager. “It is difficult to single anybody out. Personally, I don’t think he deserved it.”
Wenger also confirmed that Chilean striker Alexis Sanchez, who trained with the team in London on Friday, will be available for their next game, Sunday’s visit to Liverpool, after being linked with a potential move away from the club.
But, in the meantime, having conceded three goals in the opening weekend victory over Leicester, Wenger insists he is not panicking about his team in that area.
“Last week we conceded two goals from corners,” he said. “They only had three shots on goal so I don’t think defended so badly — on set-pieces, yes.
“Today, the goal we conceded we were 100 per cent guilty but it was the kind of night when, not only we didn’t score, but stupid mistakes — first by losing the ball centrally and then by defending poorly — cost us.”
Meanwhile, Stoke manager Mark Hughes believes his new signing Jese will set the Premier League alight after his debut goal came on the back of a solitary training session with his new club.
The 24-year-old Spaniard had also missed an entire week’s training before arriving in Stoke due to a family illness.
“He’s an elite player,” said Hughes. “A player that can change games for teams, I’m delighted he’s here.
“Everybody has seen what he is going to bring to Stoke and bring to the Premier League. We’re glad he’s in our colours because he’s going to light up the Premier League.
“I saw glimpses of that in training and knew if we could get him on the pitch and give him some minutes he would have opportunities to show what he can do. He can be devastating.
“He’s not up to speed yet. He’s only had one significant training session and missed a week’s training last week because his new-born child had a minor operation.
“But he came in and wanted to make an impression and really enjoyed his first taste of the Premier League.”
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