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Monday 22 September 2014

Cazorla 'dive' riles Clarke

Published 09/12/2012 | 07:29

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Steve Clarke did not think that Arsenal's first penalty should have been awarded

West Brom manager Steve Clarke hit out at referee Mike Jones after he failed to spot a dive by Arsenal midfielder Santi Cazorla as the Gunners recorded a 2-0 Barclays Premier League win at Emirates Stadium.

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Arsenal took the lead in controversial fashion midway through the first half as Spain midfielder Cazorla flung himself to the floor following a challenge by Steven Reid, with replays showing there was no contact. Mikel Arteta converted the resulting penalty and scored from the spot again on 64 minutes after Chris Brunt tripped Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.

"There was zero contact, it wasn't even close. I am not sure what the referee saw," said the angry West Brom manager. "It was a bad decision for us and obviously changed the shape of the afternoon. It could have been a nervous afternoon for Arsenal, at 0-0 they hadn't created too much."

Clarke added: "The second was a clear penalty, no complaints, Chris fouled Oxlade-Chamberlain - but Goran Popov was fouled in the lead up to it and for some reason the referee, who gave soft free-kicks all afternoon, decided not to give that one.

"Another poor decision for us, you can add the [Per] Mertesacker handball in the first half - it was a normal ball into the box and somehow the officials decide it was a free-kick as it's the easy way out."

Clarke stopped short of calling Cazorla a cheat, though, adding: "There is a share of culpability, but on that one it is so clear there was no contact, the referee has to be better with his decision."

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger had not reviewed the incident, but revealed Cazorla insisted there had been contact.

"I am sorry if it was not a penalty, but I have spoken to Santi and he said he was touched, lost his balance. Has he made a bit more of it? I don't know," Wenger said.

"When he [a player] is touched, he goes down, the referee can give or not give the penalty. Of course [I will speak to Santi if he has not been touched]. I will look at it, don't worry."

Despite its controversial nature, it was a much-needed first victory in four matches for the Gunners, who have moved back up the Premier League table as a result. "Overall we played well. We were maybe a bit lucky on the first penalty, but we created chances and kept a clean sheet," Wenger said.

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