Further woe for Arsenal as duo charged
Published 10/03/2011 | 05:00
Arsenal's sense of grievance over their Champions League exit to Barcelona was compounded yesterday when Arsene Wenger and Samir Nasri were charged by Uefa after furiously confronting the referee following the match.
Uefa studied reports by the Swiss official Massimo Busacca, who incensed Arsenal by sending off Robin van Persie. Wenger and Nasri have both been charged with using "inappropriate language" with a hearing set for March 17.
The duo will be expected to attend the hearing and explain their comments.
"The case is one of improper conduct of the coach and player," a Uefa spokesman said. There are a number of sanctions available, ranging from a ban to a fine, with the likelihood -- given the nature of the offence -- being the latter.
Wenger confronted Busacca twice, immediately after the match and just before the Arsenal team departed the Nou Camp, and also continued his criticisms in his post-match interviews.
However, it is not his media comments -- which included a claim that "Uefa people" were "shocked" by Busacca's performance -- which are being investigated but his aggressive behaviour towards the official.
Nasri was among a group of Arsenal players who confronted Busacca to protest about the second yellow card issued to Van Persie, for kicking the ball away in the second half. Van Persie called the dismissal a "total joke", a view rejected by Barca captain Xavi.
"Van Persie could have been sent off before for the incident in the first half," Xavi said.
"The referee decided that it was Barcelona's ball; he kicks it out and the rule says that is a card."
Fabregas did not speak after the match -- although he did tweet, apologising for his display -- with his fellow midfielder, the impressive Jack Wilshere, speaking on behalf of the team and remaining insistent that they had the "character" to still have a successful season.
Arsenal face Manchester United in the FA Cup quarter-finals on Saturday and are second in the Premier League, three points behind United with a game in hand.
"We are still in two competitions and need to get a trophy this year, that will be the aim," Wilshere said.
"We have got great mental strength; there is disappointment in the dressing-room, yes, but we have got to pick ourselves up and go to Manchester United to get the win.
"Maybe now that we are out of Europe, we can be stronger in the league, concentrate on that more, really push on to try to win it. "
Wenger will have to decide how strong a team to field against United, amid fears that his team lack bottle.
However, Wilshere said: "We know we have got great character. We showed that in the first leg, when we came from behind at home against Barcelona." (© Daily Telegraph, London)