Friday 20 July 2018

Arsene Wenger hits out at Raheem Sterling for ‘diving well’

Arsene Wenger was unhappy at the penalty won by Raheem Sterling in Arsenal's loss at Manchester City.
Arsene Wenger was unhappy at the penalty won by Raheem Sterling in Arsenal's loss at Manchester City.

Mark Critchley

Arsene Wenger has claimed that Raheem Sterling “dives well” and that Manchester City will be “unstoppable” in the Premier League title race if Pep Guardiola's side continue to benefit from contentious refereeing decisions.

The Arsenal manager saw his side go down 3-1 at the Etihad Stadium on Sunday, with Kevin De Bruyne's 19th-minute opener followed in the second half by a Sergio Aguero penalty and a controversial Gabriel Jesus strike.

Wenger disagreed with referee Michael Oliver's decision to award the spot-kick after Nacho Monreal barged into Sterling, while television replays suggest David Silva received the ball in an offside position before setting up Jesus' goal.

Speaking to television broadcasters after the game, Wenger said: “I believe it was no penalty. We know that Raheem Sterling dives well, he does that very well. And the third goal was offside. I am very upset because at 2-1 we were in the game.

“The third goal was the killer and it is by coincidence that mistakes always go for the home team, as we know.”

In his post-match press conference, he added: “You have seen what I've seen, you judge how you want. The fact you tell me it is an offside goal is enough.

“I don't want to take anything away from their quality but it happened at a moment when we were reading the game at 2-1 and it killed the game. It's the second year we come here, we got two offside goals last year and one again this year.

“Can anyone stop them? It will be difficult this season, the way they have started, the quality they have, but you never know,” the Arsenal manager added. “If on top of that they have decisions at home like that, they will be unstoppable.”

Wenger also defended Alexis Sanchez's performance at the Etihad, despite the Arsenal forward enduring a difficult afternoon in Manchester.

Sanchez was the subject of two ultimately unsuccessful transfer bids by City in August and played at the Etihad for the first time since the summer saga.

“In a difficult moment of the game he did very well,” Wenger said. “He was on his own up front in the first half but had not enough support. Overall, I think he has done everything.

“It is a huge mental test but I have no doubt about him before the game. He is focused and wants to win. He had a good performance.”

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