Friday 15 December 2017

Mancini sees red over pivotal dismissal of Boyata

Sam Wallace

ROBERTO MANCINI claimed last night that referee Mark Clattenburg had got it wrong in his crucial decision to send off Dedryck Boyata in the fifth minute -- the moment which turned a match that Arsenal won 3-0 against the 10 men of Manchester City.

Mancini said that Marouane Chamakh, brought down by Boyata with no further defender between him and goal, had knocked the ball on too far ahead for it to be classed as a goalscoring opportunity. "I don't agree with the referee," Mancini said.

"You must respect the rules. Against Newcastle we had a clear chance to score, because Carlos (Tevez) was in the box, and it was a yellow card.

"(Yesterday) the striker touched the ball, but it was probably going to the goalkeeper and the referee sent him off. I thought that if there are rules, it's always the last man (and) if there is a clear opportunity to score, it's a red card. I think when Chamakh touched the ball it was going to the goalkeeper."

Without Boyata, the City manager was forced into a hasty reorganisation of his team, bringing Yaya Toure back into the centre of his side's defence.

"Against Arsenal it is difficult to play 11 against 11," Mancini said. "But 10 against 11 is very hard. It is my opinion that if we had played 11 versus 11 we would have won this game and I am very proud of my players because I think they did very well."

Arsenal's goals from Samir Nasri, Alex Song and substitute Nicklas Bendtner put them up to second in the Premier League, ahead of Manchester United and Manchester City on goal difference.

There was no reference to the Wayne Rooney saga at City yesterday, after a week in which the United striker took his club to the brink over contract negotiations, with his team's cross-city rivals touted as his most likely destination. Only the banner proclaiming the ground to be a 'Shrek-free zone' offered any dig at Rooney.

For Arsene Wenger, yesterday's victory was the first in the last 10 games against that group of title rivals comprising City, United and current leaders Chelsea. The Arsenal manager said that the performance demonstrated that his team had "matured".

"I mean that in terms of negotiating the difficulties of the game, which means not getting a red card and keeping the ball under control," Wenger said.

"I cannot explain why (they have not beaten one of that group of three in the last 10), but it is true. In some games we were close to winning and lost. At Chelsea we lost 2-0 and, watching the game again, it was difficult to understand how we lost. I hope this result will give us belief and confidence."

There were six bookings -- four of them for Arsenal -- as well as Boyata's red card and Wenger said he warned his players at half-time not to get sent off. It was Arsenal's first clean sheet away from home in the Premier League since January 27. (© Independent News Service)

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