Tuesday 16 January 2018

Wenger in hot water after angry scenes at Sunderland

Marc Isaacs

ARSENE WENGER goes into tonight's Carling Cup tie at Tottenham facing another touchline ban after being charged by the English FA with improper conduct following his actions in Arsenal's 1-1 draw with Sunderland.

Wenger was angry after his side conceded an equaliser in the fifth minute of stoppage time at the Stadium of Light on Saturday. The Arsenal manager appeared to push fourth official Martin Atkinson in the back after Darren Bent's goal came 15 seconds over the allotted four minutes stoppage-time. He was also critical of the officials in his post-match press conference.

Under the FA's new disciplinary procedure, Wenger could accept the charge and face a one-match touchline ban and £8,000 fine. He has until Thursday to respond to the charge and if he denies the offence, the case will be heard by a regulatory commission.

It is not the first time Wenger has been banned from the touchline for arguing with the fourth official. In 2007, UEFA forced him to sit in the stands for a Champions League game against Steaua Bucharest, after he was sent off during a defeat in Seville.

He was also given a 12-match touchline ban, which was overturned on appeal, after pushing fourth official Paul Taylor after a league game against Portsmouth in 2000. Wenger will be in the dug-out at White Hart Lane tonight, and is expected to field a team of fringe players and youngsters against what is likely to be a much-changed Tottenham.


Lukasz Fabianski will get a chance to start in goal, despite conceding five against Spurs in the semi-final of this competition three seasons ago. Wenger is hoping the Polish 'keeper overcomes the disappointment of failing to displace Manuel Almunia as first-choice No 1 this season.

Wenger said: "He was disappointed, certainly. I believe he has a very strong attitude, very strong response and he works very hard in training, so he has an opportunity to show his massive talent. I have massive faith in him and I think I have shown this historically."

Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp will also make a number of changes, including a debut for Brazilian midfielder Sandro (21).

Redknapp had never seen Sandro in action before signing him in March. After seeing videos of him play, Redknapp sent chief scout Ian Broomfield to South America for almost a month to track his progress before deciding to sign him for £6m earlier this year.

Sandro reminds him of Brazilian legend Socrates, and Redknapp hopes he can make a quick progression into the first-team.

"We had loads of videos of him and we thought it was worth Ian going out there. I rely on him. It's the first time I've had to do that but he came back and recommended him very, very highly and the chairman was very keen and went over there and completed the deal." (© Daily Telegraph, London)

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