Maybe it’s the fact that we’re nearly seven months into the Premier League season, which is seven months full of snotty manager quotes, but Arsene Wenger’s Monday comments on match officials come across in a pretty poor light.
Wenger is requesting fair officiating for Tuesday’s UEFA Champions League match against Bayern Munich, and brought up not only the first leg’s red card against Wojciech Szczesny, but red cards from 2011 and 2006.
Yes, Wenger would like UEFA to know that he remembers everything that’s ever happened to his club, and that it all was unfair, intentional and meant to hurt the Gunners.
“We played now a few times with 10 men in Europe and under always very special circumstances,” Wenger said, appearing to begin to say “suspicious” before checking himself to say “special”. “In the Champions League final … now against Bayern and at Barcelona when we were in a position to qualify.
“It’s the only time that I’ve seen that since I watched European football when Van Persie was sent off. So I hope we will get a fair chance to play with 11 against 11 until the end.”
And like Manuel Pellegrini and his distaste for a certain Swedish official, Wenger is also critical of UEFA slotting in a referee from a non-footballing power. Tuesday’s head official is Svein Oddvar Moen, a 35-year-old from Norway.
“What you want is a good referee and I think the closer they are to the tough leagues, the more chances they have to detect the tricks that can decide a game,” Wenger said. “But that’s the same for Bayern. Sometimes when you come from a league that is less pacey.”
The comments taste a bit like the sour grapes Manuel Pellegrini poured all over Man City’s first leg loss to Barcelona. That earned Pellegrini a three-match ban from UEFA and, while his words were harsher than Wenger’s, should raise the eyebrows of Europe’s governing body.