Arsenal were heading towards a deserved three points on New Year’s Eve at West Bromwich Albion, then Mike Dean awarded a penalty kick and it cost the Gunners two points.
Arsene Wenger — setting the record for the most PL games managed in history (811) on Sunday — fumed on the sidelines and Dean came over to talk to the Arsenal manager during and after the game as Arsenal’s players were furious and Petr Cech was booked after the final whistle for his remonstrating.
Calum Chambers was the guilty party, in Dean’s eyes, as Kieran Gibbs knocked the ball onto his arm from close range inside the box and Jay Rodriguez scored the spot kick to make it 1-1 in the 89th minute at the Hawthorns.
Speaking to Sky Sports after the game Wenger was fuming with the referees, saying “it was not a penalty at all” and also hit out at the scheduling of games over the festive period.
“What can you do – talk and talk and talk but it doesn’t change anything. The Premier League does face a problem with the scheduling and referees,” Wenger said. “I tried hard with referees to help them become professional. The level of the referees unfortunately doesn’t go up. It’s not the first time it happened but it’s best we don’t talk about it.
“I believe West Brom had five days to prepare and we had three. The Premier League has to look at when the schedule is fair and unfair, on our side it’s unfair. Since the start of the season you have to look at it.”
Asked if VAR would have made a difference, this was Wenger’s response to Sky Sports.
“It is time. I don’t know why we want to be the best league in the world and wait this time and other leagues use it already,” Wenger added.
Wenger isn’t the first manager to hit out at the scheduling of the festive games, with his Arsenal side having just three days rest compared to five for West Brom for this game, while Chelsea will also have an extra days rest before their game against Arsenal on Wednesday.
All in all, Wenger was not a happy man on the day he surpassed Sir Alex Ferguson as the man who has managed the most games in PL history.
Arsenal are only three points off the top four but Wenger will be fuming into 2018 after his side were undoubtedly dealt a bad dose of luck to see out 2017.
There was no way that was a handball against Chambers.