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Apr, 17, 2013

Wenger plays down tunnel bust up

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has moved to play down the 'tunnel bust-up' in his side's 0-0 draw with Everton on Tuesday night, but he has accused the Toffees of going "over the edge" in their physical approach in the Emirates Stadium stalemate.

• Brewin: Everton set to fall short
• Blog: Gunners prove a point
• Blog: Positives for Everton

Gunners midfielder Jack Wilshere seemed to react angrily to Everton's Kevin Mirallas squirting water in his direction as the players left the field at half-time in the hard fought contest, with TV pictures showing the England international clashing with his rival in the tunnel.

The incident was overlooked by Wenger, but he claimed Everton midfielder Darron Gibson should have been sent-off after a feisty draw that leaves Arsenal in a strong position to claim a top four finish in the Premier League.

"They (Everton) decided to make it very physical for us to disturb our game and sometimes went over the edge, but the referee had to make the right decisions," stated Wenger. "If (a tunnel bust-up) was on TV, very soon everybody will know about it.

"I don't blame the referee and I do not want to comment on every decision of the referee. Despite all that, we had the chances to win the game."

Wenger's comments on Gibson may not be welcomed by Everton boss David Moyes, as the Arsenal chief opted to go public in his belief that the Republic of Ireland star should have been shown a red card after his committed performance in the heart of the midfield battle.

When asked whether Gibson should have been sent off after a strong challenge on Theo Walcott, Wenger was unequivocal in his answer: "Yes. I never speak to the referee. I don't know why (Gibson wasn't sent off), honestly. He should have had a yellow card already before the first one.

"We had to deal with that and the referee has to make the right decisions. Apart from that, it was a game of huge intensity, a fight for both teams."

Moyes was quick to defend Gibson's contribution to his side's battling draw, as the Everton boss was quick to snipe at Wenger for his long-standing failure to see high profile incident.

"Did you see the incident?" Moyes asked, with a hint of sarcasm in his voice. "I didn't either and I know somebody who says that quite a lot.

"Everton got the crowd going, but just because you make tackles, not every one is a foul and not every one means you have to kick it out of play.

"We matched Arsenal. To come to the Emirates at any time and get a point is a good result. Obviously we wanted the three to try and keep moving forward, but we are not too disappointed. We probably need to win every game now to have a chance of the top four, but we'll keep going."

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