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Liverpool and Arsenal set for showdown

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Wenger denies attempting to influence referees

Arsene Wenger has denied Sam Allardyce's claims that he uses the media to influence referees and says he will not stop speaking out against bad tackles.

Allardyce: Wenger tries to influence refs
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Wenger: Szczesny must be patient

Blackburn boss Allardyce accused Wenger of attempting to manipulate the officials in his favour before Arsenal's trip to Ewood Park after he used his pre-match press conference to speak about Stoke defenders fouling Tottenham goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes.

Wenger, though, insists his comments had nothing to do with trying to influence referees.

He said: "I don't do it - I just think if it is right or wrong and I came very quickly to the conclusion that it is wrong."

Stoke boss Tony Pulis said Wenger's remarks on his players were "out of order", while the club's chief executive, Tony Scholes, vowed to pursue a complaint against the Arsenal manager.

However, Wenger said: "They shouldn't [take it personally] because I do not criticise them. Most of the time it was down to the fact I criticised violent football, and I am ready to do that at any price, to come out on that, because I don't accept it.

"Everybody should be on the same wavelength on that, without criticising any manager. When I say, 'This is a bad foul', I just say, 'This is a bad foul' - I do not consider who it is, where it is or the manager. I just think it is a bad foul."

Wenger served a one-match touchline ban in the Carling Cup against Tottenham this week as a result of his behaviour at the end of the 1-1 draw with Sunderland, and he accepts that he deserved his punishment.

"I have lived here for a long time and I know how it works, so I can live with it," he said. "I live with the positives and the negatives, but at the end of the day I look at what I do right or wrong and try to be objective.

"I told you I was wrong in our last away game at Sunderland and I accept the punishment.

"The FA is always very swift with me, but I cannot influence it [the system]. I said I was wrong [at Sunderland] and that doesn't make anyone else right or wrong."

He also called again for video evidence to be used after Bolton defender Paul Robinson escaped punishment for a tackle that left Abou Diaby injured.

"Robinson's was a bad tackle, but the rule is that if the foul has not been seen by the referee, they can do nothing about it," he said.

"That is why I have pleaded for a long time for video - if you want the referee to get bad tackles out of the game, you have to accept that at some stage a review of the video (is needed) so the FA can punish the players that do it."

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