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Sagna claims Dowd rant

Arsenal defender Bacary Sagna has claimed referee Phil Dowd used unacceptable language when pressed for an explanation for Newcastle's controversial penalty award on Saturday.

Newcastle 4-4 Arsenal
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Arsenal had looked certain to take three points at St James' Park as they led 4-0 at half-time but, after Abou Diaby was sent off for pushing Joey Barton and Kevin Nolan, Newcastle secured a 4-4 draw.

There was more than a hint of controversy about the result. Kevin Nolan escaped a red card for a push on Wojciech Szczesny, and Newcastle's second penalty appeared harsh on Laurent Koscielny.

Sagna, referring to the penalty award, told The Sun: "I asked him for an explanation and he was pretty hard on me. I won't repeat what words he came out with but they should never come from a referee."

Arsene Wenger spoke out after the game about the Barton challenge that led Diaby to react, and Sagna - sent off for a clash with Pablo Zabaleta during last month's 0-0 draw with Manchester City - defended his team-mate's actions.

"Honestly, I've experienced the same problem [as Diaby had with Barton]," he said. "Not so long ago against Man City, I was the victim of several attacks and after a while it gets inside your head.

"Abou reacted badly but I understand. It's not the first time he's been injured and he could have had a serious problem. The referee should have taken disciplinary measures."

Meanwhile, Andrei Arshavin has said Wenger was stunned into silence in the aftermath of the result.

"He didn't say anything at all to us," he said. "He was disappointed and distraught too, like any man would be in his shoes and under such circumstances.

"Naturally, we were all sad - only Manchester United being defeated later that night sweetened the pill a bit - but we are not psychologically broken. We just cannot afford to be.

"If we want to win, we must not be sitting and moaning. We need to analyse that unfortunate match and draw the right conclusions from it.

"That day is over and left behind. We need to think and prepare for the next match in the Premier League against Wolves."

He added: "What happened was something unbelievable with a tragic end for us. It was as if there was a magnet behind one of the goals because all eight were scored in it."


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