Wenger 'disgusted' by disallowed goal
Arsene Wenger was left ''disgusted'' by a controversial offside decision which could yet prove crucial in Arsenal's Premier League title battle following a goalless draw with Sunderland at Emirates Stadium.
The Gunners were looking to take full advantage of Manchester United's midweek defeat at Chelsea to eat into their four-point lead. However, Andrey Arshavin should have been given a penalty after being pushed by Titus Bramble as he shaped to shoot, and then had a goal incorrectly ruled out for offside by the assistant on the far side after bursting clear.
Wenger admitted it was the last thing his injury-hit and battle weary squad had needed following the shock Carling Cup final defeat to Birmingham at Wembley last weekend.
''I am too disgusted to speak about these things,'' the Arsenal manager told BBC Sport. ''What can you say? We put a lot of commitment into the game. I believe Arshavin was not offside, but what can you do?
''These kind of things have too big an impact on the Premier League and we are really disappointed but we have to take it on the chin for the next game, but we feel really justice has not been done today and it is not the first time.''
When he gave his main post-match interview, the Gunners boss was in more reflective mood. He told reporters: ''It is another disappointment. You do not want to have things going against you, but what can we do? Now we just have to focus on Tuesday night.''
Wenger continued: ''I am very happy with the performance, defensively we were very good and gave a lot physically, and I cannot fault the players' attitude. True, we lacked a bit of creativity and sharpness in final third, but had two decisions going against us today which punish us severely, especially the offside, which is not offside. To win this game 1-0 today was important.''
Wenger, though, was careful not to hit out at referee Anthony Taylor or his team any more, perhaps mindful of the Football Association action against United boss Sir Alex Ferguson.
''What can I do about it now?'' he said. ''It is my job to deliver football games and the referee's job to give the right decisions. I can explain my job, but to [explain] the referee's decision? That is your job.''
Wenger tried to see the positive side of the disappointment.
''We have played 11 games, with eight wins and three draws, so we are quite consistent with our results,'' he said. ''Today's result comes at a bad moment. Will it psychologically have such a big impact on the championship? I don't think so.''
Arshavin, meanwhile, remained philosophical despite the key decision going against him.
"Nothing can be changed. This is football, everything happens,'' the Russian said on his personal website. "Now we have to focus on the upcoming game against Barcelona.''
Sunderland, who avoided what would have been a fifth straight league defeat, could have snatched a late goal themselves through substitute Danny Welbeck, but Wojciech Szczesny - whose last-minute blunder at Wembley cost Arsenal the chance of Carling Cup glory - made a fine save at full stretch.
Black Cats manager Steve Bruce was pleased his players produced the required standard in testing circumstances.
''We needed a response after last week when we were shocking,'' he said. ''We have been hit by injuries, but the response today was terrific in the first half especially.
''There were a few hairy moments in the second half, but overall I think we deserved something from it. If you come here you need your defenders and goalkeeper to play well, and that is what they have done.''