Arsene Wenger was not happy with the refereeing in yesterdays defeat to Fulham, and he believes that Fulham’s sole game plan consisted of getting Johann Djourou a second yellow card after the Arsenal defender was first booked.
“The referee influenced the game in completely the wrong way, in my opinion,” said Wenger.
“We cannot influence that. We had a good first half … in the second half we were more tired and in the last 10 minutes we lost the game because we were down to 10 men. The first yellow card was not a yellow card; the second yellow card was a foul for us. It was also 100% a penalty for us in the first half.
“When Djourou got the first yellow, every time they went down to get him the second yellow. He did nothing at all. I saw it coming because when Frei came on the game was all about looking for the second yellow card for Djourou. The referee was naive enough to give it. We played many games recently and we knew that if we dropped our level we would be in trouble. But we would not have been in trouble if we had stayed with 11 on the pitch.”
“We do not need to make stories for the newspapers,” Wenger raged. “I tell you about the game that I have seen. I don’t care about the rest. I just felt that every time … Djourou was on the fringe to get a second yellow.
“There was too much at stake in the game … we needed absolutely everything to go for us and to be right. We are guilty because we still gave two goals away in a stupid way and we didn’t take our chances but, as well, you must say that nothing went for us from the referee, nothing at all. We cannot change that. We have to live with it, unfortunately.”
The Fulham manager agreed that perhaps Wenger could say that the introduction of Frei had been his idea, and was happy to take the flak. “Maybe he could accuse me of trying to do something but I don’t think the players can do that,” Jol said. “The only thing I did was put Frei on the flank and he is an exciting player. He went one-versus-one all the time and that was probably the problem for Djourou. He probably could have had a second booking before he got it, to be fair.”
Well if that really was Jol’s game plan then it worked very well, but don’t tell me that it was Jol that told Wenger to put on Sebastien Squillaci to assist with the winning goal?