Football

Seething Wenger blames referee for defeat

Arsene Wenger accepted leaders Manchester City would be "hard to stop" in their quest for the English Premier League title if they continue to get the rub of the green from referees.

The Gunners manager accused City forward Raheem Sterling of diving after he won a penalty in his team's 3-1 victory over Arsenal at the Etihad on Sunday.

Veteran French boss Wenger was furious with the performance of referee Michael Oliver, who awarded the spot-kick and a dubious goal, which the Arsenal manager claimed was offside.

"I believe it was not a penalty," said Wenger.

"We know that Raheem Sterling dives well, he does that very well.

"And the third goal was offside. I am very upset because at 2-1, we were in the game. The third goal was the killer and it is by coincidence that mistakes always go for the home team, as we know.

"It is unfortunate, the way the game finished. I am disappointed. You can accept it if City win in a normal way, they are a good side but this is unacceptable," added Wenger whose side are 12 points behind the table-toppers.

"Last season, we lost because of two offside goals and it has happened again."

Wenger had grounds for complaint when Laurent Koscielny was judged to have brought down Sterling for Sergio Aguero to make it 2-0 from the penalty spot and television replays suggested he was especially hard done by as David Silva appeared offside before setting up Gabriel Jesus for City's third goal in the 74th minute.

City have 10 wins and a draw from their opening 11 league games this season, prompting speculation they could emulate Wenger's "Invincibles" Arsenal team that went through the whole of the 2003/04 campaign without losing a Premier League fixture.

"Look, can anyone stop them?" asked Wenger rhetorically.

"It will be difficult this season with the way they have started, the way they are on a run, the quality they have.

"They will be difficult to stop, but you never say never. If, on top of that, they have decisions like that at home, they will be unstoppable." - AFP

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