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Wenger fury at 'repeated fouls'

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger
Wenger has reopened hostilities with Manchester United

Manager Arsene Wenger has accused Manchester United of adopting "anti-football" tactics during Saturday's 2-1 victory over his Arsenal side.

Wenger also claimed referee Mike Dean allowed the champions to "repeatedly foul" Arsenal players during the match.

He said: "I have seen a player make 20 fouls without getting a yellow card.

"If you have seen the game, you don't need me to tell you who but their player gets away without a yellow card. It's quite amazing," stormed Wenger.

After a 2-0 defeat at Old Trafford in 2004, Wenger claimed United had directly targeted his players.

This time, the Arsenal manager said the home team's approach went continually unpunished by Dean.

The referee, from the Wirral, issued nine yellow cards during the game, with six going to Arsenal, who will now face a Football Association fine for failing to control their players during the fixture.

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But with United midfielders Darren Fletcher and Michael Carrick emerging from the game without bookings, Wenger claims that persistent fouling has now become a greater problem than diving.

That has become a hot topic again following Uefa's decision to charge Gunners forward Eduardo for simulation during the Champions League victory against Celtic last Wednesday.

Another Arsenal player, Emmanuel Eboue, was cautioned for diving on Saturday.

But Wenger said: "I have seen today a player [Eduardo] who plays only on the pitch, but there are other points that for me are more urgent - players who play only to make fouls, who make repeated fouls and are never punished.

"They get out of the game without a yellow card, but I think it is more anti-football than a player who did what Eduardo did.

"I have seen a player make 20 fouls without getting a yellow card. If you have seen the game, you don't need me to tell you who but their player gets away without a yellow card. It's quite amazing."

First-half fouls by Carrick on Denilson, Eboue and Bacary Sagna, along with free-kicks conceded by Fletcher for challenges on Eboue and Alex Song, resulted in no yellow cards being issued by Dean, prompting bemusement from Wenger.

He said: "I don't know [why they went unpunished]. You should ask the referees. I don't know.

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"Look at how many deliberate fouls some players make and get away with it. I think that's a bigger problem because it cuts the flow of the game every time.

"People come and pay to see football. They do not come to see free-kicks."

When asked whether United had deliberately set out to foul his players, Wenger was cautious, saying: "I don't know that. You should ask them.'

Scotland captain Fletcher was swift to defend his performance, however.

He said: "I enjoyed the challenge of going up against Arsenal in a big game and I did what I normally do. I made some tackles and got about the opposition. No different to any other game. It just gets noted more in the big games.

"Arsenal play a high pressing game and made it difficult for us to get out, but in the second half we upped the tempo, we pressed them, got the fans behind us."

In a previous interview, Wenger had also hinted that home advantage may have played a part in the award of a penalty to United during the match.

Wenger finds defeat hard to swallow

With the visitors leading in the second half, Dean pointed to the spot after Wayne Rooney was apparently tripped by goalkeeper Manuel Almunia.

"It was Old Trafford-ish. We know how things work," said Wenger.

To put the seal on a difficult week for the Frenchman, Wenger was also sent from the dug-out after a Robin van Persie goal was ruled out.

"I just kicked a bottle of water. I did it because I was disappointed, not because I thought it wasn't offside," said Wenger, who was sent off deep in injury time.

"The fourth official called the referee over and he sent me off. I don't know what to say. I didn't even know where to go.

"I didn't know you were not allowed to kick a water bottle, although it was a good kick."

Rooney picked himself up from the Almunia challenge to level from 12 yards before Abou Diaby's own goal sealed Wenger's misery.

Earlier in the match, Wenger had seen his own side's appeals for a penalty waved away after Darren Fletcher's untidy tackle on Andrey Arshavin.

"Maybe I'm not the most objective," the Frenchman said. "But I believe it was a penalty."



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see also
Wenger to get sending off apology
30 Aug 09 |  Premier League
Man Utd 2-1 Arsenal
29 Aug 09 |  Premier League
Wenger angry over Eduardo charge
28 Aug 09 |  Europe
Arsenal 3-1 Celtic (agg 5-1)
26 Aug 09 |  Europe


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