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Page last updated at 15:46 GMT, Thursday, 26 August 2010 16:46 UK

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger fears Rovers 'rugby' match

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Arsene Wenger said football must be prevented from becoming like "rugby" ahead of Saturday's possible physical battle between Arsenal and Blackburn.

The Gunners boss criticised Rovers for "no purpose to play the ball" as they blocked keeper Lukasz Fabianski during last May's loss at Ewood Park.

"I saw pictures last Sunday - you can't say any more it is football, it is rugby on the goalkeepers," said Wenger.

"The referees cannot go on and accept that anymore."

He added: "When you see how Stoke defender Ryan Shawcross kicked Tottenham goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes, how Robert Huth pushed Gomes in the goal, you cannot say that is football any more.

606: DEBATE

"If the referees allow that you cannot accept that because that has nothing to do with the game.

"Apart from that, when a team play long ball and head the ball and become physical I accept that completely and I respect that - but it has to be in respect of the rules, that is all."

Chris Foy will be the man in the middle for Saturday's televised lunchtime encounter and Wenger believes he will be need pay close attention to the treatment of his keeper.

"I believe that in some situations the goalkeepers are not protected," the Arsenal manager said.

"You cannot have players whose main role is to stop the goalkeepers from catching the ball and not even go for the ball."



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see also
Arsenal secure Squillaci signing
26 Aug 10 |  Arsenal
Allardyce dismisses Wenger claim
14 Feb 07 |  FA Cup
Wenger fumes at Blackburn tactics
03 May 10 |  Premier League


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