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Arsene Wenger says referee cost Arsenal win in Schalke

Referee cost us, claims Wenger after Arsenal draw in Schalke

Gunners throw away two-goal lead in Germany

Arsenal were denied clear goal-scoring opportunity, says Wenger

Contract rebel Walcott scores on rare start

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UPDATED:

01:31 GMT, 7 November 2012

Arsene Wenger criticised referee Nicola Rizzoli after his side lost a two-goal lead to Schalke.

The Arsenal manager felt Ibrahim Afellay had fouled Theo Walcott in the build-up to the Germans' first goal and were denied a clear chance when the Italian official blew instead of playing on, with Marco Hoger falling as Lukas Podolski was clear on goal.

On target: Walcott opened the scoring in Germany

On target: Walcott opened the scoring in Germany

'There was a foul on Walcott and he gave a foul against Walcott. It is a foul from Afellay on Walcott, 100 per cent. There was another decision that was amazing, the first time I've seen anything like that, to stop the game when a player has rolled over on his ankle. I never seen that when you have a goal chance.'

But, despite losing a two-goal lead, Wenger was happy.

Yellow peril: Podolski was booked for showing descent after the referee halted an Arsenal attack

Yellow peril: Podolski was booked for showing descent after the referee halted an Arsenal attack

'It was important not to lose and, if possible, to win. We managed the first part, not the second one. Overall, we played reasonably well, we dropped physically in the second half. The regret we have is we conceded the goal before half-time and we missed the chance (from Walcott) at the end.'

Wenger handed Walcott a rare start, and he praised the contract rebel, saying: 'Theo did very well. A positive attitude, and he was fresh as well. He was the one you could feel that could always make a difference and score goals. It's not a coincidence he had the chance to score in the last minute.'

Content: Wenger was pleased with his side's response following their defeat at Manchester United on Saturday

Content: Wenger was pleased with his side's response following their defeat at Manchester United on Saturday

Walcott added: 'It was a good point in the end. It would have been a fantastic victory, but Schalke are a tough side. We are just trying to win our last couple of games and that is all you can do. I just want to play – hopefully now I can get a run in the team because I feel I fully deserve it.'

When asked if his contract is why he has been on the bench, he said: 'You have to ask the manager that question, I can't answer it.'

Schalke v Arsenal: In-focus, by Andrew Magee

Klaas-Jan Hunterlaar

Dutch ace drilled home Schalke’s first goal clinically but really should have put Arsenal away when he missed chances in second half.

Jermaine Jones

Schalke’s central midfielder was lucky not to be penalised when he caught Olivier Giroud on the thigh with his studs as the two clashed in mid air.

Lewis Holtby

Showed some sublime technique to set up Huntelaar for the first goal, but clipped Jack Wilshere with a clumsy challenge in the second half.

Lukas Podolski

Was furious with referee Rizzoli after he stopped play for an injury with Arsenal in a promising
attacking position. The Germany forward was booked for his troubles.