Clarke fumes at Cazorla penalty dive as West Brom fall to Arsenal
19:16 GMT, 8 December 2012
West Brom manager Steve Clarke hit out at referee Mike Jones after he failed to spot a dive by Arsenal midfielder Santi Cazorla as the Gunners recorded a 2-0 Barclays Premier League win at Emirates Stadium.
Arsenal took the lead in controversial fashion midway through the first half as Spain midfielder Cazorla flung himself to the floor following a challenge by Steven Reid, with replays showing there was no contact.
Mikel Arteta converted the resulting penalty.
Easy as that: Mikel Arteta scored his first goal from the spot
Arsenal: Szczesny, Sagna, Mertesacker, Vermaelen, Gibbs, Arteta, Wilshere, Oxlade-Chamberlain (Coquelin 77), Cazorla (Podolski 87), Giroud, Gervinho (Rosicky 81)
Subs not used: Martinez, Squillaci, Jenkinson, Ramsey
Booked: Mertesacker, Giroud
Goals: Arteta 26 (pen), 64 (pen)
West Brom: Myhill, Reid, Olsson, Ridgewell (Popov 6), McAuley, Morrison, Brunt, Mulumbu, Gera (Rosenberg 75), Long, Odemwingie (Lukaku 62),
Subs not used: Daniels, Tamas, Dorrans, Fortune
Booked: Olsson, Brunt, Reid
Referee: Mike Jones
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The Baggies, who lost twice last week
to halt their fine start to the season, never really recovered from the
sense of injustice and there was no way back once Arteta converted from
the spot again on 64 minutes after Chris Brunt had tripped Alex
Oxlade-Chamberlain – which Clarke felt had come following a foul by the
midfielder on Goran Popov in the build-up.
'There was zero contact, it wasn't even close. I am not sure what the referee saw,' said the angry West Brom manager.
'It was a bad decision for us and obviously changed the shape of the afternoon.
'It could have been a nervous afternoon for Arsenal, at 0-0 they hadn't created too much.
'We knew the longer the game went the
more pressure would come on Arsenal and then we would have a chance.
That decision changed it.'
Clarke continued: 'The second was a
clear penalty, no complaints, Chris fouled Oxlade-Chamberlain – but
Goran Popov was fouled in the lead up to it and for some reason the
referee, who gave soft free-kicks all afternoon, decided not to give
Arms aloft: Arteta wheels away after the penalty hit the back of the net
Bust up: Mike Jones is surrounded by West Brom players after awarding the first penalty
Another poor decision for us, you
can add the [Per] Mertesacker handball in the first half – it was a
normal ball into the box and somehow the officials decide it was a
free-kick as it's the easy way out.
'They gave it for a free-kick on somebody but I've seen the replay and for the life of me cannot see a free-kick.'
Clarke stopped short of calling
Cazorla a cheat, though, adding: 'There is a share of culpability, but
on that one it is so clear there was no contact, the referee has to be
better with his decision..
Contact Santi Cazorla won the penalty but there appeared to be no touch from Steven Reid
Not even close: Cazorla went down easily in the box
'I don't want a witch hunt on
referees, in his country we have fantastic referees and a fantastic
group that work hard to make the game the game it is.
'We have to try to work as hard as we
can with the referees, in this game unfortunately it was the poorest of
a really good group.
'We have a number of good referees, we have to find good more referees. that is the way forward.'
Up and away: Jack Wilshere battles for the ball
Mismatch Wilshere squares up to Jonas Olsson
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger had not reviewed the incident, but revealed Cazorla insisted there had been contact.
'I am sorry if it was not a penalty,
but I have spoken to Santi and he said he was touched, lost his balance.
Has he made a bit more of it I don't know,' Wenger said.
'When he [a player] is touched, he goes down, the referee can give or not give the penalty.
Catch me if you can: Goran Popov slides in on Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain
'Of course [I will speak to Santi if he has not been touched]. I will look at it, don't worry.'
Despite its controversial nature, it
was a much-needed first victory in four matches for the Gunners, who
have moved back up the Premier League table as a result.
'Overall we played well. We were
maybe a bit lucky on the first penalty, but we created chances and kept a
clean sheet,' Wenger said.
'We have shown a great spirit, which many people questioned after our last game, so we did our job very well.
'You could feel we were ready for a fight and that we absolutely had to win this game, which is what we did.'
England midfielder Jack Wilshere produced a composed display and was the heartbeat of the Arsenal side.
Wenger said: 'Jack is getting closer to the player we know he is and today I think he made a big step.
'You could see it already this week
in training, that he has gained a little burst again, a little zip in
the first three or four yards.
'In football, you have sometimes to
be patient. He can only gain it by playing but of course in the first
games you cannot be at that level.'
You again! Arteta scored his second penalty of the game
Vying: Olivier Giroud and Jonas Olsson battle for possession
Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger went into today's match against West Brom under pressure following four matches without victory. Here, Nicholas McAvaney takes a look at how he performed.
BODY LANGUAGE Looking sharp in his suit, Wenger (right) lasted five minutes before donning his winter coat – not because of a frosty reception from the fans however.
Often out of his seat in the opening half, Wenger stormed to the bench on 22 minutes after venting his frustration on the turf following Gervinho's missed.
Even Mikel Arteta's goal three minutes later could not remove the Frenchman's scowl, which remained until the whistle. Arteta's second goal also failed to excite the manager, who was a touch more animated in the second half, mostly in the final 10 minutes when the victory was assured.
At full-time and following a quick handshake with Steve Clarke, he was off the pitch without hesitation.
TACTICS Opening with a 4-4-2 formation, Arsenal dominated possession and regularly peppered the opposition goal, albeit with little success.
Wenger resisted the urge to shake up his forward line soon after the break, much to the frustration of fans who grew tired of Gervinho's wasted opportunities 15 minutes into the second half and vehemently appealed to Wenger for an urgent substitution.
Francis Coquelin and Tomas Rosicky helped strengthen his midfield with 10 minutes remaining at the expense of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Gervinho.
INTERACTION The Frenchman was unusually quiet with the officials across the first 45 minutes, only once questioning a call that saw Oliver Giroud writhing on the ground clutching his lower back just past the half hour.
He was quickly out of his seat in the second half, though, exchanging words with the fourth official to little effect.
He vented with greater aggression five minutes later after a questionable call against Arsenal, then spent the remainder of the half with his hands in his pockets, only occasionally commanding player movements in the final 10 minutes.
FANS The home fans reserved any stick for the manager for prior to kick off. An ironic cheer erupted on 10 minutes as the manager craftily flicked the ball back from the bench for a throw in, but few had anything to say to the Frenchman throughout the half.
Fans seemed happy with Arteta's brace all but assuring Arsenal of the three points, and dutifully applauded the boss for a job well done on 90 minutes.