Former ref dismisses Wenger, says Arsenal man was lucky

Matt Stead

Former referee Dermot Gallagher insists Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger was wrong over the penalty clash that saw him accuse Manchester City’s Raheem Sterling of diving.

Wenger said Sterling “dives well” after he was awarded a spot-kick in the second half of City’s 3-1 win over the Gunners on Sunday following a clash with Nacho Monreal.

Gallagher even believes referee Michael Oliver could have sent Monreal off for bundling Sterling over at the Etihad Stadium.

“Sterling’s in possession of the ball, Monreal comes across, barges into him,” Gallagher told Sky Sports News HQ.

“You could argue he’s in on goal, he hasn’t made a clear attempt to play the ball. It could well have been a red card. It’s definitely a penalty.”

Wenger made the accusation during an interview for the BBC’s Match of the Day. The Frenchman was also angered that neither David Silva nor eventual goalscorer Gabriel Jesus were flagged offside in the build-up to City’s third goal.

“I believe it was no penalty,” Wenger said. “It was a provoked penalty by Sterling. We know that he dives well – he does that very well.

“And the third goal was offside. I am disappointed. You can accept it if City win in a normal way, they are a good side, but the way it happened is unacceptable.

“It is the second time in two years. We conceded two goals offside last year and we concede a goal here offside again.”

City have not responded to Wenger’s remarks but Press Association Sport understands the club are very disappointed and surprised, given the Gunners were interested in signing Sterling in the summer.

Arsenal were understood to have suggested the England international as a potential makeweight in any deal to take Alexis Sanchez to the Etihad Stadium on transfer deadline day. That was dismissed out of hand by City.

The club also feel it is unfair to suggest Sterling has a reputation for diving. In January the 22-year-old earned widespread praise for staying on his feet after being pushed in the area by Kyle Walker, who is now a team-mate, in a game against Tottenham.