Football: Wenger is left fuming by Wise's two-footed challenge on Vieira

post-match verdict
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The Independent Online
Arsene Wenger claimed Dennis Wise should have been sent off before Nigel Winterburn's late strike took Arsenal second in the Premiership.

The Arsenal manager was scathing about a two-footed lunge by the midfielder which left Patrick Vieira crumpled on the turf. "The tackle was a very hard and bad one and my first thought was that Patrick would not be able to play any more."

Ruud Gullit, the Chelsea manager, shrugged off the controversy. "I thought he played the ball. Perhaps he did go in with two feet but I thought the referees in England allowed that."

Those undercurrents overshadowed a game won by the rarest of goals by Winterburn, whose last strike for the Gunners had come 18 months ago at his former club, Wimbledon. The full-back, who arrowed a drive into the top corner from 25 yards, admitted: "I've been taking a lot of stick off the lads because I haven't scored for over a year so when I found the ball in space I just decided to try it."

Winterburn's goal was only his eighth in 353 league appearances for the Gunners and Wenger said: "It was the sort of goal that only an experienced player can score in that situation. I've seen Nigel score goals like that two or three times in his career and it was the reward for a great second half from him."

Gullit said his side had paid the price for their European exertions in midweek. "I was pleased we battled but the players weren't fit and weren't tuned in. I thought when we equalised at 2-2 that the game was there for us to win, but then Leboeuf was sent off."

The star of the show was Bergkamp, back in the team after missing Tuesday's Uefa Cup trip to Greece because he is scared of flying. Wenger said: "Dennis is world class and for me it is just fantastic to watch everything he does. He's so strong and I just admire the way he plays."

And even Gullit had to give him credit. "Dennis played well again. You always have to develop as a player and he has done that in England."

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