Bayern Munich 1 Arsenal 1: Arjen Robben accused of being a 'very good diver' by Arsene Wenger after Gunners exit Champions League

Gunners knocked out of Europe by the German champions yet again

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The Independent Football

Arsene Wenger branded Arjen Robben “a very good diver” for his attempts to win a penalty in tonight’s 1-1 draw with Bayern Munich that saw Arsenal exit the Champions League in the last 16 for the fourth time in four years.

Robben was eventually successful, winning a penalty in time added on at the end of the game, a penalty which substitute Thomas Muller took and Lukasz Fabianski saved. However, not before an earlier occasion when Robben threw himself to the ground after a challenge with Santi Cazorla and was ignored by the Norwegian referee Svein Oddvar Moen.

Wenger said: “Robben is very good at getting the maximum of nothing. He's a great player and as well a very good diver but it's part of him.”

Later Wenger added: “He [Robben] is a fantastic player, one of the best in the world. But he doesn't need to do it [the diving]. He gets in front of player then slows down and goes down. If he gives him yellow card for the first one he won't do it again.”

In response to Wenger, Robben said: “I always say if you are a big manager then take your loss. If you win be happy, enjoy, but if you lose don't complain about silly things. It was two [legitimate] penalties but I don't want to defend myself. From a big manager you expect a little bit more.”

The Arsenal manager was reluctant to pin the blame for the 3-1 aggregate defeat on his players’ performance, instead claiming that Wojciech Szczesny’s red card in the first leg was the turning point in the tie.


Wenger said: “Overall in the two games, I feel that what made the difference was the decision to send our goalkeeper off in the first game. We played 1-1 tonight. That decision had a huge impact. It was on the same player who got the penalty again tonight and that's a regret we have because spirit-wise we gave everything until the end. Good luck to Bayern. They are a good side but I think they were this season more vulnerable than last year.”

Lukasz Fabianski uses his legs to save Thomas Muller's penalty

Pressed on why he did not believe Szczesny should have been sent off for his foul on Robben at the Emirates, Wenger said that his goalkeeper had not denied the player an obvious goalscoring opportunity. “Look, I felt it was not a red card, as simple as that,” he said. “If that's a red card then it means any foul in the box is a red card. Uefa has said they don't agree with that.

“For me it was not a goalscoring opportunity. You can give a foul for a high foot against Robben, It can be analysed in both ways. If you look where the ball goes to the feet of [Bacary] Sagna [after Szczesny’s foul on Robben], he never had a goal chance. It was never, ever a goalscoring opportunity.”

The midfielder Mesut Ozil, substituted at half-time with a hamstring problem, will be out for a number of weeks, Wenger said. On Bayern, the Arsenal manager said more than once that he believed they were more vulnerable than they had been last year when they also eliminated Arsenal at this stage.

Wenger said: “Our defending and our spirit was good. The frustration I had is that in the last 20 minutes I felt Bayern was very vulnerable defensively and that we didn't take advantage of that. We always missed the first pass but I felt the situations were there that we could have made more of and at the end of the day we never got them really under pressure.

“Even at 1-1, you could see they became suddenly nervous but because we never manage to score [and make it]  2-1, you could not really see how they would have responded. They are a good team, a great side with great players and they played well but we still have regrets over the two games.”

Pep Guardiola said that Arsenal had not come to attack. “We had a lot of control but the opponent didn’t come to push,” he said. “It’s 2-0 in the head of the players and it’s not easy. We’re 2-0 up and we wanted just to control the game. We didn’t want to attack too much, but we got forward many times and we dominated the game. The first nine minutes in the first leg but they were amazing. We deserve this qualification for the next round.”