Bayern Munich v Arsenal: Arsene Wenger pleads for 'fair chance' from referee as Arsenal look to turn around Champions League deficit

Manager says club had lost players to red cards in 'special circumstances' over the years


Arsene Wenger challenged the Norwegian referee in Tuesday's Champions League last-16 tie with Bayern Munich to give his team a “fair chance”, with the Arsenal manager claiming his side had been the victim of too many dismissals on critical European nights.

Wenger stopped short of saying that Svein Oddmar Moen was unsuited to refereeing two leading European clubs given the relatively modest standard of football in his domestic league but he did add that his club had lost players to red cards in “special circumstances” over the years.

With Arsenal trailing 2-0 from the home leg at the Emirates, Wenger’s players will have to pull off a turnaround that is unprecedented in the 22-year history of the modern Champions League and overturn a two goal home deficit. Unbeaten in the Bundesliga this season, and beaten only once in all competitions, Bayern have scored 24 goals in their last five league games alone.

Robin van Persie is sent off at the Nou Camp in 2011 Robin van Persie is sent off at the Nou Camp in 2011

The Arsenal manager picked out the red card for Robin Van Persie at the Nou Camp in 2011 when the club’s former captain was given a second yellow card for kicking the ball away after the referee’s whistle. Arsenal also lost goalkeeper Jens Lehmann to a red card early in the 2006 Champions League final against Barcelona.


Wenger said: “Manchester City played with ten men [in their first leg tie], we played with ten men. Incidentally, we played now a few times with ten men in Europe and under always very special circumstances. In the Champions League final, now against Bayern, at Barcelona when we were in a position to qualify. It was a second yellow card.

 “It's the only time that I've seen that since watching European football ... when Van Persie was sent off, so I hope [against Bayern] we will get a fair chance to play with 11 v 11 until the end.

Asked whether a referee from a league outside the European elite was suitable to take charge of the game – a charge levelled against the Swedish referee Jonas Eriksson by Manuel Pellegrini – Wenger said that experience of officiating top players helped.

Read more: 10 reasons for Arsenal to be optimistic of progress
Wenger pleads for 'fair chance' from referee
Important Ozil gives Arsenal boost
Flamini questions character of recent Arsenal sides
Hoeness tax fraud only cloud on Bayern horizon
If Bayern score early, it's 'probably not worth watching'
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain confident Arsenal can overturn two-goal deficit
Arjen Robben claims tie is not over

Wenger said: “What you want is a good referee. I think the closer they are to a tough league, the more chances they have to detect the tricks that can decide a game. But that’s the same for Bayern.”

He added: “What I mean is sometimes when you come from a league that is a less pacey league … I don’t know the referee. Honestly, I never look at the referee before the game. I never have any preconceived ideas.

 “Sometimes when the referees have a big experience it helps them to get out of tricky situations. I think you do not want players to stay on the pitch who deserve to be sent off but you do not as well ... the interests of the game to be killed for reasons that are a bit tricky. To find that kind of balance, the experience of the referees is important.”

The Arsenal manager said that Kieran Gibbs would miss the game with a calf injury and that there was a “good possibility” that Thomas Vermaelen would, once again, deputise at left-back. Yaya Sanogo is also out the squad. Laurent Koscielny comes back in and the 18-year-old Isaac Hayden has also travelled with the squad.

Wenger called upon his team to repeat some of their greatest nights away in Europe, mentioning the 5-1 victory over Inter Milan in 2003. Not quite an accurate comparison with Bayern given that Inter team finished fourth in Serie A and 23 points behind the eventual champions. Even Arsenal’s best nights in Europe – the 1-0 win over Real Madrid at the Bernabeu in 2006, the 2-0 win over Milan in San Siro a year later – would pale in comparison with a win over the reigning European champions in Munich.

Wenger said: “Come back from a 2-0 defeat? Look the statistics are against us but we have won 5-1 at Inter Milan and I would say we have won everywhere in Europe. If we lead 1-0, for example, it makes the game or result absolutely possible. That is what we will of course try to do. We scored two goals in the last five minutes against Everton so we don’t have to be nervous. We can be patient. Just have to focus on the quality of our game.”

Bayern’s coach Pep Guardiola said that his team would set out to win the game saying “it doesn’t matter what we did in the first game - we have to win”. He added: “When I analyse Arsenal and the first game, we saw the quality of [Santi] Cazorla, we saw what happened until the penalty [Mesut] Ozil missed, what happened in the last nine minutes they were the nine minutes in this season when the opponent was better against us. They remain a good club, a good team.”

Suggested Topics
Life and Style
Steve Shaw shows Kate how to get wet behind the ears and how to align her neck
healthSteven Shaw - the 'Buddha of Breaststroke' - applies Alexander Technique to the watery sport
Arts and Entertainment
The sight of a bucking bronco in the shape of a pink penis was too much for Hollywood actor and gay rights supporter Martin Sheen, prompting him to boycott a scene in the TV series Grace and Frankie
footballShirt then goes on sale on Gumtree
Terry Sue-Patt as Benny in the BBC children’s soap ‘Grange Hill’
voicesGrace Dent on Grange Hill and Terry Sue-Patt
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Performers drink tea at the Glastonbury festival in 2010
Arts and Entertainment
Twin Peaks stars Joan Chen, Michael Ontkean, Kyle Maclachlan and Piper Laurie
tvName confirmed for third series
Cameron Jerome
footballCanaries beat Boro to gain promotion to the Premier League
Arts and Entertainment
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

Abuse - and the hell that follows

James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

It's oh so quiet!

The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

'Timeless fashion'

It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

Evolution of swimwear

From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine