Arsene Wenger risked censure from Uefa yesterday by renewing his attack on the Swedish referee Martin Hansson, saying that the Swedish official who allowed Porto's controversial winner against Arsenal to stand on Wednesday night had made "a complete joke" of the Champions League.
Wenger picked out five "technical mistakes" that Hansson had committed in the build-up to Falcao's winning goal – from a quickly taken indirect free-kick – and criticised Uefa for their selection of referees. However, the Arsenal manager still does not believe that he will be the subject of disciplinary action from Uefa despite again calling Hansson "incompetent".
Wenger said: "I believe that he's incompetent because what he has done shows he is not up to it."
Having watched the replays of the game, Wenger said that he had spotted five errors by Hansson in the aftermath of Sol Campbell's backpass that was picked up by goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski. The Arsenal manager said that Hansson's actions were "ridiculous" in allowing Ruben Micael to take a quick free-kick. Wenger listed Hansson's five mistakes as:
1) "He [Hansson] did not give the free-kick at the point where it happened".
2) Hansson was not "in the right position".
3) Hansson "did not put the players at the proper distance [from the ball]."
4) The referee "should never have allowed a quick free-kick played once he is in the middle of the action – he was between Campbell and the ball."
5) He raised his arm too late [to signify an indirect free-kick] when "the ball was already in play". Wenger added that he had asked the opinion of "professional refs" in analysing Hansson's performance. "They said he [Hansson] made five mistakes," Wenger (right) said, "so in one action five mistakes is a bit too many."
The Arsenal manager was also critical of Uefa's process for selecting referees. "It has to be clarified first of all how they nominate referees for games. They [Uefa] have to be much more open on how they rate their referees. Where is the ranking of the referees? I believe too much has gone on in the last 30 years. What has happened is not good for football."
As for Cesc Fabregas, Wenger said he was pleased that the player had not risen to the provocation that he was subjected to on the pitch and added that he could not afford to rest the midfielder against Sunderland today.
"I do worry he's under a lot of pressure a lot of responsibility for such a young boy," Wenger said. "Normally he should be living in the shadow of more experienced players but to be targeted like he was I think he handled it remarkably well because I was scared at one stage he loses his temper.
"He is 22 years old, people forget that and he handles that tremendously well. I see right now that he is getting a little nervous as he wants so much to win."
Arsenal will be without William Gallas (calf) for another fortnight which means another start for Campbell today. Abou Diaby has a knee injury so Alex Song will play. Robin van Persie will not be back from his ankle ligament problem until the end of April at the earliest.
Wenger gave his backing to Fabianski whose mistakes on Wednesday proved so costly. He said: "He will be a great goalkeeper. He had an unlucky night. Every goalkeeper who had a great career has had a night like that. It is a good opportunity to show we are a special club with a special togetherness. I believe in the keepers I have."