It is an injustice that has festered at Arsenal for two weeks and yesterday Arsène Wenger launched an impassioned plea for the use of video technology in football - with managers allowed a right of appeal during a game - and accused the authorities of "stupidity" in not introducing it.
Thierry Henry's late "goal" in Moscow - wrongly disallowed for a perceived hand-ball - not only denied Arsenal a vital point in Champions' League Group G but left Wenger still claiming that "for me the game finished 1-1".
He said that the matter was compounded by the "hypocrisy" of his captain being cautioned for his protests - a booking that he has to carry forward with him against the same opponents, CSKA Moscow, at the Emirates Stadium tonight. "Frankly, it is difficult enough to score goals and on top of that it is cancelled and on top of that you get a yellow card. It is not easy to take," Wenger said.
In his advocacy of video technology the Arsenal manager put himself in direct opposition to Michel Platini, who is standing against Lennart Johansson for the presidency of Uefa. The two men go back a long way. Indeed it was Platini's father, Aldo, who gave Wenger his first job in management, at the French club Nancy.
"Overall I think Platini is a very positive man with a lot of talent," Wenger said. "But there are some things we don't agree on and he knows that." Others include Wenger's dismissal of Platini's claim that the number of Champions' League places should be limited to three per country.
But it is technology about which he feels most passionate, and Wenger said that he believed football should introduce a system used in tennis. "In tennis players have the right to challenge the umpire twice in each set. If he asks for one and it is right he keeps the challenge. If wrong he loses it. It looks fair to me. In Moscow I'd have said I use my challenge there, and with five minutes to go I would have been happy to lose it. I feel there are some sports that go with modern time and some that stubbornly refuse. No one has given me an explanation. To say to me it was done like that in 1920 is not good enough - it is as simple as that."
Wenger said that an immediate improvement would be the introduction of goal-line technology to prove whether or not the ball had crossed.
"In France they have created a system where they can see on television 100 per cent if the ball crossed the line or not. Technologically it is easy to do that. Suddenly we have a situation where everyone but the referee can see the ball is over the line. One man has not seen it so the world has to accept that. So let's make the first step video replays - at least when it's a situation where you can be 100 per cent sure of what happened. In situations where you can never be sure, like whether it is a penalty or not, you can leave that decision to one man."
Wenger admitted that he is wary of CSKA, who are close to winning the Russian Premier-Liga and are group leaders, and who he expects to defend deep and counter-attack quickly - a tactic which has frustrated Arsenal before at their new home. "They are aggressive and well organised and we expect that again," he said, making it all the more imperative that his team score first.
Wenger is hopeful that Justin Hoyte will recover from a back injury to resume at right-back. With Emmanuel Eboué and Lauren still not available his options are limited - although Theo Walcott, who was drafted in at right-back against Everton last Saturday, will not start. Emmanual Adebayor is unavailable in attack because of a thigh problem.
Arsenal (4-4-2): Lehmann; Hoyte, Djourou, Touré, Gallas; Hleb, Gilberto, Fabregas, Rosicky; Henry, Van Persie.
CSKA Moscow (3-4-1-2): Akinfeev; V Berezutskiy, Semberas, A Berezutskiy; Ignashevich, Aldonin, Rahimic, Zhirkov; Dudu; Carvalho, Olic.
Referee: L Michel (Slovakia).Reuse content