Bolton rage after Wiley backtracks over Gallas
Arsenal defender left with no case to answer after referee says he saw challenge
Friday 22 January 2010
Bolton Wanderers are furious at what they believe was a change of heart by referee Alan Wiley over William Gallas's studs-up lunge on the Bolton Wanderers midfielder Mark Davies at the Emirates on Wednesday.
Sources at Bolton claim that Wiley told them in the aftermath of the game that the reason he had not punished Gallas was because he had not seen the incident. However, Wiley yesterday told the Football Association that he had indeed seen it – albeit only as two players "stretching" for the ball – but at the time he had not realised the severity of the challenge.
By acknowledging that he had witnessed it, Wiley closed off any possibility of retrospective action against Gallas.
Bolton believe that was a different version of events to the one that the referee gave after the game to their manager, Owen Coyle, who described the Gallas tackle as "akin to assault". They allege that on Wednesday night the referee said he had not seen the tackle which meant that the FA could theoretically have taken action against Gallas.
Bolton are also unhappy at the Arsenal manager, Arsène Wenger, urging his team to keep playing after the Gallas tackle when Davies lay stricken on the ground. Arsenal went up the pitch and scored through Cesc Fabregas to make it 2-2. They went on to win 4-2.
There is also a sense of grievance at Bolton that the general reaction of the Arsenal players and their manager contributed to the jeering that accompanied Davies as the player was taken from the pitch on a stretcher.
If they could, Bolton would challenge Wiley's decision, which effectively halts any FA disciplinary proceedings against Gallas. It is not thought there is any scope for them to go down this path. Davies himself will have further tests today. The damage to his right ankle is not thought to require an operation or a long-term absence from football.
Arsenal's injury problems have deepened with the news that Kieran Gibbs is to miss the rest of the season because he requires surgery on his left foot. The left-back, a graduate of the club's academy, had been very long odds to make England's World Cup squad. He broke his first metatarsal against Standard Liège in November and now requires a bone graft.
Arsenal are also concerned about the fitness of Abou Diaby, who came off late in the game against Bolton with a recurrence of his calf problems. They already have Aaron Ramsey, Samir Nasri, Jack Wilshere and Robin van Persie out injured.
Wenger said yesterday that Diaby will miss the FA Cup match against Stoke City on Sunday and the league match at Aston Villa next Wednesday. He may be available again for the Manchester United match a week on Sunday. Bacary Sagna is also being troubled by a shoulder problem and is set to sit out the Stoke match.
Andrei Arshavin, who scored the fourth of Arsenal's goals, said that the slender nature of his club's lead at the top of the table – they are ahead of Chelsea on goals scored and have played one more game – made it difficult to think of the Gunners as the leaders. "I think that Chelsea are still top of the table," he said. "They have not played their game [in hand] yet. Let's see what happens then."
Tomas Rosicky said that the next four league games, in which Arsenal face Aston Villa, Manchester United, Chelsea and Liverpool would decide their title credentials. "It's difficult to say [what has changed]," he said. "Since the loss against Chelsea [on 29 November] we started something new again and went on a run. You can see how quickly it can change in this league. Chelsea didn't win a few games after winning here. You have to be consistent and that's what we want to be. Everybody knows that the coming weeks are the critical ones in the whole season and I would say this win [against Bolton] came right on time for the team. For the confidence of the team, it is great."
Latest in Sport
Raheem Sterling to Manchester City: Uefa lift FFP restrictions to leave City primed for £100m moves for Paul Pogba and Liverpool midfielder
Sky Sports and BT Sport announce Premier League live matches for 2015/16 with Man United, Chelsea, Arsenal and Liverpool in action
Football kits 2015/16: The good, the bad and the downright worst new shirts from around the world for next season
Arturo Vidal to Real Madrid: Transfer news live - Sergio Ramos to Manchester United, Lukas Podolski to leave Arsenal
Chelsea 2015/16 home shirt leaked again as new picture appears online
- 1 Nathan Collier: Montana man inspired by same-sex marriage ruling requests right to wed two wives
- 2 James Blunt was special guest on the highest-rating Top Gear episode ever
- 3 People all over the world are getting semicolon tattoos to draw attention to mental health
- 4 Van driver who comforted Clark Carlisle and called 999 after suicide attempt dies age 24
- 5 Baby rescued 1km out to sea after parents forgot about her
Nathan Collier: Montana man inspired by same-sex marriage ruling requests right to wed two wives
Greece crisis: IMF was pushed around by Angela Merkel and Nicholas Sarkozy – and now it is being humiliated
'I wish the BBC would stop calling it Islamic State' – David Cameron unleashes frustration at broadcaster
Forget little green men – aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert
Greece crisis: The wider lesson is that it’s time to abandon this failed experiment in currencies
Girl, 7, stares down hate preacher at Ohio festival with pro-LGBT rainbow flag gesture