Furious Wenger hits out at 'naive' referee

Manager left fuming at red-card while Lampard's winner moves Chelsea above Arsenal

Arsène Wenger last night launched a scathing attack on the referee Lee Probert after Arsenal lost 2-1 to Fulham at Craven Cottage to drop to fifth in the Premier League.

Wenger believed that the dismissal of his defender Johan Djourou, with 12 minutes left and Arsenal leading, had cost his side the game. "The referee influenced the game in completely the wrong way in my opinion, and we cannot influence that," he said. "In the last 10 minutes we lost the game because we were down to 10 men."

Djourou was booked twice in the second half, for fouling Moussa Dembélé and then Bobby Zamora. Wenger disagreed with both decisions. "The first yellow card was not a yellow card, the second yellow card was a foul for us."

Wenger's frustrations were compounded as Chelsea had earlier beaten Wolverhampton, with Frank Lampard grabbing the late winner to lift his side to fourth ahead of Arsenal.

Probert's non-award of a penalty also angered Wenger. "It was 100 per cent a penalty for the foul on Gervinho from [Phillipe] Senderos in the first half. The referee had a massive influence on the game like that," he said.

Wenger suggested that Probert, whom he said "got it all wrong and all on the same side", fell for Fulham's attempts to have Djourou sent off. "At the moment you get the first yellow card they tried every time to get him the second yellow and the referee was naïve enough to give it," he said.

The Arsenal manager claimed the second-half introduction of Kerim Frei was central to Fulham's plans. "When Djourou got the first, every time he intervened they went down to get him a second yellow, and Djourou did nothing at all," he said. "I saw it coming, because the game when Frei came on was all that: look for the second yellow card for Djourou, and in the end he got it."

Unsurprisingly, Wenger was frustrated at the three points lost. "It was a massive missed opportunity," he said. "We have consistent problems to face and we do it with heart and it's very difficult defeat to swallow the defeat as I feel it wasn't deserved."

At Molineux it had been Ramires's goal which prompted a mass of players including David Luiz, Ramires, Raul Meireles, Jose Bosingwa, Oriol Romeu and Ashley Cole to run over to the touchline to celebrate with their manager. Last month, Andre Villas-Boas denied a story that he had told his players to include their manager and the coaching staff in their goal celebrations.

Yesterday the Chelsea manager was also moved to deny a story that certain players had a arranged a farewell dinner for departing striker Nicolas Anelka after he was not invited to the club's training ground Christmas party. Villas-Boas said that the players' reaction was "part of their showing of the unity of the team and what the team have been doing."

He said: "After recent events, from fixtures where we lost points, it's normal for stories to come out about untrue things going on. It's not good to see, the consistency in the criticism, in the invention of the negative critics, but what we want to avoid is going back to those negative periods by getting points and avoiding incompetence."

Villas-Boas denied he was aware that the players were planning to celebrate a goal with him. "If you want to be speculative, that's your choice," he said. "But if you take that route, you're not being correct. What has been written is false."

Lampard admitted he was fortunate not to be dismissed yesterday. The Chelsea midfielder slid into Adam Hammill in the 18th minute, catching the Wolves man with his studs. Lampard said: "My heart was in my mouth over that challenge. I have to admit that. There was no malice but I was late and I might have been a bit lucky to stay on the pitch.

"I said straight away to Hammill I was very sorry. I was trying to get my foot in but it wasn't any conspiracy between the ref and us. There were a few things that could have gone either way. It was a full-blooded game and I just apologised to the player."

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
video
Life and Style
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Southern charm: Nicolas Cage and Tye Sheridan in ‘Joe’
filmReview: Actor delivers astonishing performance in low budget drama
Arts and Entertainment
While many films were released, few managed to match the success of James Bond blockbuster 'Skyfall'
film
Arts and Entertainment
Up my street: The residents of the elegant Moray Place in Edinburgh's Georgian New Town
tvBBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past
Extras
indybest
News
Albus Dumbledore, the headmaster of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry has been the teaching profession's favourite teacher
education
Sport
Luis Suarez looks towards the crowd during the 2-1 victory over England
sport
Life and Style
Cheesecake frozen yoghurt by Constance and Mathilde Lorenzi
food + drinkThink outside the cool box for this summer’s frozen treats
News
John Barrowman kisses his male “bride” at a mock Gretna Green during the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony
peopleBarrowman's opening ceremony message to Commonwealth countries where he would be sent to prison for being gay
Sport
Sir Bradley Wiggins removes his silver medal after the podium ceremony for the men’s 4,000m team pursuit in Glasgow yesterday
Commonwealth games Disappointment for Sir Bradley in team pursuit final as England are forced to settle for silver
Sport
Alistair Brownlee (right) celebrates with his gold medal after winning the men’s triathlon alongside brother Jonny (left), who got silver
England's Jodie Stimpson won the women’s triathlon in the morning
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Day In a Page

Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
10 best reed diffusers

Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little
Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
US Army's shooting star: Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform

Meet the US Army's shooting star

Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform