The Queens Park Rangers manager, Mark Hughes, was left raging at a referee's decision that cost his struggling side an unexpected point away to Arsenal yesterday. Mikel Arteta looked clearly offside as he headed against the bar before scoring the only goal of a poor game from the rebound.
"Arteta is offside twice," Hughes claimed. "First from the initial header, then in the meleé. How the referee has not given the decision I've no idea. He came up with some story about Ryan Nelsen leaving the field of play but I've no idea what he was on about."
The result left Rangers bottom of the table but returned Arsenal to fourth place on a day when they welcomed back Jack Wilshere and Bacary Sagna, the former for the first time since the season before last. He was only told at 10.30 yesterday morning that he would start, but Arsenal's manager, Arsène Wenger, said: "You could see technically he is there and he gave everything. He has been out for 17 months so he is still missing the pace and rhythm of the game. But he's class."
At the Etihad Stadium, Carlos Tevez scored the only goal against Swansea as Manchester City put pressure on the leaders, Chelsea, and Manchester United, who meet today.
The match was the longest in Premier League history, with more than 12 minutes of stoppage time after potentially serious injuries to Swansea's goalkeeper, Michel Vorm, and City's Micah Richards.
Ahead of the game at Stamford Bridge, United's manager, Sir Alex Ferguson, said there is no need for English football to panic after a poor week' in the Champions' League. Manchester City, Chelsea and Arsenal were all beaten and United only won after going two goals behind at home to Braga. But Ferguson believes it is more a matter of other teams improving.
"I don't think they're overtaking but they're improving," he said. "Look at Shakhtar Donetsk [against Chelsea] in the week, an excellent performance, and Ajax. It's one thing criticising English teams but you have to recognise their opponents played well."