Lehmann blames referee 'arrogance' for double dismissal

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The Independent Football

The Arsenal goalkeeper Jens Lehmann has accused his compatriot Herbert Fandel, the German referee who sent off two Arsenal players in Eindhoven, of being "very arrogant".

Lehmann believes that Fandel should not have been so quick to dismiss Lauren and Patrick Vieira in Arsenal's 1-1 draw at PSV on Wednesday.

Indeed, the Germany international was particularly frustrated at the way in which Fandel reacted to Lauren's annoyance that no yellow card was shown for a foul on Vieira - by booking the full-back.

Lehmann declared: "The referee booked Lauren, not because he asked for a yellow card, but just because he lifted his hand. It's been said before that the referee is very arrogant and he's proved that he is.

Lauren added: "The referee was very harsh. I just said to him that it was a yellow card. I didn't say anything wrong to him and he showed me the card.

"Mark van Bommel was making a lot of fouls but the referee didn't seem to see them," Lauren said. "For the second booking, I touched the ball. I'm very disappointed because our next game is very important, and Patrick and I will miss it."

Lauren and Vieira could not seriously complain about their other bookings, given that they were all for late tackles and, while Vieira got the ball while incurring his second caution it was still a tackle made from behind.

As a result, both of them are ruled out of Arsenal's final group match at home to Rosenborg, placing greater pressure on the squad's strength in depth amid injury problems.

Van Bommel defended himself against accusations from the Arsenal camp, with their manager Arsène Wenger having claimed that he got away with seven fouls, several of them "deliberate".

The PSV captain, who has been linked to a possible move to Tottenham, said: "I don't agree with what Mr Wenger or the players said.

"It's not how many fouls you do but how serious they are. I did not do any bad fouls. You can commit nine or 10 fouls, but they are not serious. You can commit just two and they can be very bad."

Arsenal's defender Sol Campbell was particularly angered by a foul on him by Van Bommel which somehow escaped a caution. Their players were getting away with a lot of fouls," Campbell said. "The referee could have given Patrick the benefit of the doubt."

"We were down to 10 men and he could have given him another chance. Van Bommel? The referee has to make decisions but he was lucky."

The two dismissals were Arsenal's first of the season and marked the end of their recent run of relatively good discipline. Indeed, following the Old Trafford mêlée last autumn, just two further players were sent off that season - Ashley Cole and Martin Keown.

Wenger nevertheless insisted that the PSV encounter did not mark a return to the bad days of red cards littering Arsenal's campaigns. "I feel it was a one-off," he maintained. "It wasn't that we didn't play in the right spirit or tried to spoil the game.

"We were very committed but we didn't deliberately make bad fouls or have bad behaviour. We didn't try to kick people; both red cards were because we tried to play the ball but were a bit late."

Rosenborg twice came from behind as Thorstein Helstad's double forced a 2-2 draw against Panathinaikos in Wednesday's other Group E match, leaving the Greek side's qualifying hopes in doubt. "It will be difficult for us to qualify," said the Panathinaikos coach Zdenek Scasny.

Rosenborg are now out of Europe this season and will finish bottom after picking up just two points from five matches.