Martinez: Small clubs don't get 50-50 calls

Wigan Athletic 0 Arsenal 1

The Wigan manager Roberto Martinez is such a nice man that even his complaints are made in the most measured, almost apologetic terms. Others may rage about perceived injustices inflicted by referees on smaller clubs – the name Pulis comes to mind – but Martinez treats it all merely as a fact of a hard-knock life.

His frustration was nevertheless clear after three key penalty decisions favoured Arsenal in their 1-0 win at the DW Stadium on Saturday, condemning Wigan to a sixth defeat in eight games and a place in the bottom three for Christmas.

"We've been at the end of bad decisions," he said. "That happens. You need to get through it, you can't moan about it and we need to start picking points up and make sure we affect it as much as we can.

"I wouldn't like to be a referee, it's the worst job on the pitch. You'll always upset someone. When you have to make a 50-50 decision, it's a lot easier to be safe on teams like ourselves.

"I'm not saying [just] Wigan, but when you are a bottom 10 team it's not a problem when you get it wrong. That's human. It happens in the Bernabeu, the Nou Camp, in all the top arenas in world football.

"You don't get those 50-50 decisions and it happens to another 10 teams, not just Wigan. The consistency is important. If it happens in the other box it should be given as well. That's when you feel a little bit let down."

What he meant was that if the attacking team are to be given the benefit of any doubt when Theo Walcott goes down under challenge from Jean Beausejour, then the defending team should also be punished when Kieran Gibbs raises an arm and deflects away a shot by Jordi Gomez.

In other circumstances, Thomas Vermaelen could have been pulled up for blocking another shot by Gomez, who might then have gone down as the most influential 89th-minute substitute in history. No referee was going to award two penalties in a minute for those near-identical incidents but Wigan deserved an opportunity to equalise after Mikel Arteta's successful spot-kick.

The referee Jon Moss did commit one notable error against Arsenal by booking Jack Wilshere for a perfectly good tackle, the England midfielder having slid in on Shaun Maloney with the determination that Arsène Wenger characterised as having been crucial in winning a game in which his team were less fluent than usual. "I like Wilshere," he said. "After 25 minutes you look at him and he is dirty from top to bottom."

It is not the quality most usually associated with any modern Arsenal player but perhaps there is a lesson there. Wilshere himself said: "It is a good feeling when you do a good tackle and you get rewarded for it. I had that feeling – but then the ref booked me!"

Match Facts

Wigan: AL-HABSI 8/10, STAM 7, BOYCE 6, FIGUEROA 6, BEAUSEJOUR 6, McCARTHY 7, McARTHUR 7, JONES 7, MALONEY 6, DI SANTO 7 KONE 6

Arsenal: SZCZESNY 7, GIBBS 6, VERMAELEN 7, MERTESACKER 5, SAGNA 7, PODOLSKI 6, WILSHERE 7, CAZORLA 7, ARTETA 7, OXLADE-CHAMBERLAIN 7, WALCOTT 7

Goal: Arsenal Arteta pen 59. Substitutes: Wigan Athletic McManaman (Di Santo, 76), Gomez (Maloney, 89). Arsenal Ramsey (Oxlade-Chamberlain, 75), Coquelin (Podolski, 79). Booked: Wigan Maloney. Arsenal Wilshere. Man of the match Al Habsi. Match rating 6/10. Possession: Wigan 43% Arsenal 57%. Attempts on target: Wigan 5 Arsenal 8. Referee J Moss (West Yorkshire). Attendance 21,754.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

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

Day In a Page

Solved after 200 years: the mysterious deaths of 3,000 soldiers from Napoleon's army

Solved after 200 years

The mysterious deaths of 3,000 soldiers from Napoleon's army
Every regional power has betrayed the Kurds so Turkish bombing is no surprise

Robert Fisk on the Turkey conflict

Every regional power has betrayed the Kurds so Turkish bombing is no surprise
Investigation into wreck of unidentified submarine found off the coast of Sweden

Sunken sub

Investigation underway into wreck of an unidentified submarine found off the coast of Sweden
Instagram and Facebook have 'totally changed' the way people buy clothes

Age of the selfie

Instagram and Facebook have 'totally changed' the way people buy clothes
Not so square: How BBC's Bloomsbury saga is sexing up the period drama

Not so square

How Virginia Woolf saga is sexing up the BBC period drama
Rio Olympics 2016: The seven teenagers still carrying a torch for our Games hopes

Still carrying the torch

The seven teenagers given our Olympic hopes
The West likes to think that 'civilisation' will defeat Isis, but history suggests otherwise

The West likes to think that 'civilisation' will defeat Isis...

...but history suggests otherwise
The bald truth: How one author's thinning hair made him a Wayne Rooney sympathiser

The bald truth

How thinning hair made me a Wayne Rooney sympathiser
Froome wins second Tour de France after triumphant ride into Paris with Team Sky

Tour de France 2015

Froome rides into Paris to win historic second Tour
Fifteen years ago, Concorde crashed, and a dream died. Today, the desire to travel faster than the speed of sound is growing once again

A new beginning for supersonic flight?

Concorde's successors are in the works 15 years on from the Paris crash
I would never quit Labour, says Liz Kendall

I would never quit party, says Liz Kendall

Latest on the Labour leadership contest
Froome seals second Tour de France victory

Never mind Pinot, it’s bubbly for Froome

Second Tour de France victory all but sealed
Oh really? How the 'lowest form of wit' makes people brighter and more creative

The uses of sarcasm

'Lowest form of wit' actually makes people brighter and more creative
A magazine editor with no vanity, and lots of flair

No vanity, but lots of flair

A tribute to the magazine editor Ingrid Sischy
Foraging: How the British rediscovered their taste for chasing after wild food

In praise of foraging

How the British rediscovered their taste for wild food