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.

Sport
The sun rises over St Andrews golf course, but will it be a new dawn for the Royal and Ancient Golf Club?
sportAnd it's Yes to women (at the R&A)
Arts and Entertainment
Friends is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year
tvSeries celebrates 20th anniversary
Sport
Yaya Touré (left) and Bayern Munich’s Spanish defender Juan Bernat
footballToure's lack of defensive work is big problem for City
Voices
voicesApple continually kill off smaller app developers, and that's no good for anyone
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Liam Neeson said he wouldn't
tv

Liam Neeson's Downton dreams

Sport
Wembley Stadium
footballNews follows deal with Germany
Arts and Entertainment
A spell in the sun: Emma Stone and Colin Firth star in ‘Magic in the Moonlight’
filmReview: Magic In The Moonlight
Sport
A 'Sir Alex Feguson' tattoo
football

Arts and Entertainment
Ben Whishaw is replacing Colin Firth as the voice of Paddington Bear
tv

Thriller is set in the secret world of British espionage

Life and Style
life

News
ScienceGallery: Otherwise known as 'the best damn photos of space you'll see till 2015'
Life and Style
fashion

Bomber jacket worn by Mary Berry sells out within an hour

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

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week