Wenger slams referee Graham Poll

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The Independent Football

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has launched a scathing attack on Graham Poll and has described the former Premier League referee as an embarrassment following comments made this week.

Speaking on Setanta Sports' Football Matters, Poll backed up Howard Webb's decision to send off Emmanuel Adebayor against Liverpool - but it was his analysis of John Terry's red card at Everton that angered Wenger.

Poll, a former Fifa referee who retired in 2007, suggested officials could be influenced by the furore that comes with sending off the England captain.

"For me it was embarrassing when you listen to that," Wenger said. "They ask whether it was a sending-off or not. He says you have to consider that you are sending off the captain of the national team.

"What has that got to do with the rulebook? The rulebook doesn't look at passports. When you listen to that it is embarrassing for the referees.

"Is it a sending-off or not? Are you from England or not from England? Are you 17 or 30? It has nothing to do with that.

"It is a big concern when you hear the national number one referee talk like that."

Wenger admits his faith in referees has been tested by Poll's comments.

"I do not think (they are talking reputations into account) but when I hear statements like that, it makes you change your mind," the Frenchman added.

Wenger's attack came on the same day as news emerged of Cesc Fabregas being out for four months with a partial rupture of the medial knee ligament.

The Spaniard was injured by compatriot Xabi Alonso during Sunday's 1-1 draw with Liverpool, with Wenger admitting the setback means he is more likely to be active in the January transfer window.

"I am sure we can deal with it," said Wenger. "When he comes back he can help us to get over the line in the final months."

Wenger's options in midfield are now limited as Tomas Rosicky is out until at least March, while Gilberto Silva, Lassana Diarra and Alexander Hleb have been sold in the last year and Mathieu Flamini left on a free.

"It is a good opportunity to show we can deal with it and have strength," added Wenger, who insisted he had not received offers for Kolo Toure or Nicklas Bendtner, who have been linked with Manchester City and Spartak Moscow respectively.

Wenger still feels his side were treated harshly against Liverpool when Webb dismissed Adebayor, dishing out a second yellow card for a foul on Alvaro Arbeloa.

"I'm convinced that if we played 11 v 11 we would have won the game against Liverpool," Wenger added. "And I am still convinced after watching it again that it was the wrong decision to give a second yellow card (to Adebayor).

"Some people do not agree with that but I cannot see what Adebayor did wrong."

It means Adebayor is suspended for the Boxing Day clash against Aston Villa when Arsenal will look for revenge after Martin O'Neill's men defeated them at the Emirates Stadium.

Wenger insists he will be preparing for the match like his players.

He said: "I don't believe the manager can last a long time if he doesn't live like a player. No Turkey for me."