Arsenal news: Howard Webb claims Arsene Wenger's 'bullied' side were the easiest team to referee

The former official believes that Arsenal became more 'naïve' under Wenger as the years went on

Mark Critchley
Saturday 22 October 2016 15:30
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Webb dismisses Arsenal's Emmanuel Adebayor during a match against Liverpool in 2008
Webb dismisses Arsenal's Emmanuel Adebayor during a match against Liverpool in 2008

Howard Webb, the former Premier League referee, has claimed that Arsenal became the easiest team to referee during his career in the top-flight.

The 45-year-old, who took charge of both the Champions League and World Cup finals in 2010, also believes Arsène Wenger’s “naïve” sides were easily “bullied” by their opponents.

Speaking to BBC Radio Five Live following the release of his autobiography, The Man in the Middle, Webb said: "Arsenal became easier to referee over the time.

“When I first started they were a daunting team to referee, they would get into your head.

“They got easier, and you got the sense that other teams bullied them on the pitch a bit. And they’d react in a really obvious, really naïve way. I thought they were too naïve as a team.”

Webb took charge of his first Arsenal match in 2005, a 1-0 win away at Portsmouth, when the formidable characters of Patrick Vieira and Jens Lehmann played for the club.

In the years since, Wenger’s teams have often been accused of ‘flakiness’ and lacking players who lead by example, particularly during the club's long wait for a major trophy between 2005 and 2014.

Webb officiated a total of 39 Arsenal matches during his nine-year spell of top-flight refereeing, including the 2005 Community Shield and the 2007 League Cup final.

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