Jack Wilshere and Kevin Mirallas clash in tunnel on night of frustration for Arsenal against Everton

Arsenal midfielder involved in tunnel fracas as manager Arsene Wenger accuses Everton of going 'over the edge'

Sam Wallace
Wednesday 17 April 2013 12:15
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Jack Wilshere (centre) clashes with Everton players including Kevin Mirallas (right) during the 0-0 draw at the Emirates Stadium
Jack Wilshere (centre) clashes with Everton players including Kevin Mirallas (right) during the 0-0 draw at the Emirates Stadium

The Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere was involved in a half-time tunnel fracas with Kevin Mirallas in a match in which Arsene Wenger accused Everton of going “over the edge” in their physical approach.

The game at the Emirates ended 0-0, leaving Arsenal in third two points ahead of fourth-placed Chelsea, who have played two fewer games, but it was notable for Wilshere's strong response to Mirallas squirting him with water as the players walked off the pitch at half-time. The Belgian's Everton team-mates threw themselves between the two players as the 21-year-old Arsenal player pursued his opponent.

Moyes, whose side remains sixth, two points behind Tottenham in fifth, said that Wenger had spent too much time complaining about Everton's approach to the referee Neil Swarbrick and his fourth official Kevin Friend.

Asked about Wenger's irritation at Everton's style, Moyes said: “Do you mean when we were a little bit rough with the tackling? Up north we do that quite often. That's actually allowed in football. We weren't going to come here and let Arsenal stroke the ball around and make 600 passes. He [Wenger] was upset.”

He added: “I wasn't nervous because I thought we made it a right good game. Everton got the crowd going. I've been at the Emirates and it's been quiet, but Everton got the crowd going. Because you make tackles, not everyone is a foul and not everyone means you have to kick it out of play.”

Asked whether he saw the incident between Wilshere and Mirallas at half-time, Moyes responded: “Did you see it? I didn't either. 'Didn't see it'. I know somebody who says that quite a lot.”

Wenger hinted later that he did not believe his team were given adequate protection from the referee. “It was a game of huge intensity, a fight for both teams,” he said. “You have to respect the effort Everton put in. They decided to make it very physical for us to disturb our game and sometimes went over the edge, but the referee had to make the right decision. I don't blame the referee. 'Protecting' is a big word, but they have to make the right decision.”

The Arsenal manager said that he believed Darron Gibson should have been sent off in the first half for a second bookable offence, following a bodycheck on Theo Walcott. Wenger remained upbeat about his team's prospects of qualifying for next season's Champions League.

He said: “If we win our coming games we'll get there. The other teams have 58 points with a game in hand but play each other. We just don't want to depend on the results of the other teams. My belief was always strong and still is. I'm confident we'll do it. The best way is to put the same effort into the next game.”

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