Arsène Wenger has slammed refereeing standards in the Premier League after his side were denied all three points against West Brom on Sunday, with Jay Rodriguez tucking away a contentious penalty in the last few minutes of the game.
The incident arose when Mike Dean, an official who is often in the spotlight, awarded a penalty for handball against Callum Chambers after former Arsenal left-back Kieran Gibbs kicked the ball against his arm. However, the decision seemed extremely harsh due to the distance between the players - with Gibbs not even bothering to appeal for a spot kick.
People can talk VAR all they like, but decisions like Dean’s penalty decisions or the Punchen, Ali tackles etc just show that refereeing standards are just woeful, week after week. VAR won’t improve that— Darren (@DarrenArsenal1) December 31, 2017
"It wasn’t a penalty. There was no handball," Wenger frustratingly said after the game, as quoted by the Guardian.
"It was not a deliberate handball. When you are as close as that, it’s impossible to play football. You go in the box, they just lift the ball to the arm of the player and it’s a penalty. He didn’t lift his hand. Where do you put your hands? You have no pockets in your shorts.
"I’m angry because we have seen the same things again. I did fight very hard for the referees to become professional many years ago and they did a good job to allow them to be professional. But I see no improvement.
"There are two countries in Europe where you have professional referees, in Italy and in England," he continued. "And not one English referee will go to the World Cup.
"But everything is all right. We cannot say a word against it because they’re untouchable. That is the truth. It’s not only me that judges them."