Arsene Wenger blames referee for Arsenal defeat

Arsène Wenger accused the Italian referee Nicola Rizzoli of "killing" Arsenal in their 2-0 home defeat by Bayern Munich on a Champions League last-16.

Wenger raged at Rizzoli's decision to send off Wojciech Szczesny in the 38th minute, after the goalkeeper had brought down Arjen Robben inside the area. 

It was highly debatable whether Robben had been denied a clear goalscoring opportunity by Szczesny.

Wenger poured out the frustration, as Arsenal confronted the prospect of a fourth consecutive last-16 exit and the picture he painted was one of helplessness. He had lost Kieran Gibbs to an injury on 31 minutes and, after introducing his substitute goalkeeper, Lukasz Fabianski, for Szczesny, he had little further room for manoeuvre. His Bayern counterpart, Pep Guardiola, by contrast made attacking tweaks and substitutions and his team finished as comfortable winners.

"The red card didn't change the game, it killed the game," Wenger said. "Until then it was top quality but in the second half it was boring for the neutrals. It was one-way traffic. The referee made a decision that killed the game. These rules are different in every country and in Italy you get sent off for these kind of fouls.

"Our keeper genuinely went for the ball, he touched Robben and he certainly made more of it. I told Robben that. He has enough experience to know to make more of it. Overall, I felt Bayern made more of every single contact.

"We had lost Gibbs, we lost a goalkeeper ... we made two changes and were down to 10 men. You cannot bring anyone else on in case anyone gets injured. You run after the ball and they bring fresh players on. I just feel frustrated. There was no game at all after half-time."
Wenger was left merely to maintain that the tie was not yet over and Arsenal would fight until the end. "It was a similar repetition to what happened at Manchester City [on Tuesday night against Barcelona] when they were down to 10 men," Wenger added. "We also conceded a goal in the last minute because maybe we wanted to score a goal from the free-kick and we got caught on the counter attack."