Arsene Wenger was struck with another unfortunate case of selective myopia during Arsenal’s Europa League victory over AC Milan on Thursday night.
The Gunners boss has become infamous for never seeing incidents of diving in his own team, and that struck again at the Emirates as Danny Welbeck went down under an extremely soft challenge to win a penalty in the 3-1 win.
After the match, Wenger, true to type, claimed that he didn’t see the incident that led to the equalising penalty – but insisted that he will give Welbeck his ‘honest feelings’ about it if repeated showing shows that the England forward went down too easily:
“I haven’t seen it again.
“You want to accuse the English players of diving? There are two things. Was it a penalty or not? I don’t know. After, Danny took the penalty in a convincing way. I will watch it again and give you my honest feeling. I will give Danny my honest feeling as well, don’t worry.”
“Honestly, I don’t know.”
“I don’t want to accuse Danny Welbeck of cheating before I’ve seen it.”
Arsene Wenger gives his view on the debatable penalty awarded to his side ? pic.twitter.com/WvVnuY5P50
— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) March 15, 2018
Arsenal had just fallen behind against Milan thanks to Hakan Calanhoglu’s long-range strike, but the penalty and subsequent equaliser set the home side on the way to a comfortable victory and a place in the quarter finals.
Danny Fellbeck. Blatant dive.
— Gary Lineker (@GaryLineker) March 15, 2018
Wenger’s relatively tame response to Welbeck’s deceit comes just over a month after he suggested that English players were the new “masters of diving” – perceived at the time as a shot at Tottenham duo Harry Kane and Dele Alli just days after they were accused of simulation in a 2-2 draw with Liverpool at Anfield.
He has also been extremely vocal about players conning referees to win penalties against his own team – so it remains to be seen what his response will be to Welbeck once he has had a proper view of Thursday’s incident.
Upon qualification, Arsenal are one of eight names in the hat for the quarter-finals of the Europa League, with the draw taking place on Friday afternoon.