Fletcher: Wenger's Comments Influence Referees
We remember Arsene Wenger screaming murder after his team so memorably pushed the self-destruct button at Old Trafford. He complained about our penalty - which was as straightforward as any decision you will see this season - and moaned that there had been a player on the pitch whose sole job had been to commit fouls.
He was believed to be referring to our Darren Fletcher who conceded the freekick that led to Chelsea's winner at Stamford Bridge yesterday. The thing is that Fletcher believes he won the ball fairly - video evidence backs him up - and believes he's suffering because of Wenger's comments.
"It was clearly not a foul. I knew at the time and I have watched it again. I back-heeled the ball, Cole jumped up in the air and the referee gave a foul.
"I think we are starting to see Mr Wenger`s comments starting to influence referees, which is a shame, really. Now we have to raise our game and ensure these decisions are not affecting the game."
Well, as I said, I really think that it's in fact Owen's winner and Fergie's criticism of Wiley which influences referees though it's true that after the Arsenal game we were reduced to ten men at Spurs for a totally fair challenge by Paul Scholes. But on that occasion it was Scholes' reputation working against him.
So it's unfair to blame Wenger for this, even though I well understand Fletcher's frustration, especially as Anelka got the man of the match award which was a travesty indeed.