Arsène Wenger risks an FA misconduct charge and touchline ban for an altercation with fourth official Anthony Taylor as his emotions got the better of him during the turbulent finale of Arsenal’s 2-1 victory over Burnley.
The Frenchman has apologised for his actions, which happened after he was sent off following the visitors being awarded a stoppage-time penalty. Wenger tried to push Taylor out of the way when the official went to tell him that he was not allowed to watch from the corridor of the tunnel.
“I regret everything,” Wenger said. “I should have shut up, gone in and gone home. I apologise for that.”
Arsenal were trying to preserve a narrow lead going into seven minutes of stoppage time but conceded a penalty when Ashley Barnes was fouled by Francis Coquelin. “Look, it was nothing bad,” Wenger said. “I said something that you hear every day in football. Overall, nine times out of 10 you are not sent to the stand for that. If I am, I am, and I should have shut up completely. I was quite calm the whole game, more than usual. But just in the last two or three minutes…”
Wenger’s irritation at being dismissed was inflamed when Taylor insisted on sending the manager further away than his vantage point in the tunnel. “I thought I could watch it from the corridor,” he explained, and added that he watched the second penalty elsewhere on television.
That second penalty only added to the unfolding sense of high drama. This time it was Sean Dyche who was despairing, as Ben Mee’s high foot caught Laurent Koscielny in the face in the final seconds of a prolonged stoppage time. The Arsenal defender was offside, and Dyche was left ruing two debatable goals which turned a possible point into a defeat.
Burnley were also undone very late on by Arsenal at Turf Moor in controversial fashion earlier in the season. Dyche called it “bizarre, an unfortunate twist of fate. It cost us points”.
This time the Burnley manager lamented the quirk of the offside rule which means the assistant has to wait until the ball is touched before raising a flag, and suggested it would be a brave official to do so if the referee has already pointed for a penalty.