Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger accused Wigan goalkeeper Ali Al-Habsi of ‘disrespectful’ time-wasting during his side’s unexpected 2-1 win at the Emirates Stadium on Monday night. Wenger was often an animated figure on the touchline during the game as Al-Habsi repeatedly delayed goal-kicks. The Oman international was booked in the final minute by referee Andre Marriner but Wenger was convinced that should have occurred much earlier. “I told the fourth official ‘you know what — he will do it the whole game’ because he did it after 10 minutes and with three minutes to go he gets a yellow card,” the Frenchman said.
“It’s disrespectful, frankly, to people who pay big money to watch a game. We didn’t play well and we are sorry but the referee didn’t act on that and it is not right. I do not want to look for excuses, I congratulate Wigan, who did well, but the referee had to give him a yellow card the second time he did it. Then, you will play football. I can understand why they do it but it is down to the referee not to allow it.”
Arsenal captain Robin van Persie also lost his temper with Wigan, refusing to shake the hand of his counterpart Gary Caldwell after the final whistle. Two goals within 90 seconds in the first eight minutes had given the visitors an unexpected platform for success, with Franco Di Santo and Jordi Gomez the scorers. Thomas Vermaelen, the Belgium defender, headed Arsenal back into the game in the 21st minute but no equaliser was forthcoming.