Arsene Wenger accused Raheem Sterling of diving and criticised the standard of refereeing after his Arsenal side were beaten 3-1 at Manchester City.
The Gunners boss claimed Sterling “dives well” after earning the penalty which allowed the Premier League leaders to take a 2-0 lead in yesterday’s clash at the Etihad Stadium.
He was then further infuriated that neither David Silva nor goalscorer Gabriel Jesus were flagged offside in the build-up to City’s third goal.
Wenger told the BBC’s Match of the Day: “I believe it was no penalty. It was a provoked penalty by Sterling. We know that he dives well – he does that very well. And the third goal was offside.
“I am disappointed. You can accept if it City win in a normal way, they are a good side, but the way it happened is unacceptable.”
City’s victory lifted them eight points clear at the top of the table and 12 ahead of the Gunners.
Turning his attention to referee Michael Oliver, Wenger said: “Can anyone stop them? It will be difficult this season – the way they have started, the way they are on a run, the quality they have. If on top of that at home they have decisions like that, they will be unstoppable.”
Match of the Day pundits Alan Shearer and Ian Wright, the latter one of Wenger’s former players, felt the criticism of Sterling was unjustified. The England international was awarded the spot-kick – which was converted by Sergio Aguero – after being bundled over by Nacho Monreal.
Former England striker Shearer said: “I think it is totally wrong. It is one thing to deflect from his team’s inadequacies and deficiencies, it is another one to question someone’s integrity and be wrong. I think he owes Sterling an apology. There is no way that’s a dive and it was a penalty.”
Wright said Wenger’s comments were “too strong for me”.
He added: “When you see the incident, it was a penalty. It is very harsh for him to say that.”
For all Arsenal’s gripes, City were the dominant side and deserved victory. Kevin De Bruyne opened the scoring in the first half before Aguero doubled the lead from the spot. Alexandre Lacazette pulled one back but City stepped up to win with Jesus’ contentious effort.
City manager Pep Guardiola had no time for Wenger’s complaints.
He said: “We won in the best way and we deserved (it) by far, (for) he chances we created and the few chances we conceded.
“They tell me it was offside and I don’t like to win in that way but sometimes Arsenal win at Burnley, 96th minute, with a hand, so sometimes it is like this.”