Arsene Wenger claims that poor refereeing was the sole reason for Arsenal’s 5-1 Champions League loss to Bayern Munich on Wednesday morning.
An early Theo Walcott goal gave the Gunners the faintest hopes of turning around the tie, having suffered the same result in the first meeting in Germany.
Although the Londoners kept Die Roten at bay for 45 minutes, a moment of controversy would begin their collapse, when the referee changed his decision on a Laurent Koscielny tackle from a yellow card to a red and also awarded the visitors a penalty.
Conceding four more times from there on, Wenger says that this moment ended any hopes they had of progressing from the round of 16.
“In the second half the referee killed the game. After that it was very difficult, but the referee I think was very, very powerful for Bayern tonight,” he told BT Sport after the match.
“Lewandowski, not only was it not a penalty, he was offside. And on top it was not a penalty. On top of that he gives us a red card that killed us completely.
“Overall I must say, Bayern are a good side, but tonight they can as well say ‘thank you’ to the decisions of the referee in the second half.
“I feel the referee has let us down…it’s difficult when you’re 1-1, down to 10 men, and you have to score four goals against a quality team like Bayern. It’s irresponsible from the referee.
“We have to stand up, of course, and give all kinds of explanations, but at the end of the day that is the reason for tonight’s result.”
With Arsenal falling to their seventh straight round of 16 exit, the manager could only try to sympathise with fans and says the standard officiating needs to be higher for such vital matches.
“It leaves me very angry, very frustrated. And I think at the moment, because we are in a different period, even more so,” he added.
“I think it’s absolutely in-explainable and scandalous.
“You look at what happened really, the guy behind the line gives a penalty and on top of that the red card. When the ref had given a yellow, OK we have to take it on the chin — I have to stand up for it.
“When you see the importance of the games and you see an attitude like that, I am absolutely revolted and sorry for people who come and pay a lot of money to watch this kind of game.
“I will take a lot of criticism, but it doesn’t change my mind. I think in the game we have to deal with these kinds of situations, but that doesn’t make them right.”