Arsène Wenger believes Mark Noble should have been sent off for his tackle on Alex Hleb at the weekend.

The West Ham midfielder clattered his Arsenal counterpart midway through a feisty first half at Upton Park. Hleb was stretchered off but has recovered sufficiently to retain his place in the squad for tonight's Champions League tie at Steaua Bucharest. He is 50:50 to play.

Noble was booked for his trouble but, in the cold light of day, Wenger felt it should be more.

"I have seen it again and it was a straight red for Noble," said the manager, "without a doubt.

"I can understand the referee could not see it, because you could only see it well from one angle on television. But that angle is really bad for Noble."

Over recent years there has been the theory that Arsenal can't handle a physical game and getting 'stuck in' would bring its reward.

"I don't know about that," Wenger replied when the question was put to him. "I always think it is best that both teams play football. Overall West Ham play football. It was a fair game on Saturday you cannot say it was a dirty. [But] that was more intimidation than physical.

"I don't mind physical games. I understand teams a little less technically gifted than Arsenal are more physical and direct. That is normal. We have to face that. You have to keep that under control and make sure it does not harm the career of the player.

"I am sure that Curbishley has not demanded a bad tackle on anybody. I think that sometimes the players are confused. Aswell Noble is a young player who wants to gain his place sometimes when you are young you are confused between committed and overboard."

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2 Oct 2007