By Chris Harris
Arsène Wenger is concerned that persistent foulers in the Premier League are going unpunished.
The Frenchman watched his team record a deserved 4-0 victory against Wigan at the weekend thanks to a brace from Thomas Vermaelen and a goal apiece from Emmanuel Eboue and Cesc Fabregas. But one statistic from Saturday's game troubled the Arsenal manager.
Wigan committed three times as many fouls as Arsenal - 18 to six - but ended the game with the same number of yellow cards. There were four bookings in total with one player on each team cautioned for foul play - Alex Song and Jordi Gomez. For Wenger, that shows that the referee was too lenient on a Wigan side which averaged a foul every five minutes.
"It is not especially aimed at any particular player, but it looks to me that some players make repeated fouls and do not get punished," said Wenger.
"The yellow card is not linked with the number of fouls a player makes, but only with the spectacular side of the fouls. If some player always makes little fouls – and in the last four games we played, every single team had one player who did that. I am not saying who in particular it is. I don’t want to make any big fuss over it, I just want to make referees alert to it.
"I think the referee has all the rules in the book that if a player makes three or four little fouls, it is a yellow card. If you make one spectacular foul, like Song did on Saturday, even if it is not dangerous you get a yellow card. In their team you had players who made four, five, six, seven fouls and didn’t get a yellow card."
It's an issue which has concerned Wenger for some time and you can see why. His Arsenal team are at their best when they are in full flow so he wants to see justice done if opponents commit a flurry of fouls - however minor - to break their rhythm. Indeed, the Arsenal manager intends to take his case to the authorities.
"I think I will try and speak to them [the FA], yes," said Wenger.
"We have already talked about it at a UEFA meeting because in the modern game you play always against 10 defenders. So when you can get four against four, or three against three and you get punished and have to start again from zero, it is difficult. This also goes for Manchester United, Chelsea and Liverpool, everybody."Copyright 2017 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source