It's very difficult to accept that we lost to offside goals, insists Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger after Manchester City reverse

It's very difficult to accept that we lost to offside goals, insists Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger after Manchester City reverse

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger believes his side were unfortunate to lose 2-1 away at Manchester City, insisting referee Martin Atkinson wrongly awarded City's two goals when they were offside, and bemoaned what he called "a horrible week" for his side after back-to-back league defeats.

Charlie Malam

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger believes both of Manchester City's goals in Sunday's 2-1 defeat at the Etihad Stadium were offside and bemoaned a "horrible" week for his side after back-to-back Premier League defeats.

Theo Walcott's fifth-minute strike had given the Gunners an early lead in Manchester, which they protected into half-time courtesy of some stubborn defending that limited Pep Guardiola's side to few opportunities of note.

But inside just two minutes of the restart, Leroy Sane broke clear to finish from David Silva's chipped through ball and pull City level.

That gave way to a second-half in which the home side dominated and were by far the better team, Arsenal showing very little going forward against an energetic and rampant City side.

And Raheem Sterling's 71st-minute strike, firing low past Petr Cech at his near post following Kevin De Bruyne's magnificent cross-field pass, meant that the North London outfit slipped to defeat for the second time in five days after their 15-match unbeaten league run was ended by Everton on Tuesday night.

It would be even better if referees could make the right decisions, says frustrated Wenger

Wenger, speaking in his post-match press conference, said: "[In the first-half] I felt we were in control and it didn't look like we could lose the game.

"Every time we stopped City from creating chances, they looked a little bit short of ideas to create chances. We got caught cold in the second-half.

"I feel physically we dropped a little in the second-half. When we won the ball, we didn't come out as clean as we did in the first-half. I think it gave them hope at 1-1.

"I feel we were a bit short physically and dropped a little bit, maybe mentally as well after they equalised.

"We tried to come back in the last 20 minutes and we were a bit unlucky on one or two occasions, but City killed the game. They have experience. They went down and it was difficult to create a flow.

"On top of all of that, we conceded two offside goals. That's very difficult to accept in a game of that stature. As it is well known, the referees are protected very well - which is right, like the lions in the zoo. We have to accept that decision."

Asked to expand on his comments, the Frenchman continued: "I want them [the referees] to be very well protected. I want them to be safe. But if they could make the right decisions, it would be even better.

"It's too long a subject. I don't want to make the referees the subject of a press conference but I just feel it's right that they are safe and protected but if, on top of that, they make the right decisions then it would be even better.

"It's difficult to lose a game of that stature on two offside goals. I can understand City looks very happy. I would be as well. But I think the goals are offside."

Arsenal's second-half performance an 'accumulation of their recent number of games'

Arsenal's tempo - particularly in midfield - dropped significantly after half-time, with Wenger citing a build-up of fatigue from a packed fixture schedule as the reason for their drop-off.

"First of all, we've played many games," added Wenger. "We have played four games away from home out of the last five. We had one day less recovery at Everton, compared to everyone else.

"We played in Basel and played against Stoke on Saturday. Tuesday night we played at Everton and I feel that plenty of teams, big teams, who don't play in Europe, could have played on Wednesday and we could have played on Tuesday.

"I think it's a bit [down to] the accumulation of the number of games we've played recently, especially away from home."


Wenger says Arsenal have endured 'a horrible week'

The Arsenal boss insists that his side's failure to keep their opponents out is costing them - with Cech having now conceded in eight successive Premier League games for the first time in his career an example of their lacklustre recent defending.

Wenger said: "We have to come back next week and win our game. We've had a horrible week. Absolutely horrible.

"What is worse, out of two good performances - we get zero points. Out of two leading positions, we lost two games. That of course is very disappointing and we have nine points to come back.

"We have to be realistic as to why we have not kept a clean sheet. If you want to play at the top, you have to keep clean sheets."

Wenger also spoke about the injury that forced second-half substitute Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain off just 13 minutes after coming on, revealing: "He's injured. It looks like a hamstring, but I haven't seen him. It's a muscular problem."