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Wenger criticizes Shearer over physical tactics

Toon striker is accused of influencing referees; Solano returns from loan at Villa to grab winner

Wenger criticizes Shearer over physical tactics

Aggrieved Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger slammed former England skipper Alan Shearer's tactics after watching his side slip to a 1-0 defeat to Newcastle at St. James' Park on Saturday.

The Gunners, who were reduced to 10-men when Brazilian international Gilberto was sent off in the 57th minute for two bookable offences, were undone by Nolberto Solano's 82nd-minute winner.

Wenger was unhappy with the nature of Shearer's performance and the center forward was in typically forceful mood as he put an unconvincing Arsenal defense under pressure.

"I don't want to go overboard on Alan Shearer but I do think he has an influence on referees and gets away with more than most players," the Frenchman explained. "He goes for the man first and then for the ball and gets away with that tactic a lot.

"We can decide that is the way to play football and allow all players to challenge their opponents without the ball or decide to have a judo party every week."

But Newcastle manager Graeme Souness had little sympathy for his Arsenal counterpart and defended his experienced captain.

"Alan is the best striker of his type that English football has ever produced," he said. "We're in the north here and in the north we're far more confrontational. Alan sums up that attitude and I wouldn't dream of changing the way he plays," he contended.

"If Arsene doesn't like it then he should be used to it by now. That's the way we play our football in the Premiership and it's part and parcel of the English game."

Gilberto had brought down Shola Ameobi seconds before halftime and earned a second caution for a foul on France international Jean-Alain Boumsong.

Wenger also felt his side was victimized in a fixture which bore all the physical hallmarks of a typically hard-fought Premiership clash.

"In the context of the game, if that was a sending-off, then I must need a new pair of eyes," Wenger moaned.

"I have always said that if you don't get the ball it's a foul but that has to be the same for strikers as well as midfielders. I will watch the tape again and again but I still won't understand the decision," he said.

"I think we will appeal to the Football Association to get the Gilberto decision overturned."

Meanwhile, Shearer believes the club could look forward to the Christmas period with confidence after the Magpies' first win in five games moved them into the Premier League top ten.

The former England international set up Solano for the stunning late winner.

"Not many people would have bet on us beating Arsenal apart from the 16 players in the dressing room before kickoff," said the Toon skipper.

"We always believed in ourselves and now we can look forward to the next few weeks with confidence. The work-rate, the tackling, the commitment and the passion from the players was incredible," he said.

"It raised the temperature inside the stadium and the crowd really got going. We haven't given them much to shout about in recent weeks but that was a great performance."

Solano scored the first goal of his second spell at Newcastle after returning to Tyneside from Aston Villa in the off-season and the Peru international was clearly delighted to have claimed a vital winner.

"I'm very happy today," said the former Boca Juniors midfielder. "It was very important to win that game because of the pressure we have been under in the last few weeks."

In other Premiership action: Blackburn 3, West Ham 2; Charlton 2, Sunderland 0; Bolton 1, Aston Villa 1; West Brom 2, Manchester City 0; Birmingham 1, Fulham 0.

Updated : 2021-08-04 02:05 GMT+08:00