Wenger set for FA charge as Arsenal scrape win

Alexis Sanchez scoring in the 98th minute with a "Panenka" penalty. Arsenal eked out a 2-1 victory over Burnley to go second in the Premier League.
Alexis Sanchez scoring in the 98th minute with a "Panenka" penalty. Arsenal eked out a 2-1 victory over Burnley to go second in the Premier League.PHOTO: REUTERS

LONDON • Arsene Wenger faces the threat of a touchline ban after pushing Anthony Taylor, the fourth official, during a turbulent ending to Arsenal's 2-1 Premier League victory over Burnley on Sunday.

The Arsenal manager issued an apology in his post-match press conference, admitting that he had pushed Taylor during an altercation in the players' tunnel after being sent away from the touchline for his reaction to a penalty awarded to Burnley in stoppage time.

The Frenchman's actions are expected to be mentioned in the match officials' report, and to be investigated by the Football Association (FA), which has the power to charge him with misconduct.

If he is found guilty, he will be issued a touchline ban like the one that Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho served for kicking a water bottle in anger earlier this season.

"I was sent out," Wenger said after Arsenal's victory, which was coincidentally secured by an Alexis Sanchez penalty.

"I didn't know if I was sent to the stands, but I was sent out. I thought I could watch it from the corridor (the tunnel). I went inside and watched it on television."

It was in the tunnel that the altercation occurred as stewards stood in front of Wenger, along with Taylor, whom he pushed.

"I regret everything," he added. "I should have shut up, gone in and gone home. I apologise for that."

Shkodran Mustafi had opened the scoring in the 59th-minute before Andre Gray converted a 93rd-minute penalty to equalise for Burnley.

Arsenal were then awarded a penalty of their own which Sanchez scored in what was a dramatic 98th-minute winner.

Wenger escaped disciplinary action last month, when he appeared to push Paul Tierney, the fourth official, during Arsenal's 3-1 victory over Stoke City.

There was also a push on Mourinho during a bad-tempered clash between Chelsea and Arsenal in 2014.

Going much further back, Wenger was initially given a 12-match touchline ban in 2000 for pushing Paul Taylor, the fourth official, during a match against Portsmouth, but that sanction was overturned on appeal.

Referring to his initial sending off, Wenger said: "I said something that you hear every day in football. Overall, nine times out of ten, you are not sent to the stand for that.

"I was quite calm for the whole game, more than usual. But just in the last two or three minutes (it happened)."


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 24, 2017, with the headline 'Wenger set for FA charge as Arsenal scrape win'. Print Edition | Subscribe