Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has insisted that referee Lee Mason made the correct call in awarding his side a stoppage-time penalty during their 1-0 win over Burnley on Sunday afternoon.
The match was tightly poised and look destined for a goalless stalemate until the official deemed James Tarkowski’s shove on Aaron Ramsey enough to point to the spot.
For the second time in as many meetings between the pairing, Alexis Sanchez secured all three points with a last-minute winner from 12 yards, with the same outcome occurring last season at the Emirates Stadium.
Despite some claims stating the decision was ‘soft’, Arsenal boss Wenger was adamant Mason made the correct call and praised Sean Dyche’s Burnley for making it a difficult afternoon for his side.
“In the first half we didn’t find our game and they stopped us from playing very well,” the Frenchman told Sky Sports.
“In the second half we upped the tempo and dominated much more, we created more chances and it was a question of finding the final ball, being patient and not making a mistake at the back.
“From the outside it looked 100 per cent a penalty, I don’t know why he pushed him with two hands in his back but it looked like a penalty.
“When you see how difficult it is to score against them it’s a big result, you’d think that many clubs will drop points here.
“They’ve got 22 points already and when you play against them you know why.”
There was little to separate the two sides throughout the 90 minutes, a fair reflection on both Arsenal and Burnely’s current league standings.
Going into the game both sides knew a win would take them into the top four as they were separated on goal difference, but despite now climbing above fierce rivals Tottenham Hotspur, Wenger played down any Champions League qualification talk.
“It’s early, it changes from one week to another,” the 68-year-old noted.
“We wanted to win away from home and we did it. It’s only November and it is too early to talk about the Champions League.”
Ahead of the clash the exclusion of midfielder Mesut Ozil, who was instrumental in the Gunners’ north London derby victory over Spurs last time out in the Premier League, was much discussed, with it being revealed an illness had kept the Germany international out of proceedings.
But when asked about the potential return date of the creator, who looks set to depart the Emirates Stadium at the end of this season, the long-reigning boss could not pin-point an exact comeback date.
“It depends how he will recover, I don’t know,” Wenger added.
“He travelled home from the hotel and we don’t know how bad it is.”
The three points places Arsenal one point ahead of Tottenham in the race for the top four – a gap they will be looking to at least maintain when they prepare for the visit of Huddersfield Town on Wednesday evening.