Wenger’s whine nets Ronald’s ridicule
Everton manager Ronald Koeman reacted sarcastically to Arsenal counterpart Arsene Wenger after Everton ended the Gunners’ nine-month unbeaten away streak in the Premier League with a fiery 2-1 victory at Goodison Park on Tuesday.
Wenger blamed referee Mark Clattenburg for awarding the first of a series of corners from which Ashley Williams headed home the winner in the 86th minute.
But Toffees boss Koeman responded bullishly and claimed he targeted Arsenal’s weak points by instructing his players to be aggressive against the Premier League title hopeful.
“I’m not surprised about Wenger’s comments because it is the third time in a row that I won as a manager at home against Arsenal,” said Koeman.
“And that is three times in a row that it was about the referee. OK — sorry, Arsenal. We won through the referee tonight, sorry!
“Their weakness is if you go face to face and win battles and you run and you go. Then you need a bit of luck, and we deserved that.
“If you fight for every ball and are aggressive, you see the reaction of the crowd and with a lot of aggression you can make life difficult. Then it is really difficult to beat Everton here.
“We showed that after 20 minutes. We went face to face against them and that’s what you have to do against teams like Arsenal.”
Williams struck from Ross Barkley’s corner after Alexis Sanchez’s 20th-minute opener for Arsenal, a deflected free-kick, was canceled out by Seamus Coleman’s header a minute before the break.
Citing Clattenburg’s decision to award a corner despite the ball appearing to go out off Everton substitute Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Wenger said his side had been hard done by.
“Of course it was not a corner,” said Wenger. “It was the wrong decision.
“You could see from outside that it was no corner. I’m very disappointed because Clattenburg was in a very good position to see the player had the ball out.
“It is not the first time we are unlucky with his decision this season.
“But overall I don’t want to speak about the referee too much.”
The high stakes, with Everton looking to end a fivegame winless run and Arsenal seeking a victory that would have taken it to the top of the table, spilled over at halftime as the teams left the field.
Players exchanged words and traded pushes, with Everton’s Republic of Ireland midfielder James McCarthy appearing to accost Arsenal’s German playmaker Mesut Ozil.
“I was close to it and didn’t see a lot there,” said Wenger. “A little bit of pushing, but nothing dramatic.”
Wenger was adamant his players did not freeze on the big occasion and with a fervent Goodison crowd increasing the volume as the game progressed.
“We were a little bit less fresh and maybe we lost a lit- tle bit of urgency when we were 1-0 up and perfectly in control of the game,” he said.
“We are used to playing away at places like this and when you play nine months away from home unbeaten, then you have that normally every week.
“They made the game physical, they defended well, they played a cup game and made a big difference from what I had seen from them, the past few weeks.
“They fought for every ball. I don’t think they can repeat that every single game.”
Everton will have to do that in its next match — the Merseyside derby at home to Liverpool on Monday..
Koeman reckoned the victory was perfect preparation.
“Of course now it is a totally different situation to go into Monday,” he said.
“We have three points in the pocket, a good performance and we showed we are very strong at home.
“We are still unbeaten at home. We know everything about the Merseyside derby and if we play with the passion we showed tonight, we can have a good result.”
Everton’s Seamus Coleman (left) heads in his team’s opener against Arsenal during their English Premier League clash at Goodison Park in Liverpool on Tuesday. Ashley Williams’ 86th-minute winner ended the Gunners’ 14-game unbeaten run as the Toffees won 2-1.