1. ITV Report

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger stands by referee comments '100 percent'

Photo: PA

Arsene Wenger stands by the comments he made before and after Arsenal's 2-2 draw with Chelsea on Wednesday night.

The Football Association has asked Wenger to provide his observations on what he said about two penalty decisions given against the Gunners, the first awarded to West Brom on New Year's Eve and the second given to Antonio Conte's men.

"I maintain what I said in the press conference - 100 per cent. I have nothing to change in that," the Frenchman said.

"I've been in England for 21 years and I try to serve this game with honesty and integrity and when I have something to say I will say it. On that front, nothing will change, never."

Wenger was charged by the FA over his conduct after the 1-1 draw with West Brom on New Year's Eve. Credit: PA

Wenger faces a separate FA charge relating to his behaviour after last weekend's 1-1 draw with West Brom, when Arsenal defender Calum Chambers was penalised by Mike Dean for a handball.

He said at the club's Friday press conference ahead of the FA Cup third-round tie against Nottingham Forest that he "doesn't know" if he will contest the charge.

He added: "You imagine that I've been in the game for 21 years. What I've seen and heard in the corridors from people, you might understand that I'm surprised and shocked at having been charged."

Arsenal conceded another late penalty against Chelsea at the Emirates Stadium in midweek when Eden Hazard went down following a challenge from Hector Bellerin.

Wenger was also unhappy about the decision involving Bellerin against Chelsea. Credit: PA

Wenger refuses to back down on his claim that the spot-kick awarded against Bellerin was "farcical", standing by the comment "100 per cent" and adding: "I respect everybody's opinion.

"I think it was a yellow card for Hazard. 100 per cent (he dived). I have a right to have my opinion and I respect everybody's opinion."

When it was pointed out to Wenger that Jack Wilshere was accused of diving in the same match, the 68-year-old replied: "Maybe he did, but why should that change my opinion on the penalty? It has nothing to do with the penalty.

"You have your opinion and I have my opinion and I've been in the game long enough to know that everybody can have a different opinion."

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Press Association Sport understands the FA's latest enquiry relates in particular to Wenger appearing to suggest there may be a conspiracy against his team.

Wenger said before the game against Chelsea: ''I must say what is more frustrating for me is that it happened many times this season - at Stoke, at Watford, at Manchester City, at West Brom. That is a concerning coincidence for me.''

On Dean's decision to penalise Chambers, Wenger added: ''He saw what he wanted to see and we have to deal with that.''

After the draw against Chelsea, Wenger told Sky Sports: ''When opinions always go the same way it's coincidence. Statistically it's built on the fact that when it's repeated it's not coincidence.''

Wenger feels Arsenal have been victims on more than a few occasions this season. Credit: PA

Wenger declined to explain the comments in great detail when pressed on Friday.

"I have nothing to add to that, I maintain what I said. We can talk and talk and spend time talking about things that aren't really important in the game," he said.

"We want to see big football games with big players on the pitch and you want them to be refereed by top quality people. I want them to be at their top and I'm quite surprised that's shocking."