Soccer: Arsenal manager fuming at send off decision

By Mike McGrath

Arsene Wenger. Photo / AP
Arsene Wenger. Photo / AP

Arsene Wenger Arsene Wenger blamed referee Lee Probert following Arsenal's dramatic 2-1 defeat at Fulham and claimed his team have been unfairly denied penalties in four of their past five Premier League games.

And while Wenger was fuming, Chelsea manager Andre Villas-Boas declared his team was back in the title race following a last-gasp 2-1 victory over Wolves.

Arsenal took the lead over Fulham through Laurent Koscielny but were forced to play the closing stages with 10 men after Johan Djourou's dismissal, with Fulham taking advantage through goals from Steve Sidwell, a former Gunners midfielder, and Bobby Zamora in the final five minutes.

"The referee influenced the game completely the wrong way in my opinion," said Wenger after a defeat which dropped his side into fifth place in the table.

"We cannot influence that ... in the last 10 minutes, we lost the game because we were down to 10 men."

Zamora's goal came after he'd struggled with injuries and amid reports of a decline in his relationship with Fulham manager Martin Jol. "A lot of it has been blown well out of proportion," Zamora said, playing down talk of a rift.

Meanwhile, Frank Lampard's dramatic 89th-minute goal eased the pressure on Villas-Boas as Chelsea ended a four-game winless streak at Molineux.

"If we go on a winning streak of five or six games, which we are capable of, we can still be fighting for this league," Villas-Boas said.

Elsewhere, Blackburn were brought down to earth following their away win over Manchester United, suffering a 2-1 defeat to Stoke at Ewood Park as Peter Crouch scored twice for the visitors.

Aston Villa's feelgood factor from their win at Chelsea was also shattered, with newly promoted Swansea scoring a 2-0 win at Villa Park.

And QPR captain Joey Barton was hero and villain at Loftus Road as Rangers crashed to a 2-1 loss to Norwich, a defeat that edged Neil Warnock's side ever closer to the relegation zone.

Barton shot Rangers ahead on 11 minutes, drilling in a low finish from Clint Hill's cross.

But Barton's joy turned to despair on 36 minutes, when the midfielder was sent off for an apparent headbutt in a confrontation with Bradley Johnson.

- AAP

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