Manchester City were left ‘shocked and angered’ after Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger labelled Raheem Sterling a ‘diver’ following Sunday’s game at the Etihad, according to a number of reports.
“I believe it was no penalty. We know that Raheem Sterling dives well, he does that very well,” Wenger told BBC Match of the Day after the match.
City are said to be especially shocked as Wenger tried to sign Sterling in the summer, during City’s pursuit of Alexis Sanchez. According to the Mirror, club sources pointed to an incident in January when Kyle Walker, then of Spurs, pushed Sterling in the back and the City winger showed his integrity by staying on his feet, thus being denied a penalty.
The Arsenal manager’s comment has not gone down well at City and with others in the sport. Former Gunner, Ian Wright, disagreed with his view and believes it was a penalty, while Premier League legend Alan Shearer suggested Wenger owes Raheem an apology.
Meanwhile, former Premier League referee Dermott Gallagher was in no doubt that it was the right call.
“Penalty. Sterling is in possession of the ball, Monreal comes across and barges into him,” Gallagher told Sky Sports News. “The damage is done when he barges into him so it is an upper-body challenge.”
“Wenger would have been even more upset had he sent him off. You could argue that he is in on goal and hasn’t made a clear attempt to play the ball. It could have been a red card, but it is definitely a penalty.”
It remains to be seen if Wenger will apologise to ‘Raz’, but it’s probably not worth holding your breath for…