Wenger: Bellerin ‘didn’t know the score’ after Alonso’s ‘dangerous play’
Arsene Wenger may have been forced to watch Arsenal’s 3-1 loss at Chelsea from the Stamford Bridge stands, but the Gunners boss certainly saw some concerning refereeing.
Chelsea’s opening goal became a topic of debate, as Blues wingback Marcos Alonso flew in for a header but took out Arsenal defender Hector Bellerin with an elbow in the process. Bellerin immediately crumpled in a heap, but the goal was allowed to stand. It certainly was unintentional on Alonso’s part, but was it a foul? Judge for yourself.
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Wenger made up his mind and believes the goal shouldn’t have stood, even going as far as to insinuate it could have merited a caution or sending off.
“It was 100 percent a foul, it was even dangerous play,” Wenger said via TeamTalk. “That doesn’t take anything away from the performance of Chelsea,” he added.
The Arsenal boss also questioned the consistency of referees, noting that fouls in the air are neglected.
“One of the peculiarities of the game today is that referees are much more severe with tackles on the ground and let more go with elbows in the face,” he said. “It’s more dangerous to hit the head.”
After undergoing tests, a woozy Bellerin, who looked to be out cold before he even hit the ground, was substituted for Gabriel Paulista. It’s a good thing Bellerin left the match, too, as Wenger revealed a hazy memory for his defender.
“He didn’t know the score at the time,” Wenger said.
Whether the goal should or shouldn’t have been allowed is certainly a valid debate. Players are allowed to use their arms for protection and leverage while jumping — you can’t expect them to leap with their arms at their sides — but contact with an opponent’s head is tough to overlook. It’s certainly a gray area, which the game is littered with, and that’s what makes for compelling discussion.
What’s not up for debate is that Bellerin suffered a head injury and needed attention. Whether he or the Gunners staff decided he was unfit to carry on, Arsenal should be applauded for looking out for his well-being.
Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.