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12.05.2009 Football News

Wenger accuses Drogba of diving in Chelsea rout

By The Statesman
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Didier Drogba's tumultuous week took another sharp turn when Arsène Wenger accused him of diving to win the free-kick which set in train a famous 4-1 win for Chelsea.

"We live in a league now where the divers are rewarded,” the Arsenal manager said, having seen his captain, Cesc Fábregas, cautioned for mimicking a diving action in front of the referee, Phil Dowd, after Drogba, having been caught on the ball, tumbled with a flourish.

"I don't think the free-kick should have been given,” added Wenger. “It is not right, but it is like that. It's down to the referee to do his job. But if you ask me the question of whether Drogba dived, it means you have a doubt in your mind.”

The Chelsea manager, Guus Hiddink, suggested that if every incident in the game was worthy of picking apart, Wenger might have noticed some simulation in his own team. Emmanuel Adebayor twice took highly dubious falls. “There were also some other incidents which the referee was very gentle about,” said Hiddink. “When you win you should win with ­modesty, and when you lose you should try not to pick over things.”

Having spent the past few days going over the aftermath of ­Chelsea's Champions League exit at the hands of Barcelona, Hiddink urged Uefa not to punish Drogba, who reacted angrily to that defeat, when it deals with the incident in the coming week.

 “I don't expect much from that,” he said. “He saw he did wrong and apologised for it. We don't know what is going to ­happen, but if the people at Uefa are football people rather than bureaucratic people, they'll take that into account — the fact that he apologised.”

Hiddink was pleased with Drogba's contribution Sunday, given the attention trained on him. “We told him everyone would be focused on him, so he had to play the simple game. He put in the free-kick for Alex's beautiful header. He did not react to any challenges.”

The Chelsea manager understandably expressed satisfaction in so resounding a result and said it confirmed his team's position as one of the top two or three sides in Europe.

Still clinging to the brighter side of things, Wenger went on: “Three months ago, everybody said we'd finish 10th. They'd have been happy to have finished fourth. In the games that mattered in the last three or four weeks, we couldn't win. That's what we have to analyse.

“This is a job for strong people. This is a good opportunity to show we have the mental strength to perform at this level.”

Arsenal have now conceded four goals against Liverpool and Chelsea and three against Manchester United over the course of the season. The Guardian

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