Wenger unhappy with referee switch for Spurs game

By Reuters   April 15, 2016 | 03:03 am PT
Wenger unhappy with referee switch for Spurs game
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger said the Premier League had set a dangerous precedent in replacing referee and Leicester City fan Kevin Friend for Tottenham Hotspur's Premier League clash with Stoke City on Monday.

Neil Swarbrick will instead referee the fixture as second-placed Spurs, who are chasing a first league title since 1961, look to close the seven point gap on leaders Leicester City.

"I am surprised and disappointed. It questions the integrity of the referee and sets a dangerous precedent," Wenger told reporters on Friday.

"The solution is you don't look where they come from and who they support, you just pick the best referees.

"I am not a specialist of judging referees - we have to accept they make more mistakes and give them more support with more technology and treat them as professionals who make decisions which are not based on their emotions."

Arsenal are third in the table, 13 points behind Leicester but with a game in hand, and face 16th-placed Crystal Palace at the Emirates Stadium on Sunday.

German playmaker Mesut Ozil has scored six goals and leads the assists chart with 18, two behind the all-time Premier League record, and Wenger said his charge, among a shortlist of six, was deserving of the PFA Player of the Year award.

"He's been more efficient, he has created more chances, and especially he has scored more goals," the club's longest-serving manager said.

"I believe in a guy like Ozil, you see 10 to 15 goals, you hope he can get to 10 before the end of the season. But he's miles ahead on assists and the two combined makes that he deserves this kind of award."

Arsenal's injury-plagued midfielder Jack Wilshere, who is yet to feature for the club this season, is closing in on a long-awaited return to first-team action.

"Jack needs one more game. I will see after that how he compares to the other competitors," Wenger said.

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