Late West Brom penalty denies Arsenal victory

West Brom forward Jay Rodriguez converted a controversial penalty kick awarded by referee Mike Dean
West Brom forward Jay Rodriguez converted a controversial penalty kick awarded by referee Mike Dean

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger believes referee Mike Dean “did not see” the incident that led him to award a late penalty to West Brom in the Gunners’ 1-1 draw at The Hawthorns.

The visitors were on course for three points after Alexis Sanchez’s 83rd-minute free-kick beat Baggies goalkeeper Ben Foster via a big deflection off James McClean in the wall.

But, with a minute of normal time remaining, Calum Chambers was judged to have handled as Kieran Gibbs tried to nudge the ball past him the area.

Jay Rodriguez fired the resulting spot-kick past Petr Cech to earn the struggling hosts a point.

Deal of the day

Wenger said: “Many years ago [former Arsenal vice-chairman] David Dein and myself fought hard for referees to become professional and they do a good job, but don’t work enough.

“We have a very difficult schedule and I believe we fought hard to win the game, but didn’t because of a bad decision.

“[Dean] didn’t see it. There was a player in front of him. That’s why I questioned his decision, he didn’t see it.”

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West Brom counterpart Alan Pardew acknowledged it was a “fortunate penalty”.

He added: “If I was the opposing manager then I might not have thought it was a penalty.”

Both goals came in a dramatic final 10 minutes of a largely uninspiring game with few clear-cut chances.

Arsenal move three points behind fourth-placed Liverpool while West Brom climb off the bottom of the table on goal difference.

Arsenal’s players protested both at the time of the decision and after the final whistle, when Cech was booked and Wenger spoke to Dean.

The incident came a day after Southampton defender Maya Yoshida was deemed not to be at fault when he handled the ball against Manchester United, but there was no such good fortune for Chambers.

With Arsenal just moments away from securing victory, former Gunners full-back Gibbs’ attempt to push the ball past Chambers struck the arm of the defender. Chambers had little time to move his arm out of the way, but the referee judged it to be intentional.

That left Wenger and his players aggrieved just minutes after they had taken the lead rather fortuitously when Sanchez’s free-kick took a big deflection off McClean to wrong-foot Foster.

Before that, the visitors rarely troubled the Baggies backline, though Alexandre Lacazette went close twice.

And the late controversy meant they missed the chance to really close on the Champions League places, with a match against second-placed Chelsea to come on Wednesday.