Wednesday 21 March 2018

Wenger calls for a clean fight

Arsene Wenger hopes to see less playacting and more football when Arsenal tackle Newcastle at the Emirates Stadium tonight.

On the opening day of the Premier League season at St James' Park, new signing Gervinho was given a harsh introduction to English football when he was shown a straight red card for raising his hands to then Magpies midfielder Joey Barton.

Arsenal's Alex Song was also retrospectively banned for a stamp on Barton.

Last weekend, Newcastle snatched a 1-1 draw from a heated Tyne-Wear derby against Sunderland, since when both clubs have been charged with misconduct following a match which saw Black Cats forward Stephane Sessegnon shown a red card for lashing out at Magpies midfielder Cheick Tiote, who immediately went to ground.

Wenger believes Ivory Coast inter-national Gervinho will be wiser from his experience, although such situations leave the Gunners boss less than impressed.

"Gervinho was shocked because he felt he didn't do a lot. I think he learned his lesson in the first game and it's better than after 20," he said.

On overreactions from players following a clash, Wenger said: "It annoys me, but it can happen with one of my players as well.

"For example, (Liverpool striker Luis) Suarez got the penalty last week. It was no penalty. Nobody touched him. Where they go overboard is that nobody touched him."

The Gunners go into the clash with Newcastle aiming to close on third-placed Spurs, who were beaten at Everton, and put distance between themselves and Chelsea, who beat Stoke on Saturday.

Arsenal have found consistency in recent weeks, winning four of their last five Premier League games, including back-to-back victories over Spurs and Liverpool.

ARSENAL v NEWCASTLE, Tonight, Live Sky Sports 1 (KO 8.0)

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