The Frenchman feels that his side have been punished by poor officiating in crucial Champions League ties in the past but is optimistic that they can turn around a 2-0 deficit
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger hopes for “a fair chance” from Tuesday’s referee to avoid any controversial red cards against Bayern Munich, the likes of which he feels have dogged his side in Champions League campaigns previously.
The Gunners are 2-0 down going into the second leg of their last-16 tie, having had goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny sent off at the Emirates Stadium.
Svein Oddvar Moen, a Norwegian official, will take charge of Tuesday’s match and the Frenchman supports the notion, most recently put forward by Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini, that the bigger games should be refereed by those from Europe’s elite leagues.
“We played now a few times with 10 men in Europe and under always very special circumstances,” Wenger told reporters of past European encounters. “In the Champions League final … now against Bayern and at Barcelona when we were in a position to qualify [in 2011].
“It’s the only time that I’ve seen that since I watched European football when [Robin] van Persie was sent off [against Barca] so I hope we will get a fair chance to play with 11 against 11 until the end.
“What you want is a good referee and, I think, the closer they are to the tough leagues, the more chances they have to detect the tricks that can decide a game but that’s the same for Bayern. Sometimes when you come from a league that is less pacey…
“I don’t know the referee. Honestly, I never look before the game. I never have any preconceived ideas.
“Sometimes, when the referees have big experience, it helps them to get out of tricky situations. You do not want players to stay on the pitch who deserve to be sent off but you do not want the interest of the game to be killed for reasons that are a bit tricky.”
Though his side face an uphill battle to reach the quarter-finals against a Bayern side who have dominated the Bundesliga this season, Wenger remains optimistic of getting the right result.
“We have won here before so we know we can do it,” he bullishly declared. “The statistics are against us but we have won 5-1 at Inter [in 2003] and I would say we have won everywhere in Europe.
“One-nil to us makes the game or the result absolutely possible so that is what we will try to do. We scored two goals in the last five minutes against Everton [on Saturday] so we don’t have to be nervous. We can be patient.
“Bayern have confidence because they are doing well but we have a great opportunity to do it. I am absolutely confident that, mentally, we will be ready to play at our best.”