Arsene Wenger has apologised on behalf of Spanish playmaker Santi Cazorla, for what seemed to be an excessively theatrical dive in the penalty box. The former Villarreal forward appeared to have been fouled in the box by West Brom's Steven Reid, in the weekend's Premier League fixture, and was awarded a penalty by referee Mike Jones. However, replays showed no contact between the two players, leaving the Baggies' coach Steve Clarke fuming.
"No [I haven't reviewed it]. I am sorry if it was not a penalty but I have spoken to Santi and he said he has been touched and lost his balance. Maybe he made more of it, I don't know. But he told me just after I came to see you [the press], I asked him the question because I knew you would ask me the question," the Frenchman explained to the club's website, adding, "It's a difficult decision, it can go against you, it went for us today. That's what it is."
The long-serving Gunners manager also defended his team a little, by hinting their visitors on the day were perhaps more physical in their approach than absolutely necessary. He also praised his side for a good performance.
"They tried to stop us playing, they are physically strong and they played deep. But you could feel that we were ready for a fight and we knew we absolutely had to win this game. We did it and somewhere, with top-level sportsmen, when you have to win, you win. To deal with the nerves and be serious and resolute, that is what we have shown today," he concluded.
The Gunners scored from the spot, through Spanish midfielder Mikel Arteta and went on to win the match 2-0, recording a first home Premier League win since the 5-2 defeat of north London rivals Tottenham in early November.
The Cazorla incident follows similar allegations against Spurs' winger Gareth Bale, who was accused of diving in the White Hart Lane league game against Liverpool. The Reds themselves have had to fend off diving allegations surrounding star striker Luis Suarez, with the Uruguayan coming under particular attack from Stoke City boss Tony Pulis.