Wigan duo hit back at Gunners
Al Habsi rejects cheat tag as Caldwell criticises Van Persie
Last Updated: April 18, 2012 9:13am
Ali Al Habsi: Adamant that he did not cheat against Arsenal
Ali Al Habsi has insisted he did not cheat against Arsenal after being criticised by Arsene Wenger, while Gary Caldwell has told the Gunners to show a bit of dignity.
The Latics caused a major upset in the Premier League on Monday night with a 2-1 victory at Emirates Stadium that significantly boosted their chances of avoiding relegation.
The damage was done by early goals from Franco Di Santo and Jordi Gomez, but Wenger was unhappy with Al Habsi's tactics throughout the match and accused him of wasting time.
Wenger said after the match: "I told the fourth official, 'you know what, he (Al Habsi) will do it all game, because he did it after 10 minutes, and with three minutes to go, he will get a yellow card'. That is exactly what happened.
"It is disrespectful to people who pay big money to watch the game.
"We are sorry we did not play well, but that the referees do not act on that is not right."
Control the game
While he was booked in the 90th minute by Andre Marriner, Al Habsi maintains that he was simply trying to help his team hang on for victory whilst playing to the rules.
"When I play football I do not cheat. I used a tactic to control and contain the game," he explained.
"It's normal when you play in big-pressure matches to control the game to take the pressure off your team.
"It's very important for me as a goalkeeper and my team-mates in defence to do this in order to help our side.
"The ref is there to see everything and if he's happy then so am I. I have to do it for my team."
The game ended on something of a sour note as Wigan skipper Caldwell clashed with Robin van Persie and the pair did not shake hands.
Caldwell can understand the frustration of losing but feels it is also important to show respect to opponents.
He said: "To be at a great club like Arsenal you have to be a bad loser.
"But you also have to have a bit of dignity. When they beat us 4-0 at our place I shook everybody's hand and I expect the same back."