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Wenger to chat Cazorla over dive

LONDON, England, December 9 – Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has confirmed he will review his side’s opening penalty in the 2-0 win against West Bromwich Albion and speak to Santi Cazorla if he believes the Spaniard dived.

Cazorla went over in the 26th minute at the Emirates Stadium on Saturday despite replays suggesting he was not touched by Steven Reid.

Mikel Arteta scored from the spot and added a second penalty after half-time when Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain was tripped by Chris Brunt.

Wenger, when asked if he will speak to Cazorla after watching replays, said: “Of course. I will look at it, don’t worry.”

Wenger admitted Arsenal were fortunate to get their first penalty, with the game looking even until referee Mike Jones awarded the spot-kick.

“We were a bit lucky maybe on the first penalty because he could have given it or not given it,” he said.

“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.

“It’s a difficult decision — it can go against you, (but) it went for us in this game.

“That’s what it is. What I mean is, when he (a player) is touched, he goes down, the referee can give or not give the penalty.”

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Jack Wilshere was the star performer for Wenger, who said: “He is getting closer to the player we know he is and in this game, I think he made a big step.

“You could see it already this week in training, that he has gained a little burst again, a little zip in the first three or four yards.

“That’s what you have to accept in football, you have sometimes to be patient. He can only gain it by playing but of course in the first games you cannot be at that level.”

Wilshere was at the heart of Arsenal’s best attacks but victory was not sealed until the 64th minute when Oxlade-Chamberlain was brought down by Brunt.

However, West Brom felt there was a foul in the build-up and they were also angry at being denied a first-half penalty when Arsenal defender Per Mertesacker appeared to handle the ball.

West Brom manager Steve Clarke said: “Goran Popov was fouled in the lead up to it (the second penalty) and for some reason the referee, who gave soft free-kicks all afternoon, decided not to give that one.

“There was also a penalty for us for a Per Mertesacker handball, but he gave a free-kick the other way. It was the easy way out when you come to a big stadium and the crowd are on your back.”

Clarke felt the opening penalty was clearly an incorrect decision.

“There was clear daylight between Steven Reid and Santi Cazorla,” he said.

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“There was zero contact — it wasn’t even close. I’m not sure what the referee saw. It was a bad decision for us and obviously changed the shape of the afternoon.

“It could have been a nervous afternoon for Arsenal. At 0-0 they hadn’t created too much.”

Arsenal’s victory took them up to sixth position in the Premier League table, two points below fifth-place West Brom.

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