MANCHESTER, England (Reuters) - Arsene Wenger says it will be “difficult” for any team to stop Manchester City from winning the Premier League after his Arsenal side lost 3-1 at the Etihad on Sunday - a result which left him fuming at referee Michael Oliver.
Wenger said City’s quality, shown in their club record 15 straight wins in all competitions, makes it hard to imagine any team over-taking them but he also took aim at the officials after his team suffered a disputed penalty and a goal which appeared offside.
The win gave City an eight-point lead over Manchester United ahead of their game at Chelsea later on Sunday and left them 12 points clear of the Gunners.
“Can anyone stop them? It will be difficult this season, the way they have started the quality they have, but you never know. If, on top of that, they have decisions at home like that, they will be unstoppable,” Wenger told reporters.
City went 2-0 up five minutes into the second half after referee Oliver ruled that Nacho Monreal had bundled over Raheem Sterling inside the area and Sergio Aguero converted from the spot.
Arsenal players disputed that decision and were also upset that City’s third goal came after a pass from David Silva whom television replays showed was narrowly in an offside position.
“I don’t want to take anything away from the quality but it happened at a moment when we were really in the game at 2-1 and it killed the game. It is the second year. We got two offside goals here last year and one this year,” Wenger added.
The Frenchman felt his team had created opportunities and were in the contest until the controversial third goal.
“I felt it was an intense game of quality of both sides. Man City are on a high but I felt we had plenty of dangerous situations and chances,” he said.
“Overall, once again, the referee made the decision again, with a penalty and an offside goal. We are used to it when we come here,” he said.
“I feel they (referees) don’t work enough, because it happens every season. It is unacceptable”.
Reporting by Simon Evans, editing by Ed Osmond