• Champions League

Szczesny could face UEFA action over gesture

ESPN staff
February 19, 2014
Did Arsenal face a triple punishment?

Wojciech Szczesny could face disciplinary action from UEFA after appearing to make an offensive gesture following his sending off in Arsenal's 2-0 defeat to Bayern Munich.

Arsenal goalkeeper Szczesny was shown a red card after bringing down Arjen Robben in the area to give away a penalty shortly before half-time.

However, as he left the field Szczesny was caught on camera making a hand gesture before heading into the tunnel.

A little too late

Wojiech Szczesny gave away a penalty and was sent off for this foul on Arjen Robben © Getty Images
  • Wojciech Szczesny would not have been sent off under rule changes proposed by UEFA.
  • President Michel Platini wants the International FA board to introduce a new rugby-style sin-bin where players who commit fouls in the box will leave the field for between 10 and 15 minutes, with the opposing team also awarded a penalty.
  • Platini said in December that he wants to "change the system of cautions". He argued: "The team they are facing would benefit in the same match and it would be instead of a sanction by cards which is carried out against a third team, the next on the calendar." Szczesny, however, will miss the second leg against Bayern. "It is an idea which needs now to be developed and to see if it is something that would be good for the game," added Platini.
  • Platini also argued that goalkeepers who concede a penalty should not be sent off. He said: "It seems excessive. The penalty is itself already punishment enough. I think it's something that everyone in FIFA and UEFA agree, but one or two of the countries that make up the International Board are unwilling to change."

Broadcasters Sky Sports apologised to their viewers for showing the "untoward gesture".

Despite the defeat, Per Mertesacker insisted Arsenal can still qualify for the quarter-finals - pointing to their 2-0 win at Bayern last year.

"It's a blow but when you look back at last year - we lost here 3-1 - it was a bit worse than now," Mertesacker told Sky Sports.

"We're looking forward to Munich and why can we not repeat that from last year?"

Mertesacker also admitted he and his teammates are "desperately" in need of a break after a tough run of fixtures.

Their defeat to Bayern came on the back of a 2-1 FA Cup win over Liverpool, following a 0-0 draw at home to Manchester United and a 5-1 defeat at Liverpool in the Premier League.

He said: "We've played four tough games in the last two weeks. Munich are a fantastic team, they play with possession very well.

"We tried everything today, especially in the first 10 minutes but overall we have to take the defeat with us to Munich."

Arsenal lost 3-1 at home to Munich at the same stage of the Champions League last season and narrowly missed the chance to overturn the deficit in the second leg, winning 2-0 but going out on away goals.

Mertesacker pointed out that such a result this season would give them a chance of progressing.

"The defeat is a blow but we have to remind ourselves of last year when we went to Munich," he said.

"It was a bit worse then than now, so we are looking forward to Munich and why can we not repeat that? Mentally we are stronger than last year."

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