Wenger fears Rovers 'rugby' match
Arsene Wenger is fully prepared for Arsenal to face another physical test at Blackburn on Saturday, but hopes it does not descend into "rugby". The Gunners - whom Wenger today revealed had completed the signing of experienced French defender Sebastien Squillaci from Sevilla - lost 2-1 at Ewood Park last May. Afterwards Wenger berated Rovers for showing "no purpose to play the ball" as they blocked keeper Lukasz Fabianski at every opportunity, and also blamed referee Martin Atkinson for not providing his team with more protection. While the Arsenal manager has no beef with Blackburn boss Sam Allardyce for looking to utilise a more direct approach, Wenger maintains there must be limits. "I believe everybody looks at his squad and tries to find a way where the game is most efficient and we developed one way. It is not the only way, I respect every other way as long as the referees get the rules respected," said Wenger. "I saw some pictures last Sunday; you cannot say any more it is football, it is rugby on the goalkeepers [more] than football. "The referees cannot go on and accept that. "When you see how [Stoke defender Ryan] Shawcross kicked [Tottenham goalkeeper Heurelho] Gomes, how [Robert] Huth pushed Gomes in the goal, you cannot say that is football any more. "If the referees allow that you cannot accept that because that has nothing to do with the game. "Apart from that, when a team play long ball and head the ball and become physical I accept that completely and I respect that - but it has to be in respect of the rules, that is all." Chris Foy is set to take charge of Saturday's televised lunchtime encounter. Wenger maintains the referees must uphold their first duty, to ensure player safety. "I believe that in some situations the goalkeepers are not protected," the Arsenal manager said. "You cannot have players whose main role is to stop the goalkeepers from catching the ball and not even go for the ball."
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