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Arsene Wenger has stitched me up, says United star Darren Fletcher

10 Nov 2009 08:49:30

Arsene Wenger has stitched me up, says United star Darren Fletcher

Darren Fletcher has accused Arsene Wenger of contributing to Manchester United's 1-0 defeat by Chelsea, claiming criticism by the Arsenal manager has made him a target for referees. Wenger accused United of playing 'anti-football' after Arsenal's 2-1 defeat at Old Trafford in August. And, although Wenger did not name Fletcher, the 25-year-old midfielder certainly feels the Arsenal manager was referring to him when he expressed his disbelief a 'certain player' had gone unpunished. Feeling hard done by: Darren Fletcher complains to referee Martin Atkinson during Sunday's defeat at Chelsea In Fletcher's opinion, those comments mean referees are more likely to give free-kicks against him and he suggested Martin Atkinson's decision to penalise his challenge on Ashley Cole, which led to Chelsea's goal, was a prime example. 'We are starting to see Mr Wenger's comments starting to influence referees, which is a shame really,' said Fletcher. 'I back-heeled the ball and Cole just jumps in the air and the ref gives a foul. It was clearly not a foul. I knew at the time and I've watched the replay.' For Chelsea, Cole's inclusion came at a heavy price after the full back aggravated a depressed fracture of the tibia which rules him out of England's friendly against Brazil in Qatar and makes him a doubt for the games against Wolves and former club Arsenal later this month. Cole missed three games after sustaining the injury in the 4-0 home win over Atletico Madrid last month. He returned to face Atletico in Spain last week but caused further damage against United on Sunday after needing an injection to play. Blame game: Fletcher believes that Arsene Wenger's comments earlier in the season have influenced referees Meanwhile, Chelsea skipper John Terry believes his team have struck a significant blow by following up their victory over Liverpool by beating another of the championship candidates. 'That's where we lost the title last season, as well as too many draws at home,' said Terry. 'I'm delighted we've played Liverpool and Man United and got the victories.Our home form is looking really good again. 'It was a great win away to Bolton (4-0) and the goals have been there. But there will be times this season when we need to grind out a result and we've done that.' Chelsea take on Wolves after the international break, before a crucial meeting with Arsenal. Terry is eager for another big scalp and feels if Chelsea can put more distance between themselves and the chasing pack, they have the experience to lead all the way to the end in May. He said: 'We come home from England, then we go to Wolves and then it's Arsenal. They are tough games and it's important to keep that five-point lead and try to increase it. Man United have got tough games coming up as well. With the way we're playing, it's important that we build up a good cushion. 'It's encouraging to know that the two times we won the League we did it from the front. We got ahead and we led all the way. We have that confidence in the back of our minds. That could be key for us and fingers crossed we can do the same this time. 'We don't just want to maintain the five-point gap, we want to increase that lead.' Terry insists Chelsea will not be complacent, but believes Liverpool are already too far off the pace to challenge and that the title race will be contested by Chelsea, United and free-scoring Arsenal. He added: 'Being honest, it's between the three of us. Liverpool have slipped away a bit and it's going to be difficult for them now. I'm still not ruling them out but the way the three of us are playing at the moment I think it will be between us.'  TERRY'S MEANIES LOOKING GOOD FOR THE TITLE It has been a record 11 home matches and 782 minutes since Chelsea conceded a goal at home and if they keep defending like John Terry and Branislav Ivanovic did against Wayne Rooney on Sunday (above), the title looks theirs to lose. Petr Cech has been beaten only once at home, by Stephen Hunt for Hull 28 minutes into the season. Carlo Ancelotti's side have the best defensive record in the division and, as our table on the right shows, the team with the meanest back line has won the title in seven seasons out of nine since 2000.  Rooney warned over '12th man' slur but Fergie is let off for Chelsea rantChelsea skipper Terry challenges title rivals, saying: Just try and stop usGRAHAM POLL: Brown fouled? Bent brought down? Stop bleating United and Co - it's NOT always the ref's faultArsenal star Thomas Vermaelen tells title rivals: Gunners are in it to win itMANCHESTER UNITED FC


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