Arsène Wenger brought up perceived injustices from the past as he demanded "fair" conditions from the match officials in Arsenal's quest to make Champions League history against Bayern Munich here on Tuesday night.
Arsenal trail 2-0 from the last-16 first leg at the Emirates Stadium and no club have overturned anything greater than a one-goal deficit when playing away from home in Champions League knockout ties.
Wenger was bullish about Arsenal's chances as he drew on several factors, chief among them his team's performance here last season at the same stage of the competition. Having lost the first leg 3-1, they beat Bayern 2-0 – a tonic for morale, albeit one that did not avert an exit on away goals.
Wenger raised a slightly darker subject when he mentioned what he believes have been the trio of controversial red cards that have undermined Arsenal in the Champions League.
He was unhappy at the decision to dismiss the goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny for a foul on Bayern's Arjen Robben in the first leg three weeks ago and he also brought up the sendings-off for the goalkeeper Jens Lehmann in the 2006 final against Barcelona and the striker Robin van Persie against the same opponents in the last-16 second leg in 2011. Van Persie received a second yellow card for kicking the ball away, although he later claimed that he could not hear the whistle because of the crowd noise.
Uefa tends to frown on managers talking about the officials before a game but Wenger simply wants an error-free performance from the 35-year-old Norwegian referee Svein Oddvar Moen.
"We played now a few times with 10 men in Europe and under always very special circumstances," Wenger said, appearing to begin to say "suspicious" before checking himself to say "special". "In the Champions League final … now against Bayern and at Barcelona when we were in a position to qualify.
"It's the only time that I've seen that since I watched European football when Van Persie was sent off. So I hope we will get a fair chance to play with 11 against 11 until the end."
Wenger did not disagree that referees from the bigger European leagues, as opposed to Norway, might be better equipped to handle matches between the leading clubs.
"What you want is a good referee and I think the closer they are to the tough leagues, the more chances they have to detect the tricks that can decide a game," Wenger said. "But that's the same for Bayern. Sometimes when you come from a league that is less pacey ...
"I don't know the referee. Honestly, I never look before the game. I never have any preconceived ideas. Sometimes, when the referees have big experience, it helps them to get out of tricky situations. You do not want players to stay on the pitch who deserve to be sent off but you do not want the interest of the game to be killed for reasons that are a bit tricky."
Wenger reported that Kieran Gibbs was out with ankle trouble but that Laurent Koscielny was fit after a hamstring problem. Thomas Vermaelen is expected to deputise at left-back, with Nacho Monreal also injured. Wenger described the mission that confronts his players against possibly the best team in the world as a "possible task" and he refused to accept that the result was a foregone conclusion.
"We have won here before so we know we can do it," he said. "The statistics are against us but we have won 5-1 at Inter Milan [in 2003] and I would say we have won everywhere in Europe.
"One-nil to us makes the game or the result absolutely possible, so that is what we will try to do. We scored two goals in the last five minutes against Everton [on Saturday, in the FA Cup win] so we don't have to be nervous. We can be patient. Bayern have confidence because they are doing well but we have a great opportunity to do it. I am absolutely confident that, mentally, we will be ready to play at our best."