Arsène Wenger on Monday pleaded with the Norwegian referee, Svein Oddvar Moen, in charge of the game against Bayern Munich to give his side "a fair chance to play with 11 against 11 until the end". The Arsenal manager also indicated that Scandinavian referees may not be ideally suited for big Champions League games, saying: "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."
However, it turns out that Bayern may have more to fear when it comes to the officials on Tuesday night at the Allianz Arena, certainly if the Shakhtar Donetsk manager Mircea Lucescu is to be believed. In 2010, the Romanian hit out at Moen after Shakhtar lost 5-1 to Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium. "If English teams are refereed by Scandinavian officials it is natural, as part of the same Anglo-Saxon culture, for them to side with the Brits. Some of them have even studied in England.
"We will never get the same help from referees in Europe as the big clubs. If we take the game [at the Emirates], it is not surprising that so few noticed the gifts given to Arsenal by the referee. First he allowed a goal to stand from a clear offside position and then he gave a penalty even though the two players collided," he said.
Moen, when confronted by the criticism, said: "He [Lucescu] will have to stand for that, more than that I cannot say. I can categorically deny that [there is a weakness towards English teams]. We don't have anything more in relation to English culture than Ukrainian or German culture for that matter. We are there to do a job."