Harry Redknapp has accused Samir Nasri of diving to win the penalty that decisively turned last night's Carling Cup tie in Arsenal's favour.
Nasri put his side 2-1 up in the second minute of extra time, en route to a 4-1 win, by converting a spotkick awarded after he fell following a tug on his shirt by Tottenham's Sébastien Bassong. Four minutes later he scored another penalty after Steven Caulker brought down Marouane Chamakh.
"I thought the first one was harsh," said Redknapp, the Tottenham manager. "He fell over. Really I think he's dived for the first penalty. The second penalty was a blatant one. He's pulled him." Unsurprisingly, his opposite number, Arsène Wenger, disagreed: "In my opinion there were two penalties."
Redknapp, who deployed an experimental line-up, was "a bit" surprised by the strength of the team fielded by Wenger, who in the past has used this competition to blood rookies. Explaining his decision to start with regular first-teamers such as Nasri, Tomas Rosicky and Laurent Koscielny, Wenger said: "We got a few reproaches that we didn't take the competition seriously. Also it was a derby. And to go out straight away would not be good for us. We have momentum and we didn't want to disrupt it." Asked whether he will persist with this policy, he said: "It depends on injuries. If everybody is fit I can go as well for this competition but I maintain the two competitions that really count are the Champions League and the championship."
The brightest feature of the evening for Wenger was the performance of the 18-year-old England midfielder Jack Wilshere. "He was outstanding," said Wenger. "I'm a bit cautious with him because you don't want him to get too much praise too early but in the first half he showed everything you want from a footballer. He played, tackled, took stick, his position on the pitch was always good. He is fearless."
The only blemish on a satisfactory night for Wenger was the injury sustained by Kieran Gibbs. The left-back had to be substituted in extra time with what his manager believes is a broken metatarsal. A similar injury forced the 20-year-old, who made his debut for England in August, to miss the bulk of last season.
"It is a metatarsal again," said Wenger. "It is the one next to the one he had broken, the second one, so we hope we have good news in the morning, because that would be a massive blow to us."