Arsene Wenger has told BeIN Sports that Aston Villa were wrong to stop playing as Matuesz Klich scored for Leeds United during Sunday’s controversial clash – and has praised Marcelo Bielsa.
Klich played on and curled the ball into the back of the net to break the deadlock at Elland Road. Mass drama ensued, including a red card being shown to Anwar El Ghazi.
Bielsa ordered his Leeds side to allow Villa to score, and although Pontus Jansson did not get the memo, Albert Adomah tapped home. The game finished 1-1.
Arsenal and Premier League legend Wenger commented on the incident at Elland Road, and had enormous praise for Bielsa. But the Frenchman – currently out of work – stated that Aston Villa were wrong to stop playing.
“I would like to say thank you to the manager of Leeds, Marcelo Bielsa,” Wenger said. “He asked his players to let the goal in – it’s a remarkable gesture. They’re playing to come up to the Premier League, it is something at stake.
“The second thing is, that it is a reminder of the rules. The players should not stop. If there is no head injury, only the referee can stop the game. Aston Villa should not have stopped. Leeds took advantage.
“It’s remarkable from Bielsa.”
Wenger is bang on. Villa’s players look as though they have stopped in order to force Tyler Roberts to kick the ball out of play. But Roberts was well within his rights to carry on, as was Klich.
The instance itself, Kodjia is looking to foul Cooper rather than win the ball, while Klich is completely unbeknown to the fact that the Ivory Coast international went down. Villa’s reaction to the incident was remarkable.
But Wenger is right. Bielsa deserves praise for allowing Villa to score in such a high-profile occasion, while Villa should be reminded to play to the whistle.