Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger: Referees protected 'like lions in the zoo'

Arsene Wenger said referees are protected "like lions in the zoo" as he claimed Manchester City had benefited from two offside goals in their 2-1 win over Arsenal on Sunday.

Arsenal surrendered a lead for the second time in a week as second-half goals from Leroy Sane and Raheem Sterling transformed a tight Premier League clash after Theo Walcott had struck early.

The Gunners' loss came on the back of a similar reverse at Everton and, as at Goodison Park, Wenger found fault with the officials.

Wenger said: "We conceded two offside goals, which is very difficult to accept in a game of that stature, but -- as it is well known -- the referees are protected very well like the lions in the zoo, so we have to live with those decisions."

Replays suggested Sane may have been marginally offside as he cancelled out Walcott's fifth-minute opener early in the second half while Wenger also thought David Silva interfered as Sterling struck his 71st-minute winner.

Asked to clarify his remarks concerning referee Martin Atkinson, Wenger said: "I want them to be very well protected, I want them to be safe, but if they could make the right decisions that would be even better.

"Safe and good decisions, even better. I do not want to make the referees the subject of the press conference. I just feel it's right that they are safe and protected but if on top of that they make the good decisions, even better.

"It's difficult to lose a game of that stature on two offside goals and I can understand City are very happy, I would be as well, but I think the goals are offside."