Julian Harris
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Arsenal boss Wenger accuses Dyer of diving for penalty after defeat to Swansea in five-goal thriller deals his side’s hopes of catching Spurs and Chelsea a major blow

FURIOUS Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger last night accused Swansea winger Nathan Dyer of diving to win a key penalty, after his side spurned a chance to cut the gap on their London rivals in the race for the top four.

Wenger (inset) also conceded that poor defending and a series of “unbelievable” missed chances were to blame for their seventh Premier League loss of the season, which leaves them four points behind Chelsea and 10 behind Tottenham.

Second-half goals from Nathan Dyer and Danny Graham earned the win for the impressive top-flight newcomers, despite the Gunners taking an early through Robin van Persie.

Theo Walcott also scored for the visitors, yet it was Swansea’s first half equaliser from the penalty spot, awarded for an Aaron Ramsey tackle on Dyer, which provoked a bitter reaction from the Arsenal manager.

“It was decided by some strange decisions,” Wenger said. “The first one is the referee who gave the penalty that was a complete imagination and was a good dive – well done to the player who did it.”

The loss was Arsenal’s second league defeat in a row, with Wenger comparing their frailties with those in the previous capitulation.

“It looked similar to me to Fulham. Our defensive performance was not good enough, and that’s why we lost,” he added. “We missed some unbelievable chances that are very difficult to understand and explain.”

The defeat seemed all the stranger after Arsenal made a superb start, a through-ball from Andrey Arshavin freeing Robin van Persie, who finished confidently with his weaker right foot in the fifth minute.

Swansea fought back and on 16 minutes were granted what appeared to be a generous penalty for Ramsey’s challenge, and Scott Sinclair buried his fourth of the league season from the spot to equalise.

Ramsey’s evening got worse 12 minutes into the second half when Joe Allen robbed the ex-Cardiff midfielder – booed throughout by Swans fans – and fed the ball to Dyer, who blasted past Wojciech Szczesny.

Swansea appeared to be in control of the game, yet on 69 minutes Walcott scampered onto a through-ball from Johan Djourou, and finished well, dinking the ball over goalkeeper Michel Vorm.

But within a minute Arsenal were behind again. Striker Graham outpaced Laurent Koscielny to slot home, and the Gunners could not respond, despite throwing on record goalscorer Thierry Henry.