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Welbeck in diving storm as Arsenal advance

17 March 2018

Danny Welbeck's controversial penalty and a Gianluigi Donnarumma howler helped Arsenal beat AC Milan in the Europa League last 16 on Thursday 5-1 on aggregate, while Borussia Dortmund slumped to a shock exit at the hands of Salzburg.

Arsene Wenger's men lost Laurent Koscielny to injury early on, and then suffered a further setback when Hakan Calhanoglu scored a long-range belter on 35 minutes.

On the day he returned to the England squad, Welbeck was accused of a "blatant dive" by former Three Lions captains Alan Shearer and Gary Lineker.

Seven-time European champions Milan piled on the pressure in the second half, only for their hopes to be ended when Donnarumma allowed Granit Xhaka's speculative 71st-minute strike to slip through his grasp and bobble into the net.

The Emirates outfit are technically out of contention for a top four finish in the Premier League as they are in sixth position, eight points off Chelsea who are in fifth.

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Wenger, speaking about Welbeck's penalty decision, said: "When I watch the penalty, I will give you an honest answer". After that, Danny took the penalty in a convincing way, and I will watch it again and give my honest feeling about it.

"Every game he plays makes him stronger and that is very good for Danny, for his confidence, for the fact that he did fight very hard", added the Frenchman.

"I haven't seen it again", he said.

"We were in protective mode, subconsciously, and played a little bit with the handbrake from the start". I don't know. The Italian players were not happy with it - I can understand that because I don't really know what it was.

"It's always hard to finish the job, especially when you have a good away result because you don't know a little bit (what's going to happen) in between", Wenger said.

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"I don't want to talk about the referee". "We can't find any alibi or [blame] bad luck. If we get Atletico, we get Atletico".

The midfielder has enjoyed an extended run of games in the Gunners' side in recent months and was also outstanding in the win over AC Milan in the Europa League. "We just have to wait for tomorrow", he said.

Arsenal will await their fate in the last eight of the competition as the draw for the quarter-finals takes place on Friday afternoon.

"It shows how the team has responded".

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Welbeck in diving storm as Arsenal advance