West Brom manager Roberto Di Matteo hit out at Arsenal teenager Jack Wilshere for his part in Jerome Thomas' sending-off as Arsene Wenger's young Gunners moved into the fourth round of the Carling Cup with a 2-0 win at the Emirates Stadium.
Following a positive start against an Arsenal team whose average age was just over 20, the Coca-Cola Championship leaders were up against it when former Gunner Thomas - who twice won the FA Youth Cup while at Arsenal - was sent off in the 37th minute. Thomas was ordered off for a needless slap on Wilshere, while he was on the ground, after the pair clashed in a tackle.
"Thomas went to shake hands with Wilshere, he refused and Thomas reacted, so it was a red card," said Di Matteo. "But there was an exchange of words and there was a reaction. I am disappointed Wilshere did not accept his hand, of a fellow colleague, but that is part of the game."
Sanchez Watt went on to net the opener just after the hour, before substitute Carlos Vela added a tap-in after Mark Randall's clever chip came back off the bar.
Di Matteo maintained that until Thomas' dismissal his side had been in control.
"That was the turning point," he said. "I felt before Thomas got sent off, we were starting to get on top of them. We were just getting control of the game, and I thought we had a good chance to win tonight. But well done to Arsenal. They are very talented and congratulations to them."
Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger maintained he could not shed much light on the incident.
"My eyes are not great and my ears are even worse," quipped the Arsenal manager.
"Overall we played with patience, with cohesion and did not make big mistakes. In the end, the natural outcome was there."
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