Paul Scholes’ interviews are generally not considered to be among the more interesting of news items. Having spent the whole of his 17 year career at Old Trafford under the stewardship of Sir Alex Ferguson, you were never likely to hear any slip-ups, any faux pas, anything that would or could be splashed across the front or back page of a newspaper. However giving his first interview since retiring, it would appear that the shackles have very much come loose from the off-the-field persona of the former Manchester United midfielder, and he let loose with a feral attack on his London rivals.
The comments that have been picked up most strongly in the press are those directed at Arsenal, particularly what seems to be an attack on Arsene Wenger’s style of play. He was quoted as saying, “What’s the point, if you’re not winning anything?” when asked about the general acceptance that Arsenal are the best footballing side in the Premier League, and that he was. “irritated,” by that perception. He went on to say that he would be, “surprised,” if his Manchester United team ever went six years without a trophy, a dig at the Emirates’ Trophy Cabinet which has been kept vacuum-sealed for over half a decade. All-in-all, it was an astonishing performance from the supposedly mild-mannered Scholes.
Scholes made several references to Barcelona in his ‘unhinged’ account, pushing the boundaries of what can be feasibly written down by stating that the Catalan giants were, “the benchmark,” that United have to reach and surpass. Steady on, Scholesy.
But have these comments received the response they warrant?
It seems perhaps there has been a massive over-reaction to the interview. And the tragic thing? Arsenal fans know that what he is saying is 100% true.
As a football fan, you have to feel sorry for what is going on at the Emirates. What began as an all-out assault on the Carling Cup in August ended in heartbreak at Wembley in February. BUT they still had the Champions League to console themselves with. And then the referee did them over, Van Persie went and it was all over at the Nou Camp. BUT they still had the Premier League to fight for. And then they proceeded to win only 2 of their last 10 matches, drawing 5 and losing 3, to leave them hanging in 4th in the League. A positive implosion.
You can’t help but pity the fans. The only real shocking thing about what Scholes said was the fact that it was Scholes who was saying it. Arsenal forums are full of blunt agreement with the ex-United player, another low point following a season that promised so much.
Scholes even had the cheek to tap-up Samir Nasri to top it all off. When asked if he thought the Frenchman was heading North to Manchester, he replied, “I hope so.”
All things considered, this was just a standard case of kicking a team while they’re down. To Arsenal fans, it must simply be a case of the obvious being pointed out again and again, only it’s getting louder and louder every day. And as the summer hurtles away and we get back to the nitty gritty of the Premier League, it will be interesting to see how (or if) Arsene Wenger manages to shout down the doubters. Good luck to him, because these fans certainly deserve more.