Are Wenger’s comments justified or are they a smack of desperation?

Football FanCast
columnist
Rob Facey asks if Arsene Wenger's latest comments are
justified, or whether the Frenchman is getting desperate in explaining his
side's poor displays?

Arsene Wenger risks an inquest from the FA after suggesting
that Stoke City intended to injure his players on Saturday.

Strikers Emmanuel Adebayor and Theo Walcott were carried off
after sustaining injuries; a damaged Achilles and a shoulder strain
respectively.

After the game Wenger saluted Tony Pulis's men through
gritted teeth but the FA is now going to look at additional comments made,
where the Frenchman calls Stoke's players "cowards" and tackling "without any
intention to play the ball".

"All
the players have been injured deliberately,"
Wenger said, as reported in The Times.

"The brave
one is not the one who tackles from behind the player who tries to play
football. That is the coward."

"You need
to have more courage to play when you know that someone is tackling you from
behind without any intention to play the ball. The only intention is to hurt
you.

"If
Walcott is in front of you, do you think I'm stupid, I know he is three times
quicker than I am and I still tackle him from behind. Do you really think I try
to play the ball?"

Were Stoke cynical in their challenges, or is
Wenger clutching at straws to explain his sides poor display?

Claiming that your players are being purposefully injured by
other professionals is a serious one, and the FA will most likely charge him
for bringing the game into disrepute, but is this simply a ready made excuse
for Wenger who has now witnessed his side suffer three defeats in 11 games this
season?

After Eduardo da Silva last season and Abou Diaby a few
seasons back, does Wenger have a point?

So, are Arsenal stars being targeted or are they simply
unlucky?

After van Persie's display of petulance and frustration
earned him a red card, should Wenger not be asking questions of his own team
rather than pointing the finger of blame at others?

Does he seriously think there is a conspiracy to injure his
key players?

It was, after all, a poor defensive display and another poor
showing from Almunia that cost them three points, not the fact that Stoke
occasionally fouled.

This is, remember, the same manager who complained that the
wind in the stadium was unplayable, even though Arsenal are the team most
opposed to lumping the ball down the field, instead preferring to keep it on
the deck, in other words, away from the wind.

To me, Wenger is getting desperate and this latest outburst
blaming other teams for his side's inability to cope with certain opponents is
just the latest excuse for a team in trouble.

No leadership on the pitch, no matter how talented the
players, will always mean that in times when the side are under pressure there
is nobody to look up to.

And, if the manager would rather call the other team cowards
than accept this could be down to failings in his own team, then it is not
surprising Arsenal find themselves off the pace in the Premier League.