Arsene Wenger is a man with the finest footballing principles and his cerebral approach to management is often lauded as an asset to Arsenal, but it seems that almost every week in the Premier League season he is moaning about their opposition’s style. First it was Stoke, then Bolton and his latest criticism about tackling in English football lends itself to suggest – someone should tell the Frenchman it’s all getting a bit tedious.
In his programme notes prior to the game against SC Braga, Wenger said: “I have seen the challenge on Abou Diaby again, and it should have been a straight red card.
“My regret is that video evidence cannot be used in these cases afterwards. I can understand that the ref did not see it, because he was in a bad position, but frankly the Premier League should be in a position whether they can suspend players who do this kind of thing. Diaby is now out for a few weeks, but it could have been a lot worse, as he couldn’t walk afterwards.” But his moans are hardly justified.
For surely a full blooded challenge is equally as beautiful in the modern game as a sweeping attacking move?
It is of course a dying art but one lone voice complaining about it should not obscure the splendour of it and perhaps Harry Redknapp is right to condemn Wenger’s comments. His North London counterpart said he was glad Wenger was not managing “in the 60’s” whilst rightly pointing out that it was not long ago some of Arsenal’s players were not shy of a few cards.
“Arsenal, a few years ago: Tony Adams, (Martin) Keown, (Steve) Bould, (Nigel) Winterburn, Lee Dixon, (Patrick) Vieira, (Emmanuel) Petit. That was a very strong, aggressive team – a fantastic team.
“They were great competitors; they had their share of cards, the same as everybody.”
Whilst Wenger’s notion about tackles being overly aggressive is correct, football must remain a contact sport and referees are already coming down hard enough on players for challenges without Wenger trying to influence them because of a couple of injuries to key players. Perhaps it is also conceivable he crafts his belief to obscure the fact he does not have enough bite in his midfield since the exit of Patrick Vieira in order to fight fire with fire against the likes of Stoke, Bolton and Blackburn. It was recently revealed Arsenal are the lightest team in the Premier League and despite Abou Diaby and Alex Song in the midfield, they may still be missing someone of Vieria’s ilk so that there flaws are not so exposed.
There are many peripheral questions but there is no doubt that if the odds continue to stack against Arsenal’s chances of securing a trophy, Wenger will continue to bemoan his luck.
The art of tackling: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YPA9H2TVkZQ