Arsenal’s 2-1 defeat to Portuguese title winners Porto in the Champions League last week is not something Arsene Wenger should be overly worried about. An away goal scored by the evergreen Sol Campbell should give them enough for the return leg at the Emirates to sweep Porto aside and gain a place in the quarter final draw. The game was overshadowed by some comical goalkeeping from Lukasz Fabianski and a rather shocking refereeing decision for Porto’s second goal. Yet post match, Wenger can border on the ridiculous with his comments.
Wenger’s outcry over referee Martin Hansson’s decision to allow Porto not only to have the free kick for a Sol Campbell back pass was with justification. But the speed in which it was allowed to be taken seemed harsh. I think Wenger was completely right in his assessment that the official was wrong and had a bad game. Wenger said in a press conference ‘It’s not my job to judge is he good enough or not, I just feel in that game he has shown he is not competent. He has made at least five mistakes. I believe he is not competent or not honest. I prefer not competent.’
It’s been a rough few months for Swedish referee Martin Hansson, having taken charge of the France vs. Ireland 2nd leg World Cup playoff; he managed to miss the infamous Thierry Henry double handball incident. Whilst he has looked out of his depth recently Wenger’s call of incompetence and that he should be stripped of his European credentials is typical stubborn and hypocritical Wenger. Upon Fabianski’s ‘incompetence’ between the sticks on Wednesday night we did not hear an utterance of condemnation for the under fire Polish keeper. Wenger came out in support of the Arsenal keeper in the post match interview saying ‘He will be a great goalkeeper. He had an unlucky night. Every goalkeeper who had a great career has had a night like that.”We have to show support to him and solidarity.’
Fair enough the Arsenal manager is going to stick up for his player, but how can you label support for one incompetency and outright condemnation for another? Referee’s have a tough enough job as it is and whilst I agree with Wenger in terms of the referee made some poor decisions, his lambasting for incompetence looked childish in comparison to his outright defence of Fabianski. Wenger’s continually denials of ever seeing any incident where an Arsenal player may have committed a bad challenge or a dubious penalty shout against the Gunner’s is rather pathetic. Especially upon seeing his manic stomping around the touchline when decisions don’t go his way and the post match conferences where he chastises referee’s missing things for his team.
Paranoia seems to have taken a hold of the Arsenal manger in recent weeks also. His humbling by Manchester United and Chelsea was not taken well by himself. He claimed only last month that the English press had ‘double standards’ and suggested they were out to get Arsenal. I have much respect for Arsene Wenger and his young Arsenal side. He is the best man for the job at the Emirates there is no doubt about that. Yet he is stubborn, I have said before that Arsene Wenger’s stubbornness let his side down over January when the introduction of a new striker was not taken. It’s probably going to cost them the title. With it looking like five years without a trophy at Arsenal, maybe it’s time to fine tune the model. Wenger is clinging onto a dream of building a young side with a philosophy and a club brand of attractive football. We should all praise him for such ideals. Wenger doesn’t need to totally throw such an ideal away, just maybe allow the purchase of two top class players. A world class goal scorer and a midfield general and Arsenal will definitely be worth a punt next season. Yet his stubbornness will prevail. It’s not only going to cost them trophies, but its increasingly looking likely club Captain Cesc Fabregas as well.
Do you think Arsene Wenger is stubborn? Should he finally think about adapting his model?
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