You might have thought that Arsene Wenger would be delighted after Aston Villa lost to Newcastle on Monday night. After all, it means that the Gunners remain in the top four and remain on course for a Champions League place next season. Nevertheless, the Frenchman has had some stinging words for their opponents last Saturday, is the pressure getting to him?
The Times reports that the Arsenal manager has reacted furiously to critics of his team, claiming that their bravery isn’t open to question and that it’s Stoke City who should be taking a long hard look in the mirror. Wenger had originally appeared gracious after his team were defeated at the Britannia Stadium, although it’s clear that the resentment building up has finally been released!
“I tell you they are brave,” Wenger said of his players. “For me, you need to have more courage to play football when you know someone’s tackling you from behind without any intention to play the ball, with only one intention to hurt you and I can show you some tackles where I can prove what I say.
“The one who is tackling is not the brave one, for me the brave one is the one trying to play football.
“It happened at the weekend. Do you really feel that Delap tried to play the ball when he tackled Walcott or that Shawcross tried to play the ball when he tackled Adebayor off the pitch? All the players have been injured deliberately.
“To say that Walcott is not brave and the brave one is the player who tackles Walcott from behind – it’s just not true. It is something that I want to establish. The brave one is not the one who tackles from behind the player who tries to play football. That’s the coward.”
There were not many Arsenal fans who accused Stoke of dirty play, instead choosing to point the finger at the lack of spirit within their own ranks. Does Wenger make a valid point that the team trying to play football were unfairly punished on Saturday, or is this just a sign that the manager is getting a bit tense after a poor couple of results.