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This time, COS reader Turner wishes the Big Four would get over themselves.
Not content on winding people up through interpretive dance, Thierry Henry moved onto the real thing against Wigan when, apparently irked by Chris Kirkland’s attempts to time waste, Henry grabbed the ball out of the net after Arsenal’s equaliser and held it up in front of England #3’s face,
“Kirkland started to waste time from the first minute,” said Henry.
“This is one of the games when I have run the most because I was trying to get the ball off him.
“When we scored I asked him if he wanted to waste any more time.
“It was just a joke, but it was a bit annoying.”
Boss Arsene Wenger came to Henry’s defense as well, adding time wasting to using physical strength and defending in numbers as things Premiership clubs should know they’re not allowed to do when they play Arsenal.
“Thierry was upset, but what he did, for me, was right,” said Wenger.
“People do not pay money to see people waste time, they come to see football.
“Okay, he should not have done that, but it is not the biggest insult we have seen in football.
“The time-wasting started in the first half – the goalkeeper kept crossing over his area to take kicks.”
Arsenal do of course play arguably the most attractive football in the league, and if every club attempted the same we’d have a more beautiful sport on our hands. But then again if every promoted side attempted to beat Arsenal at their own game they’d score would be in double digits by half time. So the Gunners could probably do themselves a favour if they’d just appreciate that there are other, arguably equally entertaining and effective, ways of playing the sport and stop preaching about perfect their own brand of football is.
It’s an affliction of most “Big” clubs, Mourinho complained that Tottenham “parked the bus” when they drew at home to Chelsea a couple seasons ago despite employing similar tactics in the Champions League while at Porto. Rafa Benitez made that nice “small club” comment about Everton after they battled for a point and of course any supporters whose club loses to Bolton usually take the time out to say how ugly their play is (it isn’t).
So please remember, Premiership clubs, football is about letting the more naturally talented players showcase their gifts freely every week, because what kind of sport allows smart tactics and honest endeavor as a path to overcome staggering differences in transfer budget and wages?