Arsenal Boss Not Pleased With West Ham Or Romanian Clubs

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Arsene Wenger is today launching what the Daily Mail calls a “crusade to purify football” and the Frenchman is calling for “zero tolerance” in reckless tackles. Wenger, who clearly thinks his team consists of players who are a combination of Mahatma Gandhi and St Francis of Assisi, arrived in Romania yesterday for a potentially tough tie
against Steaua Bucharest. Reading Arsene’s description of Steaua Bucharest you would think that Arsenal are traveling to Transylvania – we hope Arsene’s little kiddies don’t get nightmares. Arsene said:

“It’s always a strange atmosphere there. It is darker and less glamorous, and you don’t feel on a high. They are always good teams who are up for it against Arsenal. It is a different kind of test. Can you raise your level in a less exciting environment?”

Arsene then turned his attention to the West Ham – Arsenal game. After pointing out his exhibit A – Alexander Hleb’s badly bruised leg, Wenger went on to claim that West Ham’s Mark Noble should have been sent off. The Arsenal Manager thinks that referees should be able to ‘upgrade’ yellow cards to red ones after analyzing post match evidence. Wenger said:

“I have seen it again and it was a straight red for Noble, without a doubt. I can understand the referee could not see it, because you could only see it well from one angle on television. But that angle is really bad for Noble.There is no excuse. I expect physical games but there’s a difference between physicality and bad challenges. That was more intimidation than physical.”

Wenger stopped short of saying that Alan Curbishley ordered Mark Noble’s horror tackle, and then gave an assessment of their playing style (which would surely be much more harsh if he was talking about Blackburn Rovers). Wenger said:

“I’m sure Alan Curbishley as West Ham manager has not demanded a bad tackle on anybody. Overall West Ham play football. But Noble is a young player who wants to gain his place. Sometimes the young can be confused between committed and overboard.’I don’t mind physical games. I understand there are teams a little less technically gifted than Arsenal and more physical and direct. That is normal; we have to face that. But you have to keep that under control and make sure it does not harm the career of the player. The only good thing to come out of it is that Hleb has a solid knee.”

Only last week, Liverpool manager Rafa Benitez lashed out at the violent fouls apparently targeted at his boy, Fernando Torres. Now Wenger, perhaps forgetting the red cards his teams used to rack up, is asking for more protection. When asked about this violent past, like an ex-con in denial Arsene said:

“Sometimes I was embarrassed when we did not behave well.But I was not embarrassed when I felt the player, after much provocation, responded overboard. There was Patrick Vieira, when he was really a young lion, being intimidated and he was annoyed because he got tackled five times from behind. I can understand this. But when we didn’t behave well it was disappointing.”

Ahh the old Vieira was provoked defence, we’ve missed that one!