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Rage Against the Obscene

There are two very, very frustrating media clichés that surround our football club in the modern era, both inextricably linked. The first is that we are somehow destroying the English game with our insistence on technically superior foreign players. The second is that "Arsenal don`t like it up 'em." The public in general being the imbeciles they are lap up both with Pavlovian quiescence. So when Arsene Wenger lost three players to injury at Stoke this Saturday following heavy tackles and had the temerity to complain about it, you just knew we were in for the extended radio edit of "Whingeing Wenger is a sore loser" followed by three verses of "the Gunners can`t handle the rough stuff."

Of course the statistics show that Arsenal finished the game on Saturday with an 85% tackle success rate and that we won more challenges than Stoke managed in the game. Statistics also show that Bacary Sagna, Emmanuel Adebayor and Theo Walcott all left the match on a stretcher, something which caused Wenger to become incandescent with rage in his Tuesday press conference,

'I read that my team were not brave.
'All I can say is they are brave and, for me, you need to have more courage to play football when you know that someone is tackling you from behind without any intention to play the ball.
'The only intention is to hurt you and I can show 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 player who is trying to play football.
'It happened at the weekend. Do you think 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."

The naysayers will dismiss this as idle whingeing, but he has a point doesn`t he? I am willing to accept that the tackle that took Sagna out of the game was an accident, in fact, I think the Stoke player got the ball and Banger fell awkwardly. Certainly no free kick was awarded. However, Delap quite deliberately kicked Walcott out of the game. Shawcross` challenge in particular was, as the manager points out, cowardly. The ball was already out of play when Shawcross raked his studs down the back of Adebayor`s calf. This was not sheer momentum; the ball had crossed the line before Shawcross committed to the tackle from behind, the injury was exacerbated by the fact that Ade was not braced for impact. Wenger is not wrong to point this out at all, he has not intimated that this is the reason we lost the game, and it wasn`t. As evidenced by Wenger`s contrite assessment in the immediate aftermath,

"Stoke played to their strengths better than we did and deserved to win."

But it is simply lacking in objectivity to suggest that Arsenal need to learn how to handle such roughhousing. The statistics showed we could do that in the parameters of the game (dealing with the long throw ins and showing imagination in the final third were things we demonstratably failed to do on Saturday). How can anyone legislate for being hacked down from behind and injured? It is not a case of being mentally or physically tough; one cannot circumnavigate such a tactic. It`s like asking a dead fish not to get eaten. The manager is also quite correct to dismiss the notion that raking your studs down the back of somebody`s achilles is somehow an example of brave, combative play,

'I am not ready to listen to things that are completely untrue and make people who are cowards, for me, look brave.'

However, while the manager`s comments were absolutely correct (both demonstratably and statistically), one must question his reasons for this splenetic outburst and whether those reasons are sound. (Although one might reasonably argue that van Persie`s challenge on Sorensen, whilst not career threatening, hardly screamed bravery). One could deduce that Wenger is playing a clever mind game. Firstly, with the visit of a United side to chez Emirates on Saturday in mind. Ferguson`s charges have hardly been shy of dishing out a bit of the old ultra violence in past encounters and the manager might just be planting a seed in the mind of the officials that Arsenal are typically targeted by sharpened studs and reared elbows. Le Boss could be hoping that this works on the referee on a subconscious level when the ever lovable Paul Scholes raises his studs in earnest, causing his opponent to hobble off gingerly. (Couldn`t resist).

He could also be exercising the old Mourinho trick of attracting the focus away from his diffident players and onto himself. Wenger knows how the press work in this country and he will be fully aware that his plea for sympathy will likely fall on unreceptive auricles. The team have come in for a hailstorm of criticism from all and sundry of late and the manager might just be deliberately tempting the flies away from the honey and towards the vinegar. However, there is one comment that troubles me slightly from his diatribe,

'We lost a game but we are six points behind the leaders, it is the start of November and we have plenty of quality to get it back. The same people who say we are not good, let them say it in three weeks when we are the best.'

When read at the end of the transcript, one shifts from the impression of a man looking to surreptitiously foster a siege mentality in his squad to a desperate man who is showing signs of pressure and strain. That comment sounds more like frustrated denial than exuberance or confidence and it shifts the perspective somewhat. It`s a pregnant promise that could well look very silly in three weeks time. How his press conference overall will be viewed by us, is probably not important. What is important is how his players view it. Will they see it as the arch protector showing a paternal belief in his band of child stars and draw strength from that? Or will they see it as a man displaying a father`s blindness and an unbecoming frustration that things simply are not going his way? As ever, mistress time will likely reveal all.LD.

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The Journalist

Writer: Tim Stillman Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Wednesday November 5 2008

Time: 12:31PM

Your Comments

Good stuff. Great title too! What's amusing is that when Wenger dishes it out himself so many find it difficult to take no matter how compelling the simple, uncomplicated logic is. If there are any mind games being played it is probably with the minds of the players rather than any officials. Maybe his claim is leaving a hostage to fortune but with 6 games in the next 3 weeks 5 of them at home starting with tonights game it's a calculated risk.
Unfortunately, on Saturday, I feel Rob Styles bought into the 'whinging Arsenal' game. Everytime time one of our player was brought down he seemed to look upon them with contempt rather than concern. I like the physical side of the game, and some of our players can be minges (Eboue/Adebayor), but some of their players got away with murder. On a different point, the clamping down on time wasting (or lack of it) really grips my s**t! Book em straight away, and they won't do it!!!!
Wenger is 100% right on that 1. Those fools who say we are scared or weak coz we are not physical are 100% wrong. The fools who play physical football and tackles instead of playing football are the true cowards and weaklings. Coz they CANT play football! And I like what he says, you judge for yourself in 3 weeks time. Maybe the prof have something up his sleeve.
Yeah Ros styles is a moron. He's has been doing it very consistantly agsint arsenal for some time now. I hate that idiot. Idiots like him who never been tackled from behind wont know it. hopefully he gets 1 tackle from behind and see for himself how nice it is.
It's a difficult one to call but I agree with Amos in that it's probably for the benefit of our players. When Alex Ferguson and Man Utd come out and say the same thing (about when Ronaldo is fouled), the media don't quite respond in the same way.
I see Pulis has come out and condemned Wenger for changing the comments he made directly after the game. "In London 48 hours later and 150 miles away from Stoke-on-Trent, Mr Wenger changed tack and has tried to rewrite history." Maybe Mr Pulis, Wenger has seen highlights and footage since the comments.
He actually hasn't changed his tack at all. He has not denied Stoke deserved to win in subsequent comments, nor has he posited the bad challenges as a reason for Stoke winning. He was asked about injury news for tonight's game and reported that some of his players were unavailable due to injuries obtained from Stoke players. As for Pulis trying to convince us he is some sort of scholar by quoting Abraham Lincoln, here's a quote for him from Neiztsche, "to forget one's purpose is the commonest form of stupidity."
Little Dutch
Or maybe, Mr Wenger was just responding to each question from different interviewers? "Do yothink Stoke deserved to win?" "Yes" "What are your thoughts on the injuries suffered at Stoke?" "I think they are a fuc*** disgrace". People think Arsene just blurts out random things all the time, but he is simply responding to questions asked. He answers them honestly ..... or in a way that is best suited for the team. We're never going to shake the tag of whingers, so we may aswell have at it ... lol
TO UNDERSTAND ARSENE'S COMMENTS YOU NEED TO HAVE LISTENED TO THE ENTIRE PRESS CONFERENCE (on the official site). As usual, the media and pundits and rival fans respond with total ignorance. At the press conference, reporters ask him about the Stoke game, which led to Arsene mentioning newspapers calling his players cowards. He repeatedly mentions the "newspapers" saying his players are not brave. He repeatedly uses the words "my players" in a passionate defense of attacks on their supposed bravery. He is angry at people calling his players cowards. IT IS THE MEDIA'S ATTACKS ON HIS PLAYERS' SUPPOSED "COWARDICE" THAT ARSENE IS ADDRESSING. He is NOT talking about why Arsenal lost to Stoke at all. And he is exactly right: Arsenal lost THREE players to serious injuries in one game, all left on a stretcher. The English football culture admires thuggery and bullying which values reckless or deliberate tackles from behind aimed at ankles and shins -- if they get the ball too that just means they can give the excuse "he got the ball." Yeah, you can get the ball and also aim deliberately at an opponent's ankle or shin to deliberately injure him. ARSENE IS ABSOLUTELY CORRECT. It is players who PLAY FOOTBALL knowing they're targeted for deliberate fouls aimed to injure them who are brave, not the talentless cowards who cynically foul them. LD, I think you put too much importance on AW's last comment on being the best in 3 weeks. I didn't interpret that comment the way you did. I think he was just pointing out the crazy knee-jerk swings in opinion when in one week you're the worst and the next week you're the best.
"in a passionate defense of attacks on their supposed bravery" -- I meant "in a passionate defense against attacks on their supposed cowardice"
I mentioned in another thread you can add Hleb - Villa, Clichy - Bolton, Eduardo - Brum, Diaby - Sunderland, Rosicky - Forgotten now, but the list goes on Reyes - Man Utd, then the 3 lads at Stoke. How many other teams have had so many serious injuries due to bad tackles and gamesmanship??? None come close, but because Arsenal don't like it up em, we are whinging foriegners. Which is rediculous. Find me a tough tackling English centreback who wouldn't of had a scream up after a tackle like the one Eduardo received??? There isn't one, oh that's right, because it was done by a un untalented english centreback!
The whole thing is ********* and anyone that doesn't agree with me is a knob head! LOL
Damned right, LG!! :-)
LOL not that I don't respect other people's opinions, but when it's as obvious and clear as this, damn them, damn them all!!!
The rabid dog foaming of the mouth has resided and all the furniture has been put back into the right places lol All is well in the world again!
Hleb got done at West Ham last year too. God knows how many times Henry got kicked, luckily he was just too quick for most!
LG, aw c'mon, I liked that rabid dog, bring him back out again! :-)
Jaelle You wind up merchant! lol It is appalling to think that teams are happy to get stuck into us and injure our better players/any players with impunity from refs, media and other fans. Hw would thoise fans like it if it was them getting 2-3 players each season maimed by untalented teams cloggers? (I feel a riot coming on!) lol
LG, I'm just sick of the double standards. If Ferguson had made those comments he wouldn't get the same kind of abuse AW is getting today. I'm sick of the hypocrisy of the punditry who encourage teams to kick us all over the park to beat us and then call us paranoid for complaining about teams constantly targeting our players for rough treatment. I agree with those gooners who say that our team right now needs to learn to give some of that treatment back (they learned some of that last season). But no team has had the number of serious, career-threatening injuries that we have had in the last 3 seasons. And Arsene--and we fans--are all just supposed to take it silently.
Spot on mate. I couldn't of summed it up any better myself!
When Ferguson complains (as he does frequently) over the treatment dished out to Ronaldo (alot of it unfair aswell) the press say he is "protecting" his player/s. When Wenger says it, he gets castigated! What gives? Does another top side have to get three or four career threatening injuries before something is done or will it always be open season on Arsenal?
We are the victims of the anti-foreigner sporting press IMO. Players getting stretchered off ought to say something FGS! Ade out for 3 weeks but because he's Togoan, the press ignores the obvious. If it'd happened to St John of Terry or St Stevie of G, the condemnations would be long and loud. We're still waiting on a striker to come back from a leg break!!! Wenger is absolutely right. We are sending our guys into war zones every week. We'll have no squad left at this rate. Damn these idiotic "physical" teams who can't play play football so dig into us instead. They shouldn't be in this league and I can't wait to see Stoke get relegated.
julieloveshenry4ever - So another tema of cloggers can take their place?
abso********lutely. I saw the whole press conference and never did Wenger deny Stoke's hard earned 3 pts. He did however react to the media allegations that AFC players are cowards, and probably that moron Sorensen's blast that we're "spineless". I guess the Dane liked it better when Hutton ran his studs 1.5 cm below his eye. A silly *****. I bet RvP is wondering whether he should have done the same to stay on the pitch since Hutton wasn't red carded.
Forgotten about that G4L, good point! He was quick enough to cry about being nearly blinded, so nearly crippled wouldn't bother him or how about a nearly broken leg?
Look at our recent record againt the likes of Bolton and Blackburn, Wenger has never lost to a lower division team of "cloggers", in our 2 previous defeats againt Hull and Fulham both teams out thought us. Its a media lie and a lie that IMO contributed to a foul so frightening SKY and the BBC both who talk of this "dont like it up em" myth refused to show. If Lehmann had rolled around like Sorensen he would have been slaughtered, When Beckham broke his metatarsal it was a dirty Argentine what did it? F*@k the media and uneducated fools like Tony Cascarino, he'll be the 1st 1 to bring up our red card count under Wenger the next time an Arsenal player gets sent off.....never happy but what do we care?
Ahh...has Wenger's strategy worked I ask myself?! Look at all of us Gooners, we're livid, and it's helping to galvanise us and created an us and them mentality around the Club for both players and fans. Maybe that was his plan all along :)
On a kind of similar note, did anyone see Stevie G's dive last night? Check this out, it quells any doubts we have about Saint Stevie G -
You have a point Gooner_Vin, the ire we were expressing at the team a couple of days ago is now being reflected onto the outisde world. Long may it continue. There should be a sign on the dressing room door saying 'THEY'RE ALL **** SO ***** EM!"
Little Dutch
'THEY'RE ALL **** SO ***** EM!" Thats my daily motto lol
When Pires did a similar thing he was condemned throughout his Arsenal Career.....The "pundits" even suggested the above WAS a clear penalty? Us and them! cmon Gooners!
St Stevie M would never dream of diving............Only the vicous, cheating, cowardly foriegners at Arsenal do that!
hahha excues aer out again for whinger ...oh my poor little boys kicked around place, Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has accused some of Stoke's players of deliberately trying to injure his players. ......dint he see rvp coward act on the keeper prob not, tryin to take pressure off hes players again, how long will ye put up with hes lame excuesses, but they are very funny to hear though
Haha, Coward act? No that would be the likes of English Stalwart Chris Morgan with his sly punch into RVP's ribs.
And all that whingeing and bullying and you have still ony managed to beat us once in 9 years? How does it feel getting b*@ch slapped on a regular basis by a bunch of pansies!?
123 spurs, that was a petulant act that didn't hurt anyone, unlike the series of career threatening injurioes we have had. No one bothers kicking your team coz they are sh**!
Adebayor Dive V Manchester United,, whats the diff guys cant eat all the pie
intent was there, he knew what he was doing, out of frustrating, if we are sh*it why could t ye beat us
thats exactly what it seems like ye are now a bunch of panzies u said it not me, iceman did ur ex ring u last wednesday nit need a shoulder to cry on, yer were def panzies that night, with all ur talk high hopes of beatin us an choked twice, dint hear from ya for days. but hthe genunie arse fans to come on an gave a fair reflection on game, iceman, ur just a glory hunter sing when ur winning an hybernate when things go wrong
ld i suppose ur right thinkin was more out of stupuity from him
123spurs - you really need to go to English classes in the evening because it is truly painful reading your posts and not because of what you actually say in them because that's largely worth ignoring.
123spurs - by the way, I am really confident that Man City are going to beat you on Sunday. If Bolton and Newcastle both win, you'll be 5 points behind at the bottom. Oh dear...
all ifs an but's if ye loose to man u an chelsea win 9 points off lead
sms vin sorry
glory hunter? I've had a season ticket for 15 years and have supported arsenal for 22 years. You only come here when were in a bad run of form, when were winning we don't get the benefit of your twisted logic and bad spelling.
G_V, excellent point. I was pretty negative for a few days and *****ed off at the players and manager, trying hard to just get past it all, ignoring the media and all of the worst of the blogs. But now AW's comments have refocused my attention and have made me drop all the negativity firmly and be proud to be a gooner again--and stand up to all the jerks out there who hate us and our manager. ARSENAL FOR LIFE!!!!!!!!!!!
its called sms kid, an often on here praising where credit is due. jaelle sorry but ur warped by wenger comments
123spurs sorry iceman got u mixed up with lucky10 really sorry mate
that comment was ment for lucky10 not you
no worries 123
wenger is wrong, andd his comments put your side in a bad light
Wenger is absolutely right - for those who take the trouble to hear what he actually said. As for being put in a bad light - with who exactly? And why should anyone here have the slightest care about that?
wenger is wrong, and his comments put your side in a bad light HuddersfieldYiddo - How many teams have had the most career ending injuries as we have had and mentioned earlier. There's plenty of them at Arsenal and not had a massive scream up about them?
I love the way HYs post makes no attempt to justify his point. A simple, "you're wrong." Why do I have this image of him closing his eyes and having his fingers in his ears?
Little Dutch
Least fouls committed in the Premiership this season? Arsenal with 107. Most fouled against team this season? Arsenal. Top of the Fair Play League this year? Oh, here it comes, yes, it's Arsenal. Least fouls per booking on average, I'll give you one guess. Which team needs to be fouled the most before a caution is awarded? Surely you can see where this is going. Everything Wenger says is backed up by fact, both visible and numerical. The only people who would consider that putting us in "a bad light" are the ones who are intent on doing that anyway.
Little Dutch
Why do I have this image of him closing his eyes and having his fingers in his ears? Little Dutch ------ Wouldn't you if you had to watch that shower every week LD?
Despite being a spur I agree some of the tackles were very hard (maybe a bit too much so specifically the Adebayor incident) but to suggest their players have gone into challenges with the intetion of injuring your team is inaccurate and over the line, you've got to remember the gulf in class doesn't just apply to free flowing one touch two touch passing football, these players were playing Championship football last season and tackle as such. Obviously this current situation constitues a crisis by his own high standards and the 'pressure' has led to him beeing a tad impulsive with his comments but he must understand such comments and his general refusal to accept critisism or transgressions from his own team is why the media have unfairly jumped on his back so readily. Nothing sells papers like a good crisis story, we know that better then anyone, but by now he should be savvy enough not to bite
You need to consider what was actually said and not what soundbite headlines suggested was said. No one claimed that the players deliberately set out with the intention of injuring a player. What was said was that the fouls were deliberate and intended to play the man and not the ball. That injury resulted was not the intention but it was always the risk. If a player deliberately sets out to play the man and not the ball he risks injuring a player. A reckless driver cannot claim after an accident that because he didn't mean to injure someone he crashes into his actions should be excused. An unfair tackle without an intention, or even a good chance of winning the ball' is reckless and endangers another player. It should be seen for what it is and not pardoned by mealy mouth excuses that a player isn't up to the job. He shouldn't then be doing it.
Firstly Wenger actually does accuse the Stoke players of deliberately injuring your guys - "'The only intention is to hurt you and I can show some tackles where I can prove what I say". Secondly I think your driving analogy is a good one, I completely agree an accident caused careless actions should not be excused but receive a more lenient punishment then injury caused intentionally, which is precisely what is being suggested here
Though I do agree my “championship tackling” defence was ill conceived, you win this round Amos
The English Press is a pack of rabid racists. Poor Juande Ramos (a proven winning manager) wilted under the onslaught of frankly disgusting headlines. What backbone Wenger must have to tough it out for 12 years. And Arsene should have reported Pardew for racially aggravated language two years ago, IMO.

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