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Who’s Speaking The Truth – Wenger or Fergie?

Ferguson WengerArsenal moved back to top of the table yesterday after beating Everton 4-1, a scoreline which flatters the Gunners. Wenger’s men went a goal down, but fought back to get the three points. Replays show that the crucial goal which put Arsenal in the lead, deflating Moyes’ players, was handled by Eduardo before it found the back of the net. Arsenal went down to ten men after Bendtner was shown a second yellow for a challenge which was arguably worthy of a straight red. As the game progressed, Everton’s Arteta was sent off as Fabregas writhed around on the ground in agony, after Arteta’s elbow made contact with the young Spaniard’s face. This isn’t the first time boy wonder has made a meal out of nothing in attempting to get a player sent off, probably learning from Mr VaVaVoom.

After the match Moyes laid in to Wenger’s men, saying “I don’t make the rules, it was probably the wrong decision by the referee to show a yellow for (Bendtner’s) tackle, it should have been a straight red.” He then commented on Fabregas’ broken bones. “Fabregas obviously has a broken jaw or he would not have rolled around like he did.”

Audaciously, Wenger responded to the situation, saying, “I do not think Fabregas made more of it than it was.” Really? Mr ‘I Didn’t See It’ thinks that the contact on Fabregas warranted him rolling around on the ground, feigning agony? Honestly?

Another manager who I think might be telling a few porkies this week is Sir Alex Ferguson, who alludes to the fact it is now Arsenal who have the best chance of winning the title. “I always feel if you reach New Year on top you have a massive chance,” said Ferguson. “We still have a great chance but obviously it was disappointing to lose the way we did.” I completely understand why he says what he has, a verbal kick up the arse for our players who just didn’t show up at Upton Park yesterday, but I don’t quite believe him. In the same way players, particularly at Arsenal and United, keep insisting it’s still a “four horse race”, or in the same way Jose Mourinho was insistent that all the pressure was on us last season, not him, it sounds as though Ferguson is saying what he is expected to say, and what he thinks he will aid United’s title challenge. Does he really believe that Arsenal have a better chance of winning the league because they’re starting 2008 two points ahead of us? I don’t think so.

Roll on Tuesday, when hopefully our players can ‘prove Ferguson wrong’ and show that we’re the team with the best chance of retaining our title!

About Scott

Scott is the editor of Red Matters - 50 Years of Supporting Manchester United and an author of Play Like Fergie's Boys and Not Nineteen Forever. He writes for ESPN, The Metro and Bleacher Report. Follow @R_o_M on Twitter.

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  1. spike says:

    Blimey! You’ve got a brass neck on you fella! I mean having a pop at cesc for feigning injury when you have in your team THE number one exponent of the dying swan act! You know who I’m talking about!

    As for Fergie’s comments that Arsenal have a great chance of winning the league now, well its just true really, as they are top now and thats who generally wins the league, but its anyone’s really, United or ~Arsenal!

    Givien the amount spent by United in the summer, it would be unbeleivable if they blew the league really.

  2. Best7 says:

    After spending near on 60m why the hell are we not pissing on Wenger and Arsenal who are total cheapskates.

    2 points is nothing. We will be 5 points clear of Arsenal by mid Feb. They will suffer greatly without Toure.

  3. Scott the Red says:

    Spike – have you ever seen a United player grabbing their face in an attempt to get a player sent off? I’m not condoning diving, something which players from every team in the league have been or are guilty of, but it’s a different kettle of fish when it comes to grabbing the face. To do that, you’re not just looking for a freekick, you’re looking to get a player red carded.

    And is it really all about the money? Chelsea had spent FAR more on their squad than we had, but that didn’t stop us from winning the league last season. Was that unbelievable? Football is a funny thing and the best team always wins the league. If you want to give Arsenal the excuse of money, then that’s up to you I suppose.

  4. chris says:

    I can’t stand Fabregas, but to be fair, was Arteta sent off because Fabregas was ‘writhing in agony’, or because Arteta had used his elbow?

    Practically every player in the premier league goes down when they take the slightest knock to the face or head, and almost every time you know that they are merely bringing attention to the perceived infraction.

    You or I would probably not even notice it, and certainly not acknowledge it hurt, even if it did, which would be a rare occurance.

    At least for once there was sufficient contact that for once, a player going down clutching his face MAY have actually been hurt.

    Could any of us honestly say that Rooney or Ronaldo would not have done the same?

    Really? Don’t kid yourself!

  5. chris says:

    “have you ever seen a United player grabbing their face in an attempt to get a player sent off?”

    You ARE joking, right?

    We are no worse than any other team, but they all do it, even us.

  6. Scott the Red says:

    Chris – tell me when you’ve seen a member of our current squad writhing around in agony grabbing their face? The only reason you do that is in attempt of getting a player sent off.

    When Ronaldo got his face cut open vs Roma, did we see him rolling around on the floor holding his face in his hands? Did we fuck. There was a perfect opportunity for him to get a player sent off, he was bleeding all over the place, but even RONALDO just got on with it and didn’t cause a fuss. He wasn’t crying like a little bitch on the floor.

    I’m not saying United players are little angels, but this is one thing our players don’t do.

  7. spike says:


    Cesc was caught in the face. There WAS actual contact.

    Ronaldo dives EVERY game, with NO contact.

    So, who’s the bigger cheat?

    We can go round and round on this one, its a pointless argument as no one will be convinced of the other’s point of view.

  8. Scott the Red says:

    Ronaldo dives EVERY game? Sorry Spike, but you’re talking bollocks now.

  9. Good to be a GOONAH!! says:

    The truth of the matter is that Cesc did indeed make a meal out of the challenge. And Arteta walked. But at least there was contact… Phil Neville dropped to the ground under absolutely no contact.

  10. East End Gooner says:

    United play brilliant football, and are rightly considered favourites for the title. But the luck with our second goal yesterday is nothing new throughout any season when all teams get lucky.

    Remember – your side came to our place and concentrated on stopping us play, yet you still only got a draw and could not stop bleating about things like “intimidating atmosphere, lack of security and your beautiful goals”.

    Why dont you concentrate on supporting your team and getting rid of their flaws before commenting on ours. Cesc was hit with a flat fore arm, hence the face clutching. If he has acted, then its his first time. No gooner I know approves of diving, and we all pan Eboue when he does it. Looking at your side, how many pens have Rooney, Ronaldo and formerly RVN “won” for United?

  11. Red Ranter says:

    Tell me when you’ve seen a member of our squad writhing around in agony grabbing their face?

    To be honest, Anderson did that bit in the Arsenal game, when Fabregas caught him in the act and mimicked him.

    Although it seems hypocritical of Fab to be doing the same now.

    Point is, be it either clutching ones’ face, or diving, one wrong isn’t bigger than the other. We shouldn’t be looking at other teams and crying foul. Surely we’ve got more class than that.

    At least that’s how I see it.

  12. Scott the Red says:

    As the link in the article shows, East End Gooner, this isn’t the first time he’s done it. He did it against Chelsea when Robben made no contact with his face.

    As I’ve said already, I don’t agree with diving, and I don’t think United players are angels – but there’s a big difference between going to ground too easily to win a penalty/free kick and making a meal out of a challenge which will get a player sent off.

    And Red Ranter, the point I was making is nothing to do with Arsenal players cheating – the clue is in the title. It was the porkie Wenger told when he said that Fabregas hadn’t made a meal out of it.

  13. spike says:

    I really don’t give a sh*te if cesc over reacted, given that Arteta had already elbowed Clichy and got away with it, on balance he deserved to go.

    I dont condone play acting, but how many times do ex-pros go on about players should go down in the box if theres the slightest contact? According to them thats not cheating, but being ‘clever’/ Whats the diff?

    Eboue does my head in with his antics and would be out the door if it were down to me, Cesc on the other hand is less prone to over reacting. The fact you can find ONE other example, wow!

    Ronaldo’s crime sheet would stretch for a few hundred pages!

    Go figure!

  14. craig mc says:

    Mr “please I never saw anything Wenger, Cesc did nothing wrong”, when the whole country knows that he did!. Arsenal are an all foreign team, so yes we expect them to fall and roll around, like the bunch of great pretenders they are. United’s foreign players fall around too when they first come, but Fergie hates it, and demands they don;t do it. Wenger always defends the INDEFENSIBLE, FERGIE HATES CHEATS. and anyone who doesn’t see that Ronaldo has wiped that out of his game, and Fergie is dealing with Anderson, is in denial. Come on the red devils. I commend Chelsea’s Carvahol who was honest enough to acknowlegde and apologiise for his dirty deed, I don’t commend Fabregas, he is A CHEAT.

  15. spike says:

    Oh dear lil racist Craig has crawled out the wood work.

    Anf to try and make out Ronaldo Rooney and the snide little Anderson have all had Stretford Wives treatment from Fergie and never ever cheat swear or abuse the refs!!!

  16. franky says:

    I still think you need to correct yourself here. As Red Ranter pointed out, Anderson’s theater in the game against Arsenal was all but.

    I agree with your opinion on Wenger though, but Arsene always has said that he’ll publicly defend his players, but that doesn’t always mean that nothing happens behind closed doors.
    Should he have said that it was no red card? That then also implies that Sir Alex admits for the camera that sometimes it’s not a penalty Ronaldo gets us.

  17. jsos says:

    I will admit that Ronnie has created himself the trouble of the diving reputation from his start with United, and its a long road back from that once you’ve set it out. I do think he’s taken onto that road though and made a marked difference in how he plays – cutting out the diving massively – which I think even the most anti-Ronaldo crew can admit.

    That said, I also believe that Fabregas does dive, and fake without as much sign of slowing. The result against Chelsea the other weekend showed an embarrassing finish to the game with Fab scissor grabbing the blues and then falling to the ground clutching his own face until the whistle blew and the match was called at which point he uncovered his face and got up.

    It’s embarrassing whenever a player fakes or embellishes an injury on the pitch. And I don’t think any club can blame it never happening. However, its where you go from there I think. As the season plays on, I’ll be interested to see which way Fab goes with it. For the pride of a club, I hope he can find it in him to toughen up a bit and play straight. So far, he’s shown a lack of initiative to give his fans more hassle with his antics – i’ve noticed even the most devout gunner cant seem to hide their embarrassment when fab goes down clutching and moaning only to stand up and move on moments later when no call is made.

  18. OMelhorDoMundo says:

    Ronaldo does dive although he’s cut down on it but when there is a big decision for him, the question is “did Ronaldo dive?” When was the last time you saw him dive? Please name just three instances where he’s dived this season.

    Fabregas has the arrogance you’d expect from someone precocious who doesn’t have the manager to calm him down. It’s not the proud swagger of the Ronaldo or Cantona but the did-you-really-play-for-Barcelona-Hughes? arrogance that comes out of the mouth of only those so sure of their own talent.
    This is him talking trash to Hughes:

    This is my favourite of Fabregas’s dives

  19. Tom F says:

    Followers of all football teams around the country whether Premier League, Conference or Sunday league have a right to voice their own opinions about their own team as well as other teams. People have their favourites and obviously the teams who they hate! I personally like Alan Curbishly and respect him for what he has done in his own right, the same goes for Paul Jewell. I can hold my hands up and say Arsenal play great football, slightly different but for entertainment on par with Manchester Uniteds.

    I can look back to last summer when the only summer buy Manchester United made was Michael Carrick, for a value which most people laughed at, you know English players cost a lot more than their foreign counterparts and all, but he was one player. Compared to Chelseas Super summer signings of that pre season. However, Manchester United blew the Premiership away from day one. Playing amazing football week in week out, scoring loads of goals and generally sweeping teams aside, this was shown in the Premier League team of the season where we had 8 players.

    Manchester United, this year bulked up on some top quality signings, none have failed to impress me and all have become instant “united” players. Arsenal did their thing and have gelled together playing well and they deserve to be where they are on the merit of the football they play and goals they score.

    The only thing is, for a football chant to come from so many of Arsenals opposing fans “There go Arsenal.. ALWAYS CHEATING” is not just for fun, it is not made up with no hard evidence. Look back over a season and a
    Arsenal have a fair few on field player melees which invove mass brawls, ALWAYS ARSENAL!!!

    Scott is not a biased fan, I am. :O)

  20. spike says:

    Sorry jsos, but Cesc is a legend for doing exactly what you are castigating him for! The Chav he scissor kicked was the odious turd cashley Cole, who then slapped cesc in the mush!


  21. potter says:

    “There go Arsenal.. ALWAYS CHEATING” i

    Substitute the name and it’s sung all over the country about every team.

  22. Whiteside10 says:

    You know what… it’s great to see that so many fans care… It’s been a long time since I’ve read such a load of tit-for-tat rubbish… Bottom line is that most clubs have players that dive / feign injury / con the referee, but it’s just that the so-called big four clubs have their instances highlighted much more than the rest… My biggest gripe at the moment is the incompentency of the referees / linesmen – an old chestnut, I know, but I did have a shred of sympathy for Newcastle following Saturday’s game against Chelsea, for example. FOUR YARDS! That’s how far offside Kalou was… ffs.
    Anyway, referees (and I mean ALL referees) could clamp down on the feigning injury stuff – I personally reckon that incidents should be reviewed after the game and guilty players should get a retrospective red card – that should stamp it out. At least then we’ll see when players are constantly kicked (Ronaldo, for example), the referees could maybe see fit to give free kicks when they are warranted.
    Finally, Spike – keep ‘em coming… your observations are making me laff!!

  23. potter says:

    You northerners really get your toys out when the Arse come to town. I know you think you have a right to the moral high ground but my memory goes back a long way. Over the years youve had players that have gone over the top, Mclair, crerand, stiles ,hughes, whiteside. et al and although football has changed in the type of fouling we now see, you have your share of rule benders. so climb off those high horses and just get on with it.

  24. Tom F says:

    and I suppose Andy Johnson was diving yesterday too..

  25. potter says:

    Well even if he was’nt Neville, Arteta, Yakubu and Lescott were.

  26. jsos says:

    so spike, you saying you’re proud to have someone cheating? consider yourself in the minority of gunners then mate.

  27. spike says:

    Thanks Whiteside10, I’ll do me best fella!

  28. spike says:

    No jsos, I am happy Cesc twatted the odious c*nt cashley Cole.

    Didn’t I make that obvious?

  29. Tom F says:

    Why are Arsenal fans still so bitter over losing such an over rated player Ash Cole, Gallas and Money.. what a bargain.

    The thing that gets me about Fabregas is the same thing that got me about Viera, great midfielders, top quality players, they seem to both think they are big tough men as well, but Fabregas doesn’t walk it like he talks it, same as Viera.. You would never catch Roy Keane or Wayne Rooney rolling around crying their baby eyes out like Viera used to and Fabregas now does.. all 4 players come across as though they can look after themselves, which is why I made the point of comparrison.

    Ronaldo, Nani were not originally in that mould that the above players, as well as tevez and Brown are like. They got into the game like men and face the consequences. Ronaldo has changed, Nani is a big baby and hopefully will sort himself out soon..

    Fabregas is first over to the referee, in his face and the first to whinge. Good player, cheating baby.

    Arsenal players have always had the habit of causing one huge scene from a relitavely simple desicion or bit of discipline from the referee.

    Why do non manchester united fans spend their time on here? Probably been at home watching Green Street and felt like kicking up some fuss.. :O)

  30. spike says:

    Yes thats right Tom me old china, I bin watchin them footy hooligan fillums and is up for a rumble.

    You’re the one givin it the biggun with ya high falutin ideas about your effin bunch of choir boys!


    I think Fergie’s surprised and gutted in equal measure.

    I mean who’d have thought Arsenal would be challenging this year?
    Fergie probably thought he’d have a cl ear run to the title when Mourinho got the boot.

  31. craig mc says:

    Well Spike, if I’m a lil racist for stating the true fact that Arsenal are indeed a team of foreigners, then nearly every football pundit and commentator on tv/radio must be lil racists too. Because most agree we do have an over abundance of foreing players in the premiership, and that this falling all over the pitch, rolling over and over, feigning mortal injury, then getting up and running like F*** the next minute, was NOT IN THE ENGLISH GAME UNTIL BROUGHT OVER WITH THE FOREIGN PLAYERS. THAT’S the general consensus of opinion not just mine. With regards to saying that United players don’t swear or abuse refs, where did you see that in my post – you didn’t because I was talking about feining of injury. And please show me where Anderson (since the Arsenal game), Rooney or Ronaldo have fallen down & feigned injury lately, since Fergie had a word with them??????

  32. Tom F says:

    Spike, your whole comment in regards to my last one only challenged my comment on footy films.. haha.. maybe you realise that I had a valid point in what I said, then realised it’s actual fact?

    I don’t give it the biggun, just my opinion.. don’t just come on here slaggin everyone off.

    Every Pundit wrote off Manchester United last pre-season, tipping them for 4th place. I really, with all my heart do not think Sir Alex Ferguson is gutted that Arsenal are playing good football. If he wanted to win a title without a Challenge he’ll go manage in the SPL.

    You CANNOT write off Sir Alex and I’m pretty confident he has seen enough in 21 years of football, winning everything he can to not start worrying about Arsenal..

    He is more worried about the kids watching silly films.

  33. Tom F says:

    Oh.. as for Choirboys.. Rooney, Hargreaves, Vidic, Evra, Brown, Scholes, Oshea, Tevez are a right bunch of choirboys aren’t they.. not to mention Ronaldo, who gets kicked all over the park with out hardly ever complaining. He may have a moan which any fouled player is entitled to, but he never chases the ref all over the pitch, or keeps the ball to stop play, young guns, maybe they’ll learn one day that acting like a bunch of spoilt little turds isn’t a great image. If Arsenal kept to playing good football without trying to rule the game themselves it’d be enjoyable to watch them play, right now they are like a team of 11 Drogbas.


  34. craig mc says:

    Tom F – I agree with your comment about Ronaldo getting kicked off the pitch and his reactions being mild compared to the Fabregas, Eboues, Drogbas etc. But I must say I am glad football supporters of other teams come and post on this site too, cos a bit of banter is entertaining.

  35. Ronan says:

    the fact of the matter is that no player, how ever brilliant he is, is perfect!
    Ronaldo was the best player last year, but even as a united fan i can admit he goes down too easily on occasions.

    Cesc has probably been the best player of this season but overreacted against artea and cole in the last couple of weeks

    Drogba’s world class but dives and overreacts while John Terry and Steven Gerrard are quality players but on countless times this season have been accused of cheating!

    We have to admit that its just the way that modern game is played! At the end of the season we arent going to be talking about these incidents but the team who wins it and how they desevred to win it as no premiership title is ever by players diving or overreacting!

  36. Tom F says:

    :O) just wondered why that’s all CMC, wondered how it all comes about..end of the day if the officials changed the way they view games it could be stopped.


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