How embarrassing. After being lauded a hypocrite for waging a war on tough tackling once all his dirty players, like Vieira (more red cards than anyone in the history of Premiership football), Keown, Lauren etc. have left, Arsene Wenger was left with egg on his face on Saturday afternoon.
Arsenal youngster, Jack Wilshere, was guilty of a nasty tackle when playing against Birmingham today. So, you would expect that after spending weeks ranting about the dangers of bad tackles, Wenger would criticise his own player, right? After singling out individual players in on other teams, he would surely expect his own players to set the example, right? After claiming our very own Paul Scholes had a “dark side”, then he would be happy to admit the same about his own player, right? Course not.
“He mistimed his tackle and got a red card, which he deserved. He did not spend his whole game trying to kick people, he was one of the best players on the pitch today. It was more of frustration and did not want to hurt the player, but we do not complain about the red card.”
When one of his players makes a horrible challenge, something he admits is worthy of a straight red, he’s got an excuse or a reason. First he claims it was a mistimed challenge, then he concedes it was a bad challenge which came out of frustration. Is that ok? Is it alright to go in late on someone because you’re frustrated?
You can’t wage a war on bad tackling then excuse your own players with the lame excuse of ‘mistimed’. Young Wilshere is already developing a bit of a reputation of having a “dark side” but I won’t hold my breath in waiting for Wenger to speak about his own player with half the venom of others. His campaign is reduced to ridicule though if he only criticises dangerous challenges outside of the Emirates camp.
This was an opportunity missed. If he spoke about Wilshere’s challenge in the same way he has spoken about Bolton, Stoke, Blackburn etc. then you could take his campaign seriously. We all know that tackles, like Wilshere’s yesterday, do no favours to the sport, and you could have respect for Wenger trying to bring attention to them. But now he just looks likes a whinging old git, who will tear opponents to shreds and then defend his own. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not for one second claiming that Wenger should criticise his own players, but if he’s not prepared to do that, he needs to shut up about other players.
You can’t have it both ways, Wenger.
We had all, if we’re honest, seen it coming. Before long one of his tackles was going to earn him a red card.
Jack actually commits more fouls on his opponents than they do on him! In eleven games in all competitions, he has made sixteen fouls and already has two yellow cards and a red to his name.