As usual a lot to get through on a Saturday morning after Arsene’s press conference on the Friday.
While he’s obviously much calmer than last Saturday it’s fairly obvious that the boss is still upset about what happened to Eduardo and the reaction to it. As I said on the blog, the last two incidents that have resulted in a player being really badly injured have come against Arsenal players and AW thinks we’re not being afforded the same protection as other teams. He says:
We are the team in the last three years that has committed less fouls than any other team, and the numbers are available. We are the team that has been fouled more than any other team and the team that has been punished more than any other team. What we want to have is the right protection. That is the second player we have lost to bad tackles.
This idea that in order to stop Arsenal you have to kick Arsenal is a real sore point and I can see where he’s coming from. Nobody can ever criticise the physical aspects of football once it’s done the right way. When you think of Arsene’s teams in the past the sheer physicality of the players won us games. Vieira, Petit, Lauren, Grimandi, Keown, all tremendously physical players so we’ve had that element to our team. However, the last really bad tackle I can remember from an Arsenal player is Ashley Cole against Leicester a good few seasons ago (I think it was the year of the invincibles). That’s telling.
Unwilling to pass up the opportunity to speak his mind the boss, in front of a crowd of journalists, then criticised journalists for the way they report and preview and review games. He said:
Journalists with smiles on their faces ask me, ‘they got in your face today and you didnâ€™t have the answer’. That is encouraging violence. And how many times do I sit in a press conference and people are looking at me thinking ‘you try to play football but when people kick you, you donâ€™t have the answer’. They have to take responsibility as well.
He’s right too. From Match of the Day to the Sunday tabloids they spout this crap about how teams who cannot live with Arsenal on a technical level have to get ‘stuck in’. Like I said, nobody would ever have an argument with a team that plays hard but fair, and then you see tackles like the one on Eduardo or Carew’s on Hleb at Villa Park and they go beyond what’s acceptable. We get our share of red cards, and you know the journos are only just waiting for one to roll out the ‘Arsenal red card shame’ headlines, but we’re not a dirty team. I can understand the manager’s frustration with this.
AW was positive about Eduardo and his recovery and distanced himself from any responsibility for the people who sent death threats to Martin Taylor. Obviousy those people are fucking retards. We were all upset at what happened to Eduardo but threatening somebody with death over it is just riduculous. That Arsene Wenger has to defend himself from people who think he might have some responsibility for that is even more so.
William Gallas has generated some headlines this week for his behaviour at the end of the Birmingham game. Some people have called for him to stripped of the captaincy but then some people are shit-stirring cunts with an obvious agenda. The manager is defending his captain though, saying:
Ideally he should not have responded like that. But it was not to blame anybody. He is a guy who is highly committed and sometimes when he goes overboard he can respond like that. His leadership qualities for me are outstanding, even if on that occasion he used his commitment in the wrong way.
What I hate the most in this job are people who are always nicey nice and behave well. But at the end of the day they cheat a little bit with their commitment. I prefer sometimes a guy who goes overboard without hurting anybody who cares about winning. That is William, he cares about winning.
I hate that Nicey Nice too. What a cunt. It is time for Gallas to show that he is the man for the job, he’s done well this season for the most part and as one of the only players who has experienced a title run-in he needs to focus his emotion in a more positive way and set a good example for the younger boys. I think he can do that.
Today’s game is vital. Of course every game in the run-in is vital but the vultures are circling a bit, looking for us to crack after last weekend against Birmingham. Villa are a decent side, it’s taken Martin O’Neill a little while to get them going but you can see what a good job he’s done there. We need to really be aware of how good they are from set-pieces, apparently 99.999999% of their goals come from corners or something so we must be vigiliant, having a little bit a previous in conceding from corners.
We need a reaction from the lads, we’ve heard from Flamini and Senderos this week and they’ve both said that what happened to Eduardo will give them that extra motivation between now and the end of the season. Three points today would be a good start.
The Online Gooner has a fine editorial about the role fans should play between now and the end of the season. We must get behind our boys, behind the captain, behind the manager. We can make a difference. Copy and paste it to every Arsenal fan you know. If you’re going todayshout and roar and bellow like fiery mooses. Essentially, what we need to remember, is that everyone else are cunts. Let’s focus on being positive to our not cunts.
Fingers crossed we can get the result we need today, talk to you tomorrow.