Archive for March 6th, 2010

Wenger’s press conference is a masterclass again

60 comments March 6th, 2010

Arsene Wenger is a fantastic man, and a fantastic manager.  There are few personalities in the league whose press conferences are worthwhile events in themselves.  Yesterday, it was clear to all and sundry that he would be pressed on the Aaron Ramsey issue, and under the strongest scrutiny an emotional Arsene delivered some stirring responses.

He stands by his comments at Stoke, 100%.  And so he should.  He never got personal in his criticism of Shawcross, only in his criticism of the tackle.  Some accuse Arsene of having a messianic psychological complex – instead what he is is a man who is entirely true to his principles.  He is a man who believes firmly in trying to win through excellence above all else.  He doesn’t understand why he sees Arsenal criticised in the press for “trying to play football” – is that not, after all, what all teams should be striving to do?

He is not, as some claim, against the physical elements of the game.  Earlier in the week I compared dispossession with dragbacks, and Arsene is much of the same mind:

“I admire a great technical tackle as much as a creative pass. A tackle is an art in itself – that means you always have your eye on the ball, never with a high foot, in your tackle you can already make a pass. Tackling is an art you do not want to get out of the game.”

Nor is he so myopic as to render his Arsenal team exempt from criticism:

“It is not Arsenal against the rest of the world. What I say here is valid for the Arsenal players as well. I want the Arsenal players to go into the tackles like everybody else. To go into the tackles and be committed. What I say is not just for Stoke or Arsenal players, it is for everybody. I defend football. It is not that we are apart from anybody else. We are the same. I am continuing to defend the values that I believe are important for our club and football. That doesn’t mean we are angels and everyone else is the devil. It is for everybody.”

A mischievous journalist mentioned William Gallas’ untidy challenge on Mark Davies of Bolton, stating that it had kept the midfielder out of action for four or five weeks.  Arsene corrected him: Davies was playing again within nine days.  What’s more, Arsene came out at the time and apologised for Gallas’ tackle.

There are clear media agendas and they are, sadly, dictated by people who oughn’t have the right to call themselves ‘journalists’.  I heartily recommend listening to yesterday’s arsecast to hear the thoughts of Philippe Auclair on the matter – or if you’re in a hurry, read’s transcript here.  An excellent analysis of just how the media so often end up clutching not just the wrong end of the stick, but another, altogether less coherent stick entirely.

Aaron Ramsey has released an official statement, full of praise for the support he received from Stoke’s Glenn Whelan -a gentleman whose attempts to comfort Ramsey will not be swiftly forgotten by Arsenal fans.

The injury to Ramsey and the fallout from it provides massive incentive for Arsenal today.  Furthermore, a particularly handsome win could see us topping the table come 5pm.  Sol Campbell misses out with a groin problem, but Abou Diaby is back to replace the suspended Alex Song.  Silvestre will come in to the defence, with a midfield trio of Denilson, Diaby and Fabregas ahead.  Upfront, Andrey Arshavin is available once more, and Arsene may hand a start to Theo Walcott, who will be keen to hit back at those (myself included) who criticised his performance for England in midweek.

If you’re at the Emirates today, you might spot this banner, designed by Tres Rapide – the man/myth who did all the visual work for Gunnerblog:

Do it for Aaron

The message is simple: Do it for Aaron.

Do it for him, certainly.  But also do it for every manager who thinks that kicking Arsenal will bring about their demise.  Do it for every Collymore, Parker and Macari.  Let them see how we respond and force them to confront their cowardice, hypocrisy, and stupidity.

Come On You Reds.

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