Thursday, November 11, 2010

Wenger: Hypocrite?

It's a legitimate question.

Arsenal have gotten a bit holier-than-thou at times when players have been injured by bad tackles. But their own players make some bad tackles too. Fabregas could have done some damage to Ward lastnight and if a tackle like that was made against Arsenal, a lot of their fans, their manager and players would be up in arms.

I was listening to the Guardian's podcast just there and one of the journalists was insistent on Wenger's hypocrisy. He said that Arsenal fans he'd spoken to used Karl Henry's bad tackle in the same game in defence of Fabregas, and his response was "so what?".

Here's what: Karl Henry is a repeat offender. Cesc Fabregas's bad foul deserved attention, but so did Karl Henry's. In fact, Karl Henry's deserved MORE criticism because he seems to do it every second game. He's made more of these tackles in a year than all the Arsenal players put together. Instead, it seems, the Arsenal player gets all the negative scrutiny. It's understandable in a way because they want to portray Arsenal's stance as hypocritical, but what is the more pressing agenda? Ridding the game of the attitude that it's ok to do what the likes of Henry and De Jong do, or making fun of Arsenal?

They make big news out of bad fouls by Arsenal players. Only twice a year or so, because it doesn't happen much. And they gloss over the habitual thuggery of a talentless nutcase who never even acknowledges he's in the wrong.

Dangerous fouls happen. With th modern game played at such a high speed, the players are always at some risk. But Danny Murphy hit the nail on the head: some managers encourage a kind of systematic recklessness. How can anyone suggest that Arsenal are not deliberately subjected to rough treatment? Diaby, Eduardo and Ramsey all suffered leg breaks in recent years. It can't be a coincidence.

Fabregas's foul was petulant, but that's human nature. Anger, flashes of temper will lead to mistakes. Dangerous tackles will never be completely eradicated but I don't think that's what Wenger calls for. There are players at other teams who seem to be in a state of constant recklessness and that is surely more worth criticism than Arsenal's perceived double standards.

I find it sickening that on a night when Henry and Michael Essien, repeat offenders both, made shocking tackles, Cesc Fabregas and Arsenal were condemned for what was, on the whole, an aberration.

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