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Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger calls for fair play (again)

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15 Sep 2010 06:47:39

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger calls for fair play (again)

Arsene Wenger has repeatedly called for protection for his players during 14 years at Arsenal advocating the beautiful game. The refrain was heard again following an injury to Abou Diaby. A tackle from Bolton's Paul Robinson last Saturday means Arsenal will be without the midfielder against Portuguese side FC Braga this evening and for the league trip to Sunderland on Saturday. It was a 'very bad tackle', insisted Wenger in a tone that reflected both frustration and a resignation his words would probably be in vain. He is fiercely aware that he, and not the case he continues to argue so passionately, has become the never-ending story. Crunch: Arsenal's Abou Diaby is injured in a tackle by Paul Robinson on Saturday 'I don't know if my views are taken seriously,' he said. 'The only thing I regret if I speak about it - it is only controversial and it is, "Wenger, Wenger, Wenger, Wenger, Wenger, Wenger, Wenger". 'If I read, "Wenger cries because his players are injured", why should I talk about it? People say, "OK, it's his team and he wants to protect his players and there is an interest there". No, I speak about football. WENGER'S 10 Arsene Wenger has narrowed down theChampions League race from 32 teams to the 10 he believes have a chance ofwinning the final at Wembley in May. And they are... Arsenal, Manchester United, Chelsea, Tottenham Hotspur, Bayern Munich, Inter Milan, AC Milan, Real Madrid, Barcelona and Lyon. 'When you love football, you can defend the players who go in a fair way. You cannot agree with the players who don't play in a fair way. 'The (Robinson) tackle was very bad. I love the English game, but people are more interested in controversy than protecting the players.' The solution, Wenger believes, already lies in the rule book. The Arsenal manager certainly does not advocate making football a non-contact sport. He said: 'What I hate the most is a player who is not committed and jumps out of the tackle. But to have a committed game you need to know that the intention of players is right, that they go for the ball. 'The beauty of the game is down to the fact that you play with commitment, passion, but the right intention. 'Over-protection can become boring as well. I've seen some countries where every little push or shoulder to shoulder is penalised. I prefer the philosophy of the English game, but you need to know everybody is playing the ball and only the ball.' Fair play: Gunners boss Arsene Wenger has again called for more protection Wenger is eager to make amends for last season's quarter-final def eat by Barcelona and believes last year's relatively poor showing by English clubs, none of whom reached the semi-finals, was merely a blip. The Frenchman said: 'We have to show that it was an accident. Barcelona were better than us over the two games. We have to come back and show we can compete with them.' English clubs have the added incentive of knowing the final will be played on home soil at Wembley but, as right back Bacary Sagna pointed out: 'It's a short way to go to the stadium, but a long way to go to the final.' Arsenal are likely to field a defence entirely of Frenchmen against a side making their debut in the Champions League group stage. In the groove: Captain Cesc Fabregas is all smiles as he guides his team-mates through their paces in training Sagna said he, Sebastien Squillaci, Laurent Koscielny and Gael Clichy speak in French on the pitch but communicate with Spanish goalkeeper Manuel Almunia in English. Sagna said: 'It's easier to speak with him in English. We talk in training. English or French, it's the same.' There will be added pressure on Wenger's new recruits, too. The Arsenal boss quipped his sidelined players - including Diaby (ankle), Thomas Vermalen (achilles), Theo Walcott (ankle), Robin van Persie (ankle), Aaron Ramsey (broken leg) and Nicklas Bendtner - would form 'quite a good team', but their absence means recent signings will be thrown straight into the fray. Wenger admitted it will be a 'big test' for Squillaci, Koscielny and Marouane Chamakh. But, should another of Wenger's players become the victim of a poor tackle, it will be a bigger test for the manager not to fight his corner once again. VIDEO: Wenger on Arsenal injuries...  Arsenal boss Wenger relieved as Diaby is ruled out for just two gamesWenger: English must rule Europe again on the long road to WembleyArsene Wenger targets mental battle as key to Arsenal winning Champions LeagueChampions League predictions: So who will lift the trophy at Wembley? ARSENAL FC


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