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The Antagonist - Arsene Whinger is still number one

Published: 18 Dec 2009 - 09:35:11

So, Arsene Whinger is at it again!

He just can't help himself can he? His latest rant was, of course, directed at Wolves manager Mick McCarthy who had the temerity to pick an under-strength side to play the champions on Tuesday.

Understandably, if contentiously, Roy Keane's favourite 'buddy' had an eye on the more realistic chance of scraping up some precious anti-relegation points against Burnley on Saturday and rested ten of his first eleven.

'We will have to compete with Manchester United over 37 games instead of 38', complained Wenger who is rapidly becoming the Premier League's premier grumpy old man, relegating Sir Alex to the silver medal position.

He has obviously conveniently forgotten his team selection for Arsenal's final Champion's League group game against Olympiacos when he sent out ten spotty adolescents plus Mikel Silvestre because Arsenal had already qualified as group winners.

As it turned out, Arsenal lost but it didn't matter because Olympiacos' rivals for second place, Standard Liege could only draw their final game against AZ Alkmaar. If Standard had won however, Wenger's decision not to send a full strength side to Greece could have cost the Belgians a place in the next round.

It is this hypocritical, one-eyed attitude that is rapidly alienating Wenger from all but the most diehard of Gooners.

He also 'had a go' at the fixture list and suggested that it had dealt Arsenal a 'rough hand'.

'The guy who organises the fixtures must have gone to a very special school as he's clearly more intelligent than me', added the furious Frenchman.

Of course, this last comment is extremely unlikely and therein lies the dichotomy with Wenger. He is obviously a very intelligent, cultured man who is probably excellent company and exhibits a fierce loyalty to his club and players.

But why is he so indiscriminate and, in a way, so naively childish in his comments to the press and his behaviour to opponents? So much so that he regularly makes himself look like a pillock to the watching world.

What is it in him that often completely refuses to countenance other peoples' point of view and cannot acknowledge that, sometimes, an Arsenal player or even he might possibly be in the wrong?

How refreshing it would be if just once he held his hands up and said, 'we were lucky to win that game' or, 'I had a perfect view of the situation and the referee was entirely correct in awarding that penalty against us' or, 'I behaved badly at Man City and should have shaken Mark Hughes' hand'.

No chance!

Maybe this intransigence is an essential quality for a manager's longevity in his post. Indeed, if you look at the top managers over recent years, there is clearly a stubborn, ruthless streak running through most of them - Ferguson, Benitez, Mourinho and Wenger himself. None of these would win prizes for generosity of spirit or sportsmanship would they?

'Jolly nice chaps' like Gareth Southgate, Bryan Robson or Gianfranco Zola, on the contrary, somehow have that essential nastiness gene missing. Although they may accumulate more friends outside their clubs and are considerably more reasonable in their approach, they are never likely to set the world on fire with their managerial medal collection.

So, perhaps we have to accept that a degree of petulance and 'bone headedness' goes with the territory and maybe Mr W isn't quite so bad after all.

It would be nice to hear he'd sent Hughesy a Christmas card though!

Let's finish with a Christmas Quiz, just for fun and to prove that I am not nasty all the time!

1. Name of last English manager to win a European Competition with an English club?

2. Name of the all time top scorer for France?

3. Name of the Rochdale prodigy who wears the number 30 shirt and is ranked 49th on the world list of rising stars?

4. Name of the Fulham player who scored the USA's only goal in the 2006 World Cup?

Happy Christmas to all of the above and of course, you.

READ THE ANTAGONIST EXCLUSIVELY AT FOOTBALL.CO.UK EVERY FRIDAY

DSG


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FOOTBALL.CO.UK BLOGGER:the antagonist
Love him or loathe him you cannot ignore the Antagonist. His Friday blog tackles the big issues in our game today in an abrasive, often controversial style. He goes where others fear to tread. From wages to wags, diving to drugs - no subject is "off limits", no individual beyond reproach. Miss him at your peril!

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