Friday, July 20, 2018

Wenger v Allardyce – It makes for good entertainment

Best of enemies

There is little doubt that Blackburn’s manager Sam Allardyce and Arsenal’s Arsene Wenger are about as far apart as it is possible for two men in the same profession to be.


They are totally different characters and get their teams to play in totally different ways. It is also true to say that they can’t stand each other.

In the past Wenger has joked that Barcelona might want to copy the way Blackburn play and has been highly critical of their ‘in your face’ tactics.


Allardyce has accused Wenger of trying to manipulate referees and being blinkered about challenges his own players make.

Last season Wenger accused the Blackburn players of targeting his goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski at set-pieces during the game at Ewood Park that Blackburn won 2-1.


Before they played at Ewood Park again in August, a game that Arsenal won 2-1, Allardyce hit out at Wenger’s complaining saying,

“I have to remind Arsene about his team, which used to win the league, that was the dirtiest team in the league. If you cast your mind back to when they were winning the league, they had more sendings-off and bookings than anyone else.”


After last weekend’s victory over Bolton, Arsene Wenger was again complaining about the treatment dished out to one of his players.

Earlier in the week, he said,

“I love the way the English game is played in England, the one restriction has to be full commitment with the intention of going for the ball and only for the ball. Then, I prefer English football ten times as much to the European game. The English game becomes dangerous when the players go to hurt each other.”


In relation to the injury caused to his midfielder Abou Diaby in the Bolton game Wenger said,

“My regret is that video evidence cannot be used in these cases afterwards. I can understand that the ref did not see it, because he was in a bad position, but frankly the Premier League should be in a position whether they can suspend players who do this kind of thing.”


After the latest moan and groan from Mr Wenger Allardyce has decided it is time to speak out about him again.

“He’s a very clever man in terms of influencing referees, officials and everybody in football. In saying people are trying to injure players he’s trying, through the media, to influence referees. Arsene is almost, almost, affecting the officials so that you can’t tackle an Arsenal player. That’s something he’s very clever at working on and it’s almost working in his favour, you can see that. There is a perception that we kick everybody and Arsenal’s motivation is that you can’t tackle us as you aren’t supposed to.

“Wenger is deflecting attention from the situation which says the game of football is a contact sport. You have to try to win the ball at all costs and if someone doesn’t get it quite right people get injured. It was much more apparent in my day when people used to go out to try to hurt an opponent every week, but today it very rarely happens. I completely deny that my team deliberately injures players, certainly not. In the Premier League the commitment and speed unfortunately brings players together at such pace that it’s almost impossible to avoid injuries.”


I can see both points of view and their constant arguing certainly makes for good entertainment. Wenger is a believer in the beautiful game and long may that continue. Allardyce is a believer in playing to your strengths and getting results with players who individually may not be so talented. Long may that continue too.

When the two teams meet at the Emirates it should be interesting to watch the first few tackles in the game and to make sure there is a camera on the two managers!


Graham Fisher



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