The independent London newspaper

Handy advice for Arsene Wenger

OPINION: Arsenal boss looks set to be punished for his reaction to referee Mike Dean’s ludicrously awful penalty decision at West Brom – but what’s the guy meant to do?

05 January, 2018 — By Richard Osley

Arsene Wenger

NAUGHTY Arsene Wenger has until the end of the week to answer an FA charge of being apoplectic with rage after the penalty given to West Brom on New Year’s Eve.

Boy-oh-boy, the game’s governing body is really painting the lily with this one, aren’t they?

Everybody knows the handball given against Calum Chambers was a ludicrously awful decision.

Now you can react to this in two ways: Be furious if you are an Arsenal supporter and head bang the wall, or, if you support someone else, laugh your head off at Wenger’s misfortune of being on the wrong end of one referee Mike Dean’s spotlight moments.

Either way, you know it wasn’t a penalty. You could’ve been watching The Sound Of Music on the other side – and you’d still somehow know it wasn’t a penalty. What’s more, Mike Dean himself must surely know by now it wasn’t a penalty.

By any reasonable assessment, Arsenal have been bummed out by a duff decision in virtually the last minute of an away match they were about to win.

The FA know all this and yet the powers that be wake up the next day and sting Wenger for being angry about it. What’s the guy meant to do?

Imagine a manager who saw what unfolded at the Hawthorns the other night and simply says: “What rum luck, never mind” and tootles off to the team bus whistling something about thems being the breaks.

At some stage, a sensible person in charge needs to consider why Wenger may have used riper terms in the way he remonstrated straight after the match than those he may chosen the morning after.

If he had gone in and throttled Mike Dean: too much.

But the FA should look at their own ref’s bad call and understand the context. Otherwise, it’s like a bully in the playground winding a nerdy kid and then telling him he’ll get further punches if he complains about it.

• ARSENAL played well against Chelsea in the 2-2 draw, just as they did when they beat Spurs at Ashburton Grove and, as it happens, when they might have beaten Manchester United had they not dropped two early clangers.

These performances make you wonder why they struggle to see off Stoke, Watford, West Brom and so on.

The conclusion many have made is that Arsenal are a cup team these days – the sort of passive aggressive insult which used to be levelled at Spurs before it became apparent Tottenham were not even winning cups.

The truth is, every team bar Man City is now a cup team. This pointless, boring league was over by November thanks to City’s ugly spending power.
Don’t fool yourself into thinking your club is anything else.


Share this story

Post a comment