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Pep talk is cheap on Wenger spend

OPINION: Unlike Man City, Arsenal’s legendary manager built his team without chequebook bazookas

16 July, 2020 — By Richard Osley

Former Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger

NOW, how can you wangle out of a punishment for breaking financial fair play rules? Easy question: Get even more barrowloads of money and use it to hire lawyers to win an appeal.

And so it is that Manchester City have seen their European football ban lifted, as we always knew it would be.

Pep Guardiola responded by insisting everybody else spent lots of money too, which compared to the budget Macclesfield Town are operating on, yes – he’s right. But he’s off colour when he criticises Arsene Wenger as being one of the fellow big spenders.

We remember it feeling like transfer fees were coming out of Wenger’s own pocket at one stage. Rightly or wrongly, he preferred to build his team through careful scouting rather than Guardiola’s chequebook bazookas.

CLASSIC Tottenham, vintage Tottenham. It’s why deep down we love them. Spurs, of course, won the north London derby… because they always win the derbies that don’t really matter. Predictably, it triggered the usual “North London is White” response.

Imagine that. Simply put this week: They have no league title since 1961, no major trophy since 1991 – don’t be counting the League Cup if you want to be one of the big boys – and a clear inferiority complex which made them add 100 extra seats or so to make their new stadium bigger than the Emirates. That record does not suggest “North London is White” at all. But if winning one match, behind closed doors with not much at stake, makes it so, let it be.

• CLIVE Tyldesley tweeted a video of himself explaining how “baffled” he was that ITV had demoted him to their No 2. commentator. Sam Matterface will take over.

It’s led to a familiar claim that TV companies are chasing younger audiences – as if Coronation Street has hired a new barmaid for the Rovers Return – and Tyldesley’s only crime was getting old. I think that time he commentated over a foul by saying “with the ill behaviour, with the ill behaviour” was worse.

In reality, football press boxes are filled with bedblockers who would need to be prised from their seats to give up a job where every story comes from a handout press conference and each match comes with free refreshments. That may not be Tyldesley’s style, but we are all in need of some new voices.

FINALLY, what fun for Arsenal to beat Liverpool despite playing a whole second half in their own penalty box. Of course, it was a fortunate win, and as explained above about the derby: nobody is going at full pelt. Nevertheless, Liverpool have now notched up three in the “losses” column. Hardly what you might call…. invincible.

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