Have you ever quit a job but been told to work your notice, your actions can tend to be a little different than usual. Maybe you try a little less than you used to, all of a sudden, you are a lot more honest when speaking to annoying colleagues, and you can finally say what you think of them because you are leaving.
To me it seems more and more like this is the current situation with Arsene Wenger as he has the demeanour of a man who gives zero effs and there has to be a reason for it. Wenger plays who he wants, how he wants and says what he wants.
When speaking of referee Mike Deans’ decision that cost Arsenal a win versus West Brom he said:
“I think the referee has not even seen it, he’s not seen it,”. “That’s my opinion, but he will tell you he has seen it. But we have to live with the decision and deal with it and swallow it and go for the next game.
“It wasn’t a penalty. It was not a deliberate handball. The arm was not up. You cannot play football when you are as close as that. It is impossible. Where do you put your arms when you move, in your pocket? There are no pockets in the shorts.
“I’m angry because we see and see the same things again. We fought very hard years ago for the referees to become professional and yet we see no improvement and you cannot say a word against it because they are untouchable.”
Not your average post match interview from Arsene Wenger, who’s known for giving classy, intelligent interviews, this strikes a different, more uncontrolled stance than usual. This was not the end of his candidly honest quotes either. After the Chelsea game, which saw Eden Hazard dive to get a penalty for the away side Wenger said the following to Sky sports:
It was a fantastic football game, and overall I believe that it could have gone both ways. We were first on the scoring sheet, and after that we got a farcical decision and then we looked like mentally, we were shot, and then we could have lost the game, but after we had the resources to come back to 2-2 and in the end, maybe it’s a fair result.
Worse or not worse we know what we get, (if) we look since the start of the season, it is what we have to take. We have to take it and we have to fight, but we cannot influence that.
Sky: I am not looking to agitate you but do you think it is grossly unfair and you are not being dealt a fair hand there?
AW: You asked me ‘is it a penalty?’ I said it is a farcical decision. You could give ten penalties like that per game.
Sky: Too soft?
AW: You decide what you want, anyway you will read the foreign newspapers and what they write about that and look after at the English newspapers and you see what they write about, and you’ll see the difference.
Sky: Do you think VAR would have made a difference tonight?
AW: I don’t know, it’s not for me and at the moment I’m too upset to speak about that.
Sky: But in terms of some of these things, they are not factual, it’s an opinion. Someone else could look at it and say…
AW: Yeah of course it’s all opinions, if you are on one side it’s opinions, if you are on the other side it’s opinions. But if the opinions all go the same way it’s coincidence. Statistically it’s built on the fact that when it’s repeated it’s not coincidence.
So here, we have Wenger outright saying there is some kind of agenda against Arsenal by the ref’s in games and the British media, it seems like he has felt like this for some time by the way he speaks. This is probably the first time he has been so clear in what he thinks of them, could this be due to the fact he thinks it is his final season and his last chance to say what he likes while working as a manager?
Finally, regarding recent no effs comments from Wenger, we saw him take a swipe at the new recruitment appointments installed at Arsenal When asked if Mavropanos was identified as a target by Mislintat, Wenger said:
“We talk. We know the players. We know. It’s not that we discover, we know every single player in Europe before Sven arrived.
“Sometimes, in a little club in Germany, he might know somebody we might ignore.”
“He [Raul] starts only on the 1 February,” Wenger added. “Look, it is important to find a new balance.
“For them, it’s more difficult than for me, because they have to adapt to a new environment, they discover suddenly a different structure and overall that is… at the moment it’s a bit new and unusual because it’s an important period but we are not used to work together.”
Asked how they build that relationship and trust, Wenger said: “Well, by communicating, and that’s why I said I have no time to take care of my charge because I’ve meetings with them, to talk about how we can make it all work because, for them, Sven, it’s important to know all the scouts.
“We have a big scouting system so he has to meet everybody and to explain how it works, that’s why it’s very time-consuming at the moment.”
Here we see Wenger not only belittle the highly acclaimed talent of Sven Mislintat but also claims former Barcelona chief Raul Sanllehi will find it hard to adjust to working at Arsenal. It’s clear we might assume here that Arsene Wenger is threatened by the new appointments made by the Arsenal board, but also the fact he is going out of his way to say these things shows he isn’t worried about upsetting his superiors either.
With all these statements said comes the news that Carlo Ancelotti is being reported to be taking over the reins in the summer from Arsène Wenger at Arsenal starting next season, with the Italian earning €10m per year on a four-year contract. (Corriere dello Sport) They also claim Arsenal made the offer for Ancelotti to take over from the start of the 2018/19 season in late November/early December, which subsequently made Ancelotti reject the Italy national team manager position.
Could all these ducks be lining up in a row, are we seeing the actions of a man finally leaving his post at Arsenal after 21 years at the helm? Maybe we may be saying au revoir Arsene and Ciao Carlo.
I got into football as a kid watching Italian football in the afternoons and ever since I’ve been hooked on tactics and the continental side of the game. I’ve written about Italian football in the past among other things but now it’s time to write about, the embodiment of how I see the beautiful game, Arsenal. Hopefully writing things and opinions about the game you haven’t seen before, I like a bit of a joke too.