Arsenal: ‘respectful’ Man United fan Gary Neville calls Wenger ‘arrogant, naive and insane’
Can Arsenal compete with the very best? In the Times, Gunners manager Arsène Wenger says that Uefa’s decision to relax its Financial Fair Play (FFP) rules means Arsenal cannot compete with the super-rich.
“What’s happened is the clubs threatened to go to civil court. That brought a lot of insecurity in the decision-making of Uefa, so they started to soften the rules a little bit… We continue to run our business with the resources we create, but they can put a hundred or two hundred on top.”
Chelsea, City and Manchester United, Arsenal’s closest rivals, have each spent in excess of £45 million during the summer. City and Chelsea have no need to balance the books. Arsenal have spent £10m.
Over to Gary Neville, who uses his Daily Telegraph column to attack Arsenal – earlier in the week he branded Wenger “arrogant“. From a TV studio in west London and his home office Neville is jostling for exposure with Premier League managers.
If this is my Alan Hansen moment (“you can’t win anything with kids”) then nobody will be more pleased than me. I would be delighted to see Arsenal disprove my criticisms of their playing style by winning the Premier League.
So says Manchester United fan Gary Neville. Do we believe that no-one will be more pleased than him to see Arsenal win the league? That question to you, Thierry Henry?
The Arsene Wenger teams of the last 10 years meanwhile have lacked the dominant personalities, strength and purpose of his earlier creations. You see the importance of these qualities at points in the season when you’re not playing well and need to win by a set-piece; the winter months when the Champions League bites and you find yourself with two or three injuries.
We cannot be blind to the hard facts of football over 30 or 40 years. Pure football has never prevailed, though I would be delighted to see it happen for Ozil, Ramsey, Sanchez, Giroud and Coquelin, who together can summon a great deal of technical ability but not much pace, power, height or strength. Giroud cannot challenge the space behind defenders. Coquelin is the only one amongst those who has any true defensive intelligence.
And then Neville, having made salient points (albeit ones made before), gets personal:
The definition of insanity, they say, is making the same mistake over and over again. My point was that the one black mark over Arsene Wenger is the change in the profile of players he has signed. I used the phrase “arrogant or naïve” – and the headlines that followed were all about arrogance. I was in no way trying to be disrespectful. It was more a statement of fact.
Not trying to be disrespectful – but succeeding, nonetheless.
If you refuse to change your ways – and those ways don’t take you to the top – naivety certainly comes into play.
Arrogant. Insane, Naive. The headlines write themselves.