Anorak News | Menage A Trois

Menage A Trois

by | 1st, February 2005

‘SO, Manchester United have fallen out with Arsenal. Arsenal have fallen out with Chelsea. And Chelsea have fallen out with Manchester United.

”But Gary doesn’t like anchovies?”

Relations between the three clubs at the top of the Premier League can surely never have been lower than they are at this time.

As Arsenal prepare to do battle (literally) with Alex Ferguson’s men tonight in a match that both team need to win to keep up the pressure on leaders Chelsea, the row over the supposed illegal approach to Ashley Cole rumbles on.

Arsene Wenger insists that the Blues must come clean over whether they did try to lure the England left-back to Stamford Bridge.

“It is up to Chelsea to clarify this,” he tells the Times, “and if it really happened – and it looks to me as if it did happen – it will be difficult for them to deny it.

“They can say ‘yes’ or ‘no’, then it is up to the Premier League.”

However, if Arsenal don’t beat United tonight, their only chance of retaining their title is likely to be if Chelsea are deducted points for ‘tapping up’ Cole.

And it is a sign of how worried Wenger is by the 10-point deficit that he is talking about Chelsea on the eve of such a big game.

“If you look at what Arsenal have won in the past eight years and what Chelsea have won, you will not be putting me in a position where I have to say ‘OK, Chelsea are the best, they have won everything’.

“You [the media] go with what everybody is saying that the force is with Chelsea. I go with reality.”

The reality is, according to the Telegraph, that Arsenal are likely to direct their anger at what happened at Old Trafford in October at Wayne Rooney.

Rooney fell under a challenge from Sol Campbell to win the penalty that ended Arsenal’s 49-game unbeaten run.

And Wenger said the England defender feels he was ‘done’ by the teenager.

Talking of talented teenagers, 18-year-old Newcastle centre Matthew Tait will make his international debut in Saturday’s Six Nations rugby match against Wales.

Injuries mean the teenager will line up next to club colleague Jamie Noon on the day before his 19th birthday in a back line that is short on experience.

However, Rob Andrew, director of rugby at Newcastle, warned against unrealistic expectations.

“Let’s not forget that this time last season,” he told the Indy, “he was still playing schoolboy rugby at Barnard Castle.

“He must be allowed time to develop at the highest level. We should not forget how far he has come in a short space of time.”

Indeed, the last 18-year-old to represent England was also from Newcastle – a certain Jonny Wilkinson. And he didn’t turn out too badly…’

Posted: 1st, February 2005 | In: Back pages Comment | TrackBack | Permalink