Date:Thursday December 17 2009
Arsene Wenger's ever-present bitterness about being consistently outshone by Manchester United occasionally surfaces and when it does, it does it in a very ugly and at the same time unconvincing fashion. This time he attacked Wolves manager Mick McCarthy for daring to shuffle his squad after an exhausting defensive performance at White Hart Lane which left his players dead on their feet by the end of the 90 minutes.
"It`s sad, but what can I do about that? We will compete with Manchester United over 37 games instead of 38. I believe it is a problem for the international credibility of the Premier League for sure, but it`s not my problem, it`s a Premier League problem."
But it could get even worse in the future! There's this thing, it's called the Champions League group stage. Each participating team plays six games and occasionally it happens that some of them win their group with one or two games to go. Now imagine that the vile manager of one of these clubs dare to field a team with an average age of until 21 for their last game which, incidentally, is absolutely vital for their opponent and for another club which is still harbouring hopes of progressing to the next round.
Following me so far? Well, let's say that this very young team loses that game and their opponent goes through to the next round courtesy of this victory. That would be despicable, wouldn't it? It would mean that the runners up had to face the REAL group winners only once, unlike the other two teams who faced the full-strength side of the group's best team.
Oh wait, this did happen? You don't say? Yes, it was a certain Arsene Wenger who played a combination of fringe players and untested youngsters at Olympiakos in their final group game. Arsenal lost which ensured that Standard Liége - with two losses against Arsenal's strongest XI - would have had no chance of going through even if they had beaten AZ Alkmaar (which they did not but that's beside the point). After all, it's only the greatest dream of many players to play in the Champions League knockout stages, to face Barcelona or Real Madrid and the difference between elimination and progress is merely a few million pounds which is huge money for a Belgian club. But sending out that team did not harm the credibility of the CL, did it, Arsene?
Yes, all the top managers do it. But at least they are not complaining when others do it. By the way, Arsene, you should show a little respect to the eleven players fielded by Wolves: you know, they put up a good fight and didn't surrender meekly. Dismissing them like that (37-game season, really) is just wrong. They did not play their Academy side, after all.
Date:Thursday December 17 2009
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