It’s the footballing equivalent of a playground fight, except this time Arsene is the kid being picked on:
I believe we have to take the critics on the chin
And this kid is not for being picked on any more:
We live in a world where everyone can have opinions but it is people in a position of responsibility who make decisions. There is a big difference because people who make decisions have responsibilities for the longer-term of the club, for the survival of the club and for the financial resources of the club.
So, Yah Boo Sucks to you all who doubt the policies we follow. In other words, you are entitled to have an opinion but do not presume to tell me how to my job, (a) because it’s my job and (b) you do not have all the facts to hand, merely media presumptions and suppositions upon which to base your opinions. A bloodied nose for the bullies. Not content with that, he applied the boot whilst they were down:
I do not deny United deserved to go through over the two legs but we did not have an opportunity to show how good we are. Afterwards people always take definite conclusions but I believe the distance between the two teams is not as big as people make it today
That is where the opinions come into it. There is no doubt that a gap exists between the two clubs simply because United are in a more than decent position to retain – not just win, retain – the two major trophies for which they compete on an annual basis. Forget the trinkets such as World Club and European Super Cups, there are two very important trophies. They won them last season and there is no argument. Is it as big as we are led to believe?
Well there is a question for the answer can only come in the future. Arguments about how much money was spent last summer are to an extent, futile. The signing of Berbatov is not a universal success, he is more likely to end up compared to Birtles and Veron than Cantona or Law. Did Ferguson spend more wisely? The evidence suggests yes but does not take into account the injuries to key personnel that have been suffered by Arsenal.
Are they the core reason for the fourth place currently occupied in the league? Partially. However, inconsistency in the opening three months of the season was far more damaging when the squad was relatively strong. The crucial aspect of this season is that there has been no one, single, solitary reason for not realistically challenging for the Premier League title, not progressing to Rome or Wembley. The ‘exits’ have been for different reasons or any mix of them, highlighting the difficulties faced by those on the coal face over the course of the season, as opposed to us who sit in our comfy chairs and pontificate.
Wenger had an answer to Emmanuel Petit‘s criticisms:
At the end of the day, it is down to how strongly we believe in ourselves and how good I think the team is
And those in his squad who opined that new players might be needed:
If you ask the players in what position, you will never get their position. Every player wants to play with big names because it is reassuring
In short, leave me alone to get on with job. I will make the decisions about the squad in the summer.
A key matter is Robin van Persie‘s contract:
Why should we not [hold on to our best players]? I am hoping Robin will sign a new deal and I am trying very hard to get him to sign. I want Robin on board. He is a very important player in the squad and on the pitch he is a very efficient player.
And he is not beyond using emotional blackmail:
We want him to stay because we gave him a chance when he was in a very bad position at Feyenoord.
But praise was not far away:
I think he has developed well here and I don’t see a reason for him to go and he loves the Club.
The Dutchman stated recently that he was keen to sign and would probably be doing so in the close season. Whether he has any second thoughts is known only to him and until he offers his views, I am not going to believe media presumptions that he has been adversely affected by Tuesday night’s outcome.