Thursday, 16 September 2010

Allardyce is right to slam Wenger

Big Sam in his Sunderland playing days
Blackburn manager Sam Allardyce has accused Arsene Wenger of using the media to influence referees and make Arsenal players untouchable.  

The Gunners boss again hit out at heavy tackles on his players after Abou Diaby was injured against Bolton on Saturday.

Allardyce (left) said: "He's a very clever man in terms of influencing referees, officials and everybody in football.

"In saying people are trying to injure players he's trying, through the media, to influence referees."

Big Sam is absolutely right in this case. Bolton's Gary Cahill was sent off at the Emirates for that challenge which may well have resulted in only a yellow card with another referee.

Allardyce and Wenger have often clashed over their teams' style of play.

Sam and Dioufy reunited at Ewood
The Frenchman accused Allardyce's players of targeting his goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski at set-pieces during a 2-1 defeat at Ewood Park towards the end of last season.

Allardyce reignited their verbal feud, before Arsenal avenged that loss with a 2-1 win at Rovers in August, saying: "I have to remind Arsene about his team, which used to win the league, that was the dirtiest team in the league.

"If you cast your mind back to when they were winning the league, they had more sendings-off and bookings than anyone else."

And in his latest swipe, the former Bolton boss said: "Arsene is almost, almost, affecting the officials so that you can't tackle an Arsenal player.

"That's something he's very clever at working on and it's almost working in his favour, you can see that.

"There is a perception that we kick everybody and Arsenal's motivation is that you can't tackle us as you aren't supposed to." 
Wenger and Carlos Kickaball or somesuch.
There's definitely an arrogance to Wenger's comments. By insinuating rough play, he's comparing his Beautiful Game of pass and move, intricate skill and youthful touch with the barbarian spirit of lesser teams as he sees it.

But Allardyce insists that the days of players trying to injure their opponents are long gone.

"Wenger is deflecting attention from the situation which says the game of football is a contact sport. You have to try to win the ball at all costs and if someone doesn't get it quite right people get injured," he added.

"It was much more apparent in my day when people used to go out to try to hurt an opponent every week, but today it very rarely happens. 

"I completely deny that my team deliberately injures players, certainly not. In the Premier League the commitment and speed unfortunately brings players together at such pace that it's almost impossible to avoid injuries."

Wenger doesn't always see the other side of the argument.
Wenger said in his programme notes ahead of Arsenal's Champions League victory over Braga that Bolton goalkeeper Adam Bogdan should have been given a straight red card for his challenge on Diaby as the Gunners beat Allardyce's old club 4-1 on Saturday.

"My regret is that video evidence cannot be used in these cases afterwards," he said. 

"I can understand that the ref did not see it, because he was in a bad position, but frankly the Premier League should be in a position whether they can suspend players who do this kind of thing."

Earlier in the week, the Frenchman stated: "I love the way the English game is played in England, the one restriction has to be full commitment with the intention of going for the ball and only for the ball.

"Then, I prefer English football 10 times as much to the European game. The English game becomes dangerous when the players go to hurt each other."

They don't like each other. End of. Ne-e-e-e-xt!