Arsene Wenger expects a few hard questions every now and then, especially when his Arsenal team are in a poor run of form or have suffered a bad result. The calm and collected Frenchman is finding it harder and harder to stay relaxed, however, in the face of increased pressure and what he sees as impertinence and bad journalism.
Yesterday he gave a press conference and was asked by one reporter whether the defeat by Bradford would affect Theo Walcott’s decision about staying at Arsenal and signing a new deal or moving on. If looks could kill, the journalist would be lying in an oak box right now.
“I don’t understand your way of thinking. I cannot see that. How should the Capital One cup impact on the desire of the player to be part of the long term future of the club?
Wenger has had to deal with accusations that he called `lies` about a rift between himself and his assistant Steve Bould this week. He stopped just short of storming out of his post match interview on Tuesday when asked if it was the most humiliating defeat of his Arsenal career, and he has abandoned any pretense of respecting the opinions of the people questioning him.
I can sympathise with him in a way. We all want answers to certain questions, but Wenger feels, as many before him have, that he deserves more respect from the media. Nobody, except the Sainted one of the purple nose, Alex Ferguson, gets to enjoy the respect that success and hard work should bring from the football media. They jump on a story and make assumptions without any basis in fact, then expect the managers to answer them happily.
The fact that Wenger’s temper is showing is, for me, a good sign. Hopefully he will channel that aggression and make sure the players know what is expected of them. Reading could be the recipients of a fierce backlash on Monday, just as West Brom saw a much better Arsenal after two dismal performances raised the pressure on the Gunners boss.