There was a lot of talk in the football media last week about Arsenal, or more specifically about our manager Arsene Wenger after the serialisation of a book about his fierce managerial rival Jose Mourinho contained some controversial statements about Wenger and Mourinho’s thoughts about him.
The ‘break his face’ comment is one thing and it is as clear as day that the mew Manchester United boss has a big problem with the prof and sometimes appears to take his longevity or even his existence as a personal affront. But the one about the supposed ‘revelation’ from inside the Arsenal dressing room about Wenger doing nothing in training to prepare the team for big games is something else.
It is ridiculous to say this about any manager under pressure to perform in the Premier League and especially about Wenger, who is believed to have a huge attention to detail and is said to control every aspect of the club, perhaps too much at times.
But while the idea of Wenger just letting the players work out their own tactics and preparations for a big game away to Man City seems daft, it is nice to see Arsenal stars of the past and future speaking out in support of the boss.
In one Metro report our former striker Ian Wright heaps praise on Wenger for his character as a person as well as his ability to manage and he suggests that it is the Frenchman’s dignity and pride that really winds Jose up.
Wrighty declared, ‘The only thing he can be criticised for is he’s too intelligent. He’s just got too much.
‘He came through the barren years with his dignity and pride intact – that’s why Mourinho cannot deal with how Arsene Wenger is, why Ferguson couldn’t.
‘He winds them up without saying anything. Look at what Ferguson did at Manchester United, but he would still look across to Arsene and feel aggrieved for some reason.
‘Mourinho’s won more and done more than us, but he’ll still look at Arsene and feel aggrieved, because Arsene is the embodiment of his own legacy.
‘He is football, he is what it’s all about. He’s why any of us do this. He’s all about the game in its purest sense and what he wants to bring out of his players is part of that game.
‘It’s not about personal stuff or individual awards: it’s about his players doing the best they can.
‘He’s not just a great man, he’s a really great bloke too.’
That is backed up Alex Iwobi, our young forward who looks to have a very bright future with Arsenal ahead of him, The Nigeria international also spoke about Wenger’s personality in another Metro report, while also making clear that his football insight and experience is vital to the club and the players. He also revealed how Wenger is working with him to make him a more complete player.
Iwobi said, ‘At the moment, because I’m not really the best at defending, he says I need to treat it how I treat attacking.
‘And that’s something that’s really rung true with me. I love attacking, but I hate defending and it’s something I need to add to my game.
‘He’s experienced, he knows about the Premier League, he knows about everything.
‘It’s such a great feeling to work for him, especially when he’s been at the club for 20 years and has worked with some class players.
‘To be involved with that is just crazy. He’s completely relaxed.
‘He’s a calm guy, an approachable guy and he knows what’s best for you.’
So there you go Jose, something else for you to get all twisted up about.