By Walter Broeckx
Martin O’Neill was angry at Arsène Wenger because (and I quote what Wenger has said)
“They [Aston Villa] play a very efficient English game, with long balls and it is very physical. They are a good side at counter attacking. When we took the gamble to go forward and they won the ball, they are quick and that is why it was always us managing to create chances and score, or them catching us on the counter attack or playing on Agbonlahor or Heskey with long balls.”
Let’s take this sentence by sentence.
They play a very efficient English game, with long balls and it is very physical.
So our manager is giving a compliment to Villa for playing efficient. Nothing wrong with that. At Arsenal we may like our play on the ground game but in England lots of teams played and still play with the long ball and I think it is fair to say that playing a long ball is part of the English game. Now it could be that Martin O’Neill has a grudge against the word English but if someone said to me that I’m efficient in what I do I consider this to be a good thing.
They are a good side at counter attacking. Again I see Wenger only telling that Villa are a good side and that they are good in counter attacking. I really can’t see what is wrong with this. Counter attack is part of the game. All teams do it and some teams have the players to do this better than others. We have played great counter attacks and if Walcott is fit he can do a great job in this. So I don’t see anything wrong in this again.
When we took the gamble to go forward and they won the ball, they are quick and that is why it was always us managing to create chances and score, or them catching us on the counter attack or playing on Agbonlahor or Heskey with long balls.
The game I saw for the last half our or so was that Villa crept back to their goal and we attacked more. If it was due to our strength or due to their tactics I don’t know. But in the last half hour the most that Villa did was kick the ball out of their defence at many occasions.
So Arsenal went forward to win the game. I’ve seen this with my own eyes. And when they got the ball they kicked it up field to Agbonlahor who was chasing the ball many times. Or they kicked the ball to Heskey in the air in the hope he could do something with it.
O’Neill said about Wenger’s words: “If that is what he (Wenger) saw tonight, that is as ridiculous a statement as I’ve heard. He has made a few ridiculous statements in his time here and that is probably as good as any. That is only an annoyance at the end of it all. Anyone who saw the game wouldn’t take that viewpoint. But it is an appalling insult.”
Now I cannot understand what O’Neill finds insulting. Is it the word ‘long ball’ and that is just the way they won at the Emirates last season? They played a few long balls we couldn’t cope but is this something insulting? Is playing the game in an efficient manner insulting? Or is playing physical insulting? I don’t see something insulting. Is counter attacking insulting? Or is the last sentence of O’Neill’s diatribe insulting?
I think it is just Wenger’s point of view and according to O’Neill no one who saw the game would take that viewpoint. Now maybe he can say that because the game was not shown live on TV in the UK and you really can’t make it up in only seeing the highlights of the game.
But I can say Mr. O’Neill that I saw the game live on TV and that you did play the long ball to Agbonlahor and Heskey at many occasions. So I can agree on the comments made by Wenger. So hey there is also another one who agrees with “that viewpoint”.
But it would be very good for you to point out what exactly is the insulting bit in the 3 sentences that Wenger said. Or is it just the word “English” that you find insulting? Or is it just that you want to join the rest of the pundits who pick on anything Wenger does and says? If so then what are you looking for? A nice tap on the shoulder from Alan or Alan?
I for one think that the words you address to Wenger are far more insulting than his honest analysis of the game he saw. Saying that someone is ridiculous that is what I call an insult.
Well maybe I could say that you said something ridiculous by saying what you said.
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