Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has blasted certain members of the football community in the wake of his side’s FA Cup win over Southampton, saying that many of them would like to see him “in jail somewhere without any heating”.
As reported in The Guardian, Wenger believes he is vilified by his critics to an unfair extent. The manager has been under fire from a variety of angles in recent weeks thanks to his outburst during his side’s game against Burnley on January 22nd.
The game in question witnessed Wenger pushing a fourth official, a crime so rare it is almost without precedent in the Premier League. He was also charged with using “abusive and/or insulting words” towards the official in question, Anthony Taylor. Ultimately Wenger will have to serve a four-match touchline ban and pay a fine of £25,000. Evidently, the Frenchman feels such sanctions are excessive.
Indeed, Graham Poll, a former Premier League referee, believes Wenger has nothing to complain about and even feels that the ex-Monaco boss “got off lightly”.
The endeavours of his players would surely have done something to lighten Wenger’s mood, however. They pulverised Southampton 5-0 and Theo Walcott helped himself to a hat-trick in the process. Unsurprisingly, Wenger was impressed by the performance.
“When you score goals it looks good from everywhere,” he said.
“It was good to watch, we had a good game, a good dynamic and we were always very dangerous against a young Southampton team.”
However, he couldn’t resist from making reference to the treatment he has received from the powers that be in the FA.
“I do not want to judge the judges. I got a sentence and I decided not to appeal to just get this behind me.
“For those who don’t like me, any sentence will be too lenient. They would like to put me in jail somewhere without any heating in the middle of winter – and that would still be lenient.”
Looking beyond the grievances of their coach, Arsenal did indeed show an impressive depth of quality in dismantling Southampton, as Wenger was quick to point out:
“You look at [Lucas] Pérez and Walcott and Danny Welbeck, and I have Sánchez on the bench as well, that exceptional quality,” he commented.
“For a long time we have not had that offensive quality available. The problem will now be to find the right combination and use them well in games, without destroying the balance of the team.”
With a trip to Stamford Bridge to look forward to this weekend, Wenger had better find the “right combination” sooner rather than later.
Colm Egan, Pundit Arena