When teams come to kick Arsenal, they are praised for their hard-working efforts and their willingness to fight for every ball.
When Arsenal respond by refusing to be bullied and stand up to the physical game, they are deemed dirty.
Despite the fact that Arsenal are the victims of more challenges that receive red cards than anyone else in the Premiership, those opposition tactics are still praised, even when the referee agrees it has gone overboard.
Every time Arsenal receive a red card, a reminder is made of how many we’ve had under Wenger.
When Pires made sure he caught Stefanovic’s leg in an attempt to win a penalty a few years back, he was vilified. In fact, the reputation stuck with him for years, despite the fact he wasn’t even the worst diver in the Arsenal team.
When Robbie Savage throws his leg into Kolo Toure, it is written that he ‘appeared to be brought down‘. At least there are some journalists in the world who seem to see sense though, the Times labelling Savage a disgrace.
When Arsenal dominated sides for the second half of last season, but couldn’t score with Henry and Van Persie injured, they were a bunch of fancy-dans more interested in scoring the perfect goal.
Now that Man Utd have started the season dominating teams but not scoring, it is purely because Rooney and Ronaldo are out (despite the fact that both have actually played this season).
When Wenger says that his team are innocent, the media claim he is myopic and wrong.
When Mourinho claims he has ‘no divers and no cheats’ in his team, he is……called an idiot. Okay, so at least they see sense there.
When Henry is challenged in the World Cup and goes down clutching his face when there was no contact there, he is criticised for months.
When Savage goes down clutching his face after no contact, dives later in the game, commits eights fouls, and attempts an amateur dramatics rant repeatedly, his passion is applauded and his histrionics ignored by media and pundits alike.
I realise this may come across as sour grapes, but that’s fine. I think it’s partly because we like to support the underdog in this country so much that so many tactics they use are accepted, no matter how related they are to anti-football. But those that dish it out can’t seem to take it. To hear Mark Hughes bleating about Van Persie’s challenge (which wasn’t even that bad) is laughable.
So I’m happy. I’m glad that Arsenal of this season seem willing to give back what they’ve taken for the past few years. It is refreshing.
But you can guarantee that the first time a red card is dished out, the team will be slated again, by the same media who currently label them as weak.