Someone Needs to Teach Arsene about Respect

For the second time in as many weeks, Arsene Wenger is being accused in the press of being disrespectful. The first accusations were leveled by Mark Hughes after Wenger refused to shake his hand following Hughes disgraceful behavior at Eastlands during the Carling Cup Quarterfinal. Now, following Arsenal’s 1-nil defeat in Athens on Wednesday evening, Matthias Sammer is quoted by FourFourTwo as saying:

I’m disappointed about what Arsene Wenger did. It’s the Champions League, one of the most important competitions worldwide, and he plays with a bunch of Kindergarten players. The UEFA rules allow him to do so but I can’t respect it. You have to pay a bit more respect to the Champions League.

These statements by Sammer are absolutely ridiculous. No manager in European football has a greater respect for the competition. No manager in Europe desires to win the Champions League as much as Arsene Wenger. The “bunch of kindergarten players” he fielded on Wednesday embarrassed a fully mature Olympiakos side for much of the match and fell victim to one mistake by an 18-year old making his first appearance for the senior side and whom otherwise had an impressive debut.

After the previous week’s Carling Cup tie with Manchester City, Arsene left the pitch without shaking Hughes hand. Here’s what he had to say about it:

I will [shake hands]when people behave properly, but I am not a slave of the ceremonial. I have my freedom and my views. I feel the ceremonial is important but it’s not the most important. The most important is how you behave.

I do not regret one second of what I did. When I do something, I know what will hit me afterwards but it’s more important that I feel I behaved like I think is right. I don’t deny that I am a bad loser but on this occasion I would have done exactly the same if we had won. I knew at half-time what I would do.

Sometimes in England you feel the ceremonial is more important than the real thing. In this case, I am the only one who is questioned. I am here for 13 years, nobody wonders why I reacted like that. That means you can say what you want, insult everybody but if, at the end you do what is [expected], you are perfect.

Afterwards, Hughes tried to take the high road, apparently not realizing that everyone saw him yelling, and cursing according to Wenger, at the Arsenal manager and even, at one point, invading Arsene’s technical area. It’s just another manifestation of Mark Hughes’ Big 4 Inferiority complex. All season long he has felt the need to stir up trouble in the press with Alex Ferguson, making himself look like a complete fool in the process. Now, it was Arsene’s turn.

Hughes has the mistaken belief that being the manager of a possibly top six side gives you the right to act like a complete cunt. The petty nature of Hughes and his media arguments is beneath both Arsene and Ferguson and is just more proof that Hughes is out of his depth when dealing with managers of top caliber. Hughes is still the same mediocre manager he was at Blackburn. The only difference is the quality and quantity of the players he has at his disposal. At City, he has built a collection of players but not a team.

One cannot help but wonder where all the hatred for Arsene stems especially including Michel Platini, whom has long-thought Wenger to be his arch-rival. While his critics have shown themselves to be highly disrespectful time and time again, Arsene Wenger has always respected the game of football and those in it whom deserved that respect.