With the FA Cup third round replays going on this week, the pick of the ties see
Leeds hosting Arsenal after their 1-1 draw at the Emirates two weeks ago. I just wanted to voice my opinion on the claims made by Fabregas that Ipswich played “more like a rugby team” and other comments made by Arsene Wenger and various other Arsenal players in the past about how teams take an unfairly robust approach against them.
This really annoys me as there is nothing that says that teams have to go to the Emirates and play how Arsenal want them to. I would suggest that there are three things that determine how a team plays and their approach to any given game. One: the philosophy that the club would like to impart on their team; how they would ideally like to play football. Two: the tactics that the manager chooses to get the best performance out of his team, whilst stifling the opposition threat. Three: the laws of the game.
The final point is perhaps the most significant in the case of Wenger’s arguments in that teams are required to play within the laws of the game. Failure to do so will result in free kicks, yellow cards and so on. So however “robust” a game is, it must ultimately be within the laws of the game.
To be fair, this is not a criticism levelled only at Arsene Wenger, many managers in the past have attacked the way other teams play, most often Stoke or
Blackburn. This is where points one and two come in really. If a team plays like that week in, week out then it could be conceivably argued that this style is part of their philosophy. I would not go that far as I believe that the managers of these clubs must have some desire to play passing football however with the resources at their disposal these ‘stronger’ tactics are sometimes the best option that they have of doing the most important thing in football; picking up three points.
Overall, I think that players and managers need to have a little bit more grace in defeat and respect for the opposition. The referee governs the game and what is and isn’t acceptable and at the end of the day, a muscular win picks you up just as many points as winning using only one and two touch football.