Wenger amazed by Gallas furore

BY foxsports • January 22, 2010

Arsene Wenger cannot believe the furore which has surrounded William Gallas' tackle on Bolton midfielder Mark Davies - and is "absolutely amazed" nobody cares when Arsenal get kicked off the park.

Bolton manager Owen Coyle has admitted labelling the challenge, which left his player with ankle ligament damage, "akin to assault" in the immediate aftermath of Wednesday night's 4-2 defeat at Emirates Stadium was perhaps a "bit strong".

Gallas will not face any retrospective disciplinary action from the Football Association, as it is understood referee Alan Wiley viewed the challenge at the time as two players coming together when going for a 50/50 ball.

That, though, has not stopped the incident from being analysed over and over again, from every conceivable angle, with everyone happy to weigh in with an opinion.

Wenger, who issued an apology on the night for the foul, but stressed there was no intent, feels such focus is unnecessary.

"There was a bit of an overreaction with the way it was treated, yes," said Wenger.

"If it is a bad, malicious tackle I can understand that it is shown every half-an-hour, but the way that happened, it can happen every game.

"I said after the game if Gallas has injured the player, we are sorry, we will have a look at the tackle and if it is malicious we will come out and make a statement.

"We looked at it carefully and we saw that it was just a mistimed tackle.

"That is why we didn't see why such a story could flare up and make a national story if the intention of the player was completely right.

"I cannot say that all the tackles that we have got in the last two games were completely accidental.

"The problem in England is that the sensitivity of one media dictates what the whole country has to think and I raise big question marks over the competence and the objectivity of the guys who make these kind of decisions."

Wenger believes his players are often targeted by a physical approach as the only way to knock them off their passing game.

"Some people say before the games, 'we know how to play Arsenal. we have to kick them' - and nobody in the whole country is absolutely upset by that," Wenger declared.

"I am always absolutely amazed that people get away with that.

"When we get kicked and lose the game, the question I get from the press is 'oh, you did not fancy that.'

"Nobody is upset or shocked by it.

"They find when we are kicked, it is absolutely all right."

Wenger also maintains the incident surrounding Eduardo in their Champions League qualifier against Celtic, when the Croatia striker was charged by UEFA with diving to win a penalty before then having that overturned on appeal, means the Gunners do not get key decisions in the box.

"I can show you since the start of the season how many penalties we have been denied," said the Arsenal manager.

"We have one penalty since the start of the season, and we play always in the box of our opponents."

Arsenal went top of the Barclays Premier League, albeit only on goals scored, following their midweek win.

The Gunners are in FA Cup action this weekend, when they head to Stoke.

However, the fourth-round tie comes ahead of a crucial run of fixtures, which includes matches against Aston Villa, Manchester United, Chelsea and Liverpool.

Abou Diaby picked up a calf strain and will miss out, while full-back Bacary Sagna needs a rest because he had been playing with a shoulder problem.

Wenger will rotate his squad, meaning former captain Sol Campbell is likely to make a first appearance since re-signing on a short-term contract.

"I want to pick a team which is strong enough to win the game, without ignoring we are under immense physical demands in every single game and some players need to have a breather," Wenger said.

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