Arsenal manager Arsène Wenger has reacted to criticisms over his team’s lack of defensive awareness by dismissing completely the entire notion of defending, a stance that is sure to come as no surprise to anyone who has visited the Emirates Stadium in the last nine years.
The Gunners were defeated 3-2 at home to Greek side Olympiacos in their recent Champions League tie, where a cavalier approach in attack combined with a complete lack of defending contributed to the surprise result.
Speaking ahead of Arsenal’s upcoming league tie at home to Manchester United, Wenger told reporters: ‘In the twenty years I have been at the club, I have worked hard to change our image from that of a dour side happy to win every game 1-0, to that of a free-flowing version of total football never before seen in this country. Has that come at the expense of what was the greatest back line ever put together? Absolutely. Was it totally necessary to do that? Most certainly. Defending, I don’t know, it’s just so gauche, and completely at odds with what I want to achieve’.
The 65-year-old continued: ‘All the time, entertainment must be our number one priority. What’s more exciting: watching Adams and Bould execute a perfect offside trap, or seeing David Ospina exposed when Per Mertesacker forgets that he’s a professional footballer again? At the game, a fan behind me jokingly said that even Gus Caesar would be an improvement to this side. I agree. A clown like him would fit in perfectly with this back four’.
When asked about possible tactics ahead of the titanic Premier League tie, Wenger replied: ‘Well, Mata’s in good form, and Martial’s banging them in for fun right now. I don’t want to reveal too much, but it is our intention to blare out the Benny Hill theme tune whenever United get within thirty yards of our goal’.
Arsenal’s defeat on Tuesday night was their second loss in their Champions League group this season, and it is considered unlikely that they will match their annual target of getting dumped out in the first knockout round by the first decent opponents they face.