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Wenger finds defeat hard to swallow

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Phil McNulty | 02:04 UK time, Thursday, 3 December 2009

Arsenal did not cover themselves in glory as they slipped tamely out of the Carling Cup at Manchester City - a defeat compounded by the post-match attitude of manager Arsene Wenger.

Wenger has had better weeks after watching both his team and football philosophy take heavy punishment as Chelsea brutally exposed his senior players at the Emirates and his youngsters were brushed aside at an atmospheric Eastlands on Wednesday.

But there was no excuse for his churlish refusal to shake hands with opposite number Mark Hughes at the conclusion of a quarter-final deservedly won by City, or his later public belittling of the tournament.

Wenger has lavished many gifts on the game since his arrival at Arsenal, but grace in defeat has not been one of them. This was the latest example of a darker side to his football personality.

City deserved all the praise and the spotlight after progressing to their first major semi-final in 28 years, and yet Wenger managed to offend Hughes and claim headlines by refusing to observe even the basic managerial protocol at the final whistle.

Mark Hughes and Arsene Wenger Hughes and Wenger had a difference of opinion on the touchline during the game

Hughes is not exactly behind the door when it comes to the finer points of technical area combat, but he had both the result and the moral high ground to himself thanks to Wenger turning on his heel and marching off in high dudgeon without acknowledging his victorious opposite number.

The dismissive and ironic wave Hughes aimed in Wenger's decision as he swept down the Eastlands tunnel only highlighted the pettiness of the Arsenal manager's gesture.

Wenger had already raised eyebrows with a refusal to accept Chelsea's supremacy in Sunday's 3-0 win at the Emirates, threatening to produce some form of statistical spreadsheet to confirm his theory, while insisting Didier Drogba had done little - apart from actually winning the game for Carlo Ancelotti's side.

Here, there was no statistic to turn to or refereeing error to debate - so sadly this most intellectual of managers and men was simply reduced to the status of a sore loser and, rather like his youthful and well beaten Arsenal team, it was not a pretty sight.

Wenger was spectacularly unrepentant under questioning later as he said: "I'm free to shake hands with who I want after the game."

And when asked whether it was not simple professional courtesy to do so, he responded: "I had no professional courtesy." Shoddy stuff.

Hughes believes what he regarded as a minor technical area spat in the first half was at the root of the rancour - but Wenger's reaction, like watching a fine wine turn sour, did him no credit.

Wenger was in equally unequivocal mood when I asked him about the worth of the Carling Cup to a manager who has not won a trophy since 2005 and yet appears happy to sacrifice the chance of a Wembley appearance for the sake of giving his young players experience.

He said: "We have not won a trophy since 2005 but I don't concede that if we win the Carling Cup we can then have a parade with the trophy. It is a competition for our young players. To play the quarter-final of the Champions League, or the semi-final or final, is 10 times more difficult than to win the Carling Cup."

The trouble is Arsenal have not won the Champions League either. Their supporters might actually enjoy the opportunity of a major Wembley final and Wenger's supply of silverware has not been so lavish recently that he can afford to be as picky. He is not exactly a beggar when it comes to winning trophies, but he has not had enough recent success to be a chooser either.

If Arsenal were to win the Carling Cup there is little doubt Wenger would produce it as a prime exhibit in the vindication of his devotion to developing young talent, so he should not denigrate it when they get knocked out.

Arsenal cannot live forever on promises of potential or jam tomorrow. By dismissing the Carling Cup in such a cavalier manner, Wenger is training his sights even more clearly on the Premier League, Champions League and the FA Cup and recent evidence suggests at least two of those trophies are beyond the compass of his current squad.

Wenger has his methods and will not be moved from them, but recent performances suggest that while his principles hardly require consigning to the dustbin, they need a rethink if trophies are to return to Arsenal.

As I have written here before, I am a huge admirer of Wenger as a manager who wants the game played in a purist manner and has principles he adheres to fixedly. He is also a hugely engaging figure when dealing with the media, declining to dodge questions and with a great sense of humour.

He has, however, developed a reputation as someone who simply cannot take defeat and this was a particularly poor example.

Sir Alex Ferguson, to name but one of many we could identify, detests the very thought of losing and often reacts badly, but he can still bring himself to shake hands with the opposition manager. Imagine how Hughes himself must have felt when confronted by Ferguson after losing the Manchester derby in the sixth minute of stoppage time this season, but he still sought out his old manager.

Hughes was rightly delighted with City's performance, a positive and bristling effort that was in sharp contrast to the negativity and timidity of their recent display at Liverpool. And how they made a nonsense of Wenger's downgrading of the Carling Cup.

Vladimir WeissVladimir Weiss celebrates after scoring City's third goal against Arsenal

Forget the placing of flags on seats - City's hierarchy should be aware their wonderful fans do not need props to provoke their passion for the club - because there was no need for artificial stimulants. This was a night to savour for City as they saw a Wembley final come into sight once more.

The dimming of Eastlands' lights while a "Blue Moon" illuminated the stadium in the seconds before kick-off was a clever touch though, and had the desired dramatic effect.

City, in reality, had little trouble dealing with a young Arsenal team that showed little of the quality that Wenger hopes will mark them down as the new golden generation of the Emirates.

Craig Bellamy was in the sort of mood where he could cause a fight in an empty room, but harnessed all his emotion to the good. Shaun Wright-Phillips terrorised Arsenal down the right-flank and Emmanuel Adebayor set aside his personal differences with his old club to strain every sinew in his effort to provide a focal point for his new one.

Carlos Tevez's brilliant solo opener knocked the stuffing out of Arsenal and further strikes from Wright-Phillips and Vladimir Weiss gave the scoreline a flourish City deserved.

And then came the added bonus - or at least that is what Hughes said it was - of a two-legged semi-final meeting with Manchester United.

Dare Ferguson risk fielding a youthful side and risk giving the club he called "noisy neighbours" even more reason to have a party on his doorstep?

There was a lively bash at Eastlands at the final whistle on Wednesday - but Wenger left without even offering his best wishes to the host and in doing so did himself no favours.

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  • Comment number 1.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 2.

    Not an Arsenal Supporter but over the years have grown to respect Wenger and the way Arsenal play. However the disrespect he has shown here is a clear sign for me he is feeling the pressure and unfortunately my opinion of him has gone down. As a fan, I would also be very frustrated if my team did not put out a side capable of winning especially as you're so close to the final. A Wembley final and trophy will placate most supporters given the top 2's dominance - even in the Carling Cup

  • Comment number 3.

    Did you not watch the match Phil? At the end Wenger walked over towards Hughes, but Hughes pointedly turned his back on him and shook hands with several other people, before turning back expecting Wenger to be stood there patiently waiting. I think he was quite right to storm down the tunnel, the way Hughes turned his back was childish and rude. As the BBC's chief football writer I would have expected you to at least watch the match and form your own opinion, not just publish Hughes' drivel as fact.

  • Comment number 4.

    Wenger's absolutely brilliant but I think it is bad form not to observe such civilities. I myself am a terrible loser and while I appreciate how supportive he is of the team and how passionate he gets, as well as how frustrating losing can be, he is a big public figure and as such has a duty to young fans. The players themselves are never allowed to get away with unsporting behaviour since it sets a bad example, so why should the managers? Moreover, it's not just fans that can be influenced by this, but also Wenger's young charges at the club itself.
    Still, here's hoping that he doesn't have to get so frustrating again because we win all our remaining matches. Unfortunately I don't see us getting any silverware again this season, much as I hate to say it. I'm living in China at the moment and I had to stay up till 3am to watch the Chelsea match. Wish I hadn't.

  • Comment number 5.

    i agree with LABSAB9, your report suggests that you did not actually watch the game. City were the better side on the night but to say " city deserve all the praise" is foolish. They came out traps and were more incisive with their play, but i feel the young players froze in the first 20 mins. Many times, when under no pressure, they gave the ball away or picked the wrong pass. And with Vela playing he lone role it was always going to be hard to get support up to him as he is not strong enough to hold the ball up. I thought he played well, with some intelligent runs though.

    It is obvious that Traore is not a left back, he is far more comfortable on the wing and i even saw him turn a good performance for Pompey last season away to Spurs as a second striker! Wright-Phillips had him toast and that caused an element of fear to creep into our game.

    From the moment the first goal went in, we dominated play, but like the first team, we failed to put the ball in the net, even though we had some haf chances. City then hit us on the counter attacking and the defending for the third was near comical.

    This was not a commanding performance from city that swept all before them, however much Hughes would like to think it was. I slated them yesterday, but i can see the Man Utd youth players with the few experienced players thrown in, getting through to the final.

  • Comment number 6.

    Here here Andy Clark - Spot on.

  • Comment number 7.

    Very surprised at Arsene not shaking hands & compounding it in the interview afterwards with his comments. Not the greatest week Arsenal have ever had. With RVP out too, it is imperative they show some mettle against Stoke on Saturday.

  • Comment number 8.

    It is disappointing that a manager of Arsene Wenger's stature could behave like that. I didn't see the match personally, but upon reading various articles and blogs on the match, one can only conclude that Wenger was behaving as if he was as old as the average age of the team he fielded.

    As a Manchester Utd supporter though, this gives us another oppurtunity to show Citeh who's boss, and knock them out of this competition. I really do think a few extra "senior" players will be needed to bolster the side, as Citeh aren't a push over by any means.

    Lets hope we get Blackburn in the final!

  • Comment number 9.

    Good blog, spot on!


    Right, shaking a someones hand isn't a given, and is a matter of choice, if Wenger decided not to then thats his decision. Im sure there are reasons why he did not, but alas you couldn't possibly fathom there being a reason because all football personel should join in with a love fest after the game.

    As for no trophy since 05....well done, as has been pointed out by many "pundits/football writers" (i use that very loosely) Arsenal havent won since, we spend no money, Wenger is useless, the youth team policy is flawed etc etc
    As Wenger states every year the Carling cup is for the "kids" so why do a Chelsea and rely on big hitters from the bench and still lose!
    Arsenal are not Tottenham, they do not wish to win the Carling Cup and parade around like Champions, then release a DVD and merchandise.

    I think some research on your part would be nice, i have a feeling most posters on here could write a better article than the one i have just subjected myself to reading!

    By the way read Arsenal:The making of a super club.....then come back to the article

  • Comment number 10.

    Wenger's comments smack of a manager who is losing the plot. After seeing his team crushed by Chelsea at the weekend, yesterday's result looks as if it's also dawned on him that his youngsters aren't actually that good.

    He made delusional comments about the Chelsea game when everyone could see that Arsenal were overpowered and overrun by a stronger and more tactically astute Chelsea side, and last night they were taken apart by Man City.

    While no one should enjoy losing, it's common decency and respect to shake hands with the opposition manager no matter what the result.

    If managers can bring themselves to shake hands after losing cup finals etc, then I'm sure Wenger could have managed to shake hands with Hughes after a Carling Cup quarter final that judging by his comments, he didn't care about anyway.

    His attitude says differently to his comments, he clearly did care and I think he was surprised at how easily Man City dismantled Arsenal, in the same way that he was full of bitterness after Spurs beat his young team 5-1 a couple of seasons ago.

    I don't think Arsenal are in a position to be picking and choosing which competitions to win. And ironically, their last major final was the Carling Cup in 2007, and Wenger didn't seem so derisive then.

    He's also right that the Champions League is ten times harder than the Carling Cup, but unfortunately, Arsenal's first team is not ten times better than it's reserves. In my opinion this is the beginning of the end for Wenger as his grand strategy starts to unravel and consequently, Arsenal as a major force.

  • Comment number 11.

    Re: LABSAB9

    Agreed about adebayor - he did very little throughout the game, the rest of the team worked their socks off. Not sure where phil has got his opinion from...

    Re: Andy Clark

    I'm sorry but I didn't see that at all, as far as I remember hughes walked over to the arsenal tech area and wenger had already left. If he was prepared to shake his hand he wouldn't have replied with "I can shake hands with whom I wish" when asked about it...

  • Comment number 12.

    Sorry Andy...Arsene Wenger confirmed in his after-match interviews that he chose not to shake hands with Mark Hughes.

    He said: "I'm free to shake hands with who I want after the game."

    And when asked whether it was not simple professional courtesy to do so, he responded: "I had no professional courtesy."

    He certainly had every opportunity to suggest he tried to shake hands with Hughes, as you suggest, but not a bit of it.

    I can understand a manager feeling sore after a defeat, but not shaking the hand of the opposing manager is pretty basic stuff and Wenger not doing this with Hughes deserves criticism.

  • Comment number 13.

    Arsene Wenger - no class, just showed himself to be an ass.

    But Arsenal and Wenger being bad losers is no surprise just disappointly a football fact.

    We will see on this blog the usual Arsenal tripe, defending Henry, defending Wenger's bad manners and disrespect.

    Arsenal as a club have been a disgrace this season, their supporters rioting at the City of Manchester Stadium, Fabregas and Horton and n ow Wenger.

    Loads of respect for Wenger disappeared last night, a whinging bad loser got his deserts.

  • Comment number 14.

    Can't blame Wenger on this occasion. Why would he want to give city credit? Who respects what is going on there?

  • Comment number 15.

    Is anyone really surprised by this? From the worst loser in football?
    He seems to instil the same attitude in his players - Worst example being Henry's awful display to the cameras directly after defeat in the CL final. There is a lot to be admired in a winning mentality but it's all lost when you lose like a child.
    Suck it up.

  • Comment number 16.

    I wasn't Wengers finest moment last night. Even if he didn't want to shake Mark Hughes hand afterwards a cursory attempt for appearances sake would have sufficed.

  • Comment number 17.

    Can't be bothered with Wenger.. I admire his stance about spending money and not being held to ransom but blending youth in should be exactly that.. playing a few players here and there and not just throwing a collection of 7 to 10 players into a match.. getting put out of a cup competition 3-0 is not good preparation for any young player..

  • Comment number 18.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 19.

    As Wenger says, he is free to shake (or not shake) hands with whomever he wants. He has neglected to do so many times before so its hardly big news, is it?
    He and Hughes clearly do not like each other so why fake it, I say.
    City deserved to win, but lets face it they were at full strength and at home, so if they didnt it would have been a shocker for them.
    And as Andy Clark (3.,above) has pointed out - Hughes actions were just as rude if not worse, especially the wave gesture down the tunnel after Arsene had gone.
    Personally, I wouldnt have shaken hands with Hughes either.
    Especially not when it would mean having to look at his Mr Punch face grinning victoriously

  • Comment number 20.

    Firstly I have to agree with a lot of the sentiment about your blog Phil, it seems you have a soft spot for Man City this season just because they've come into the money, last season you weren't interested in them at all. Some accurate, unbiased writing please, as license fee payers its the least we deserve especially as we've had to put up with your pro-Liverpool agenda for years now.

    I really feel Arsenal should of gone for this game a bit more. The side they put out did ok considering City fielded their strongest team but this could of been Arsenal's best chance at that elusive trophy this season. On their day they are capable of beating any team but Chelsea who are out. I can't see them winning the FA Cup, I'm not even convinced they will make it beyond the third round with their tie away to West Ham.

    As for Wenger's reaction after the game, it was a nothing story blown out of proportion once again by you Phil as you so often do. The man is free to do what he wants and react how he wishes. I don't see any mention of Bellamy's foul mouthed tirade that were captured by the cameras at half time. Make up your mind Phil, Liverpool or Man City?

  • Comment number 21.

    To all the posters who think that wenger was well within his footballing rights to not shake hughes' hand - remember one thing, he shakes the hand of the spurs manager whether they win or lose, him not doing it last night shows a deliberate act of contempt.

    In regards to saying the carling cup isn't worth much, maybe if more teams actually played first teams in this tournament people would take it more seriously? Spurs and chelsea played full first teams in their final, chelsea and liverpool did in theirs aswell and it was a better tournament for it!

  • Comment number 22.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 23.

    "But there was no excuse for his churlish refusal to shake hands with opposite number Mark Hughes at the conclusion of a quarter-final deservedly won by City" - oh dear this is very lazy journalism Phil, I can't believe you would criticise Wenger without reviewing the behaviour of both managers during the game. Wenger actually made the honourable decision to decline a handshake.

    I could not put it better than Arseblogger:

    "If people want to label Wenger a sore loser then fine. Frankly I thought Hughes behaviour on the touchline was appalling all night. Like a big blustering bully he prowled around, baiting Wenger, swearing at him, and basically behaving like an oaf of the highest order - then he complains at the end when a handshake is refused him? What a ****. Honestly, if you behave like a **** then people will treat you like a **** and Hughes got exactly the kind of respect he deserved - none.

    People talk about it being etiquette and all that but if you show someone discourtesy for 90+ minutes and behave like an oik why on earth should they feel obliged to shake your hand just because it's custom to do so? I'm with Wenger on this one, Hughes was a *****. The easy option would have been for Arsene to shake his hand, with cameras looking on and pundits and columnists ready to have a go it's a more difficult decision not to. For me the bottom line if you behave with even a modicum of respect and manners then you will get a handshake at the end of the game - from Arsene Wenger or any other manager. If you don't then you're nothing more than a hypocrite if you complain afterwards. Like Hughes did."

  • Comment number 24.

    I wonder if there is any correlation with all four southern sides being knocked out and my email to the BBC not so long ago about relations between the BBC and SAF?

    One would sincerely hope not, since if there were, it would be irrefutable evidence of endemic match fixing within English football.

    Either that or I have second sight.....

  • Comment number 25.

    I take all your points about Mark Hughes and how he is not averse to making his point in the technical area, but let's not paint Arsene Wenger as a paragon of virtue here.

    Don't forget he had a toe-to-toe with Martin Jol (a brave man Arsene) at Highbury in April 2006 because he was upset at a goal Robbie Keane scored for Spurs and he has also become involved with Sir Alex Ferguson on the touchline before.

    Yes Hughes can get involved, but the idea Wenger does not either is faintly ludicrous.

  • Comment number 26.

    Let's just point one thing out. There's such a thing as being a good winner as well as being a good loser - and Mark Hughes can hardly claim the moral high ground here.
    Hughes, after spending the whole game swearing and trying to make the ref send an Arsenal player off (it could be clearly heard on Sky "You should have booked him!"), then decides to make an issue of Wenger not shaking hands. That's not exactly classy behaviour.
    Don't get me wrong - Wenger should have shaken hands. But Hughes should not have gone on record complaining about Wenger's behaviour, either.
    Frankly, they are BOTH behaving like kids.

  • Comment number 27.

    hughes is completely loathesome, he will regret behaving as he does with city, as when they relieve him of his duties, he will have plenty of enemies around the footballing world, and no power or money to back him up.

    wenger is a human being, and as he stated, he is entitled to shake hands with whom he wishes

  • Comment number 28.

    Whilst I won't condone not shaking hands-does it matter after the way Hughes also acted. I also ask the question did you actually watch the game.
    It would appear from your comments at best you watched highlights-listening to the game and watching as I do-sad I know-but it does appear that Arsenal were not overrun in the way you have claimed.
    As LABSAB9 states I am not condoning Wengers behaviour but i also can't condone poor journalism from a "supposed" senior writer for the BBC.

  • Comment number 29.

    The parochialism of some fans is astounding. How can any Arsenal fan justify Wenger showing such a display of poor sportsmanship. If my manager did that I'd be disgusted.

    Unless something was said that was racist, sexist or disparaging to one's family or a similar kind of comment, there's no excuse not to shake hands after the game. I generally have great respect for Wenger. (Note to all Liverpool fans- compare Wenger's spend to Rafa's in the last 5 years, gross or net, and see what quality man management is about). But this action is the mark of a petulant child

  • Comment number 30.

    No surprise Arsenal fans are defending Wenger - I would expect no less - but he was in the wrong not to shake hands, and his attempt to gloss over the emphatic defeat against Chelsea once again showed how hard he finds it to accept a straightforward, and deserved, loss.

    Just on another point, was he right to field such a young side when he has not won a trophy since 2005?

    And to LABSAB9...I would have thought it was fairly obvious, but I can confirm I did watch the match. Arsenal were well beaten and I thought Emmanuel Adebayor led the Manchester City line with plenty of energy.

  • Comment number 31.

    First off, I have to say that while I'm not a gooner, I certainly have an affection for them, like most neutral purists.

    Second, I quite agree that you should offer your hand at the end of a game -at whatever level- in spite of the result, but waiting for a man who endorsed the deliberate stamping on another player to finish celebrating is asking a bit much. I lost the remaining respect I had for Hughes in the wake of Adebeyorgate, perhaps Wenger did too. (At least Wenger would have had the "professional courtesy" to not see it.

    Today's blog. Phil, Wenger uses the Carling Cup to give experience of big nights to his young players so when they play in the first team, on a champions league night say, they are not overawed. That is not "denigrating" the tournament. It is using his squad to maximise the liklehood of winning an important trophy, this year, the next, or the year after that.

    Of course if he won it with his kids he would "produce it as a prime exhibit in the vindication of his devotion to developing young talent", but that is all. He would still be using it as a way of helping his players win the big trophies. By suggesting that this method is denigrating the tournament, whether they've been knocked out or not, is somewhat foolish of you.

    Did you watch the game last night Phil? "Adebayor set aside his personal differences with his old club to strain every sinew in his effort to provide a focal point for his new one". No he didn't. He jogged around trying to be everyone's mate while barely breaking a sweat.

    "Carlos Tevez's brilliant solo opener knocked the stuffing out of Arsenal". That's why Arsenal dominated the next ten minutes (at least)? Remember Vela twice was slipped through to be (very) marginally offside, Ramsey missed two chances etc..?

    "Wenger has his methods and will not be moved from them, but recent performances suggest that while his principles hardly require consigning to the dustbin, they need a rethink if trophies are to return to Arsenal."

    Talk about reactionary!! I expect better from a chief football writer. Based on "recent performances", I think people would bet against anything you predict!!

    Finally, and I'm sure I'll get some stick for this, but what DID Drogba do in the Chelsea Arsenal game, other than the goals? Yes he took them well, yes he was difficult to tackle etc, but did he create anythign for anyone else? (the answer is: nothing of note); did he miss any other chances? No. So?

    I wasn't too disheartened by Arsenal's performance against Chelsea - and neither were the gooners I know. Chelsea had two attacks in the first half and scored with both, Arsenal lacked cutting edge but continued to try throughout the game. Second half, Chelsea could sit back and pick them off on the counter - just as United did in last year's chmapions league semi at the emirates. People said it was "men against boys" then too. At least those 'boys' kept having a go til the end, rather than shutting up shop and not risking a bigger loss, like the vast majority of sides would have done.

  • Comment number 32.

    Fair blog.
    Phil must have watched the match live (at least on TV) as he was providing input to the live text feed on the BBC website.

    Only saw the highlights, but City clearly had more about them. Arsenal may have had more posession, but were playing pretty football with no penetration (as is often the case).

    Wenger took his typical sore loser attitude to a new level last night. There is no excuse for that type of behaviour from managers and it sets a very bad example to his young players.

    I'm sure Sparky will shake hands with SAF after City lose the SF :)

  • Comment number 33.

    Hear hear Andy Clark.

    The problem with people like Phil McNulty & his press contemporaries is that they only respect you if you decide not to speak to them like Alex Ferguson does, whereas Wenger regarless of whether he looses or not grants interviews after each match.
    I wish Wenger will stop speaking to the press after matches and send his assistant as Alex Ferguson, Harry Rednapp, Sam Aladice have done to the BBC for so long. I also wish he'd stop speaking to Skysports in particular who are so Anti-Arsenal it's unbelievable!,what with Jamie Redknap sitting there defending Surs & anything his dad does.
    Anyone who watched the match (obviously Phil didn't) can see how the issue developed...
    Mark Huges had been jumping up and down out of his technical area on more than one occasion provocatively into Wenger's technical area and once to control a ball. Arsene notified the 4th official Phil Dowd, and Mark Hugues immediately lambasted Arsene (you dont need to lip read to know he used some foul mouthed language) and was so disrespectfuil to Arsene it was unbelieveable!!!. We've seen the same action from Steve Bruce against Benitez,Moyes did same to Wenger, Hull's manager dis same to Wenegr,& of course their is Sam Aladice who at at opportunity to play Arsenal act like he wants to fight Wenger.Yet ,i say yet, none of these guys ever do the same to Alex Ferguson, why?
    Now this isn't the first time Mark Hugses has acted provocatively towards Wenger & the only way Wenger can show his disgust at Mark Hughes actions is not to shake his hands.
    What is the point in shaking someone's hands if you geniunely don't mean it?? That's hypocrisy to me and am glad Wenger chose not to be a hypocrite.

    Well done Arsene although am very disapointed with the fact that he played kids against the Man City first eleven when we could've qualified for the semi-finals of tournament.

  • Comment number 34.

    t campbell

    I echo your thoughts. Hughes got a win against Arsenal kids fair enough but if he doesn't book his ideas up in the league it will be goodbye Hughes hello someone else he isn't good enough for a top job and that will become apparent as the season progresses.

  • Comment number 35.

    PS no one is saying that Arsene does not get thing wrong but you Mr McNulty are painting Hughes as the next person up for beatification. You appear to have a great dislike for Arsenal and Wenger which I am afraid is beginning to shine through in your musings!

  • Comment number 36.


    thanks for finally responding and you have just confirmed what i have believed all along - you did not watch this game!!!

    "And to LABSAB9...I would have thought it was fairly obvious, but I can confirm I did watch the match. Arsenal were well beaten and I thought Emmanuel Adebayor led the Manchester City line with plenty of energy."

    Anybody could state Arsenal were well beaten just by looking at the score but to state that about Adebayor is just nonsense!!! Man City had some very good performances last night and his was not one of them.

    Very poor Phil very poor!!!

  • Comment number 37.

    Phil, you and many others might have come to the wrong conclusion. Your article is about conduct, therfore it is only fair that you consider the conduct of both parties. Did Wenger shake Ancelotti's hand when his team suffered an even more embarassing (at home and his best team) and important loss? Yes. He clearly felt the way in which Hughes conducted himself was so outside his set of values that "he gave no professional courtesy". An examination of the darker sider of Mark Hughes character that did not afford him a hand shake would be more valuable. After all, no one reasonably suggests that you shake hands no matter what.

  • Comment number 38.

    him not doing it last night shows a deliberate act of contempt.


    Manchester City have come along in the last 12 months, throwing millions in players faces, telling them to leave their clubs and come and grab £180k a week, even though half of them will only end up sitting on the bench.

    Man City turning average but not world beaters into multi millionaires is much more serious than Arsene Wenger not shaking the hand of the manager of this pitiful club

  • Comment number 39.

    honestly, why do some people just come on here and abuse the blogger? his blog wasnt bad at all. and Wenger, great manager though he is, is temperamental when he loses. Its bad form.

    ps andy, give me a break that wenger waited for hughes but hughes turned his abck on him! not sure how that then explains wengers post match comments!

  • Comment number 40.

    I'm afraid Mr McNulty you were either watching a different game-clearly you don't ;ike responses that do not agree with you-but that is what this forum is for. Every report accuses Adebayor of hardly breaking sweat as he made no effort amd showed the reason why in fact he was sold.

  • Comment number 41.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 42.

    It it does seem like he is feeling some sort of pressure. I know that as a Chelsea fan when we were winning titles it was easy for me to excuse JM's behavior simply because the trophy cabinet. But the moment the cracks were appearing and he started moaning about scrambled eggs, I was embarrassed, as a fan.
    Are the cracks appearing in the Arsenal fans' blind acceptance of Wenger's footballing philosophies? Would they have loved a trip to wembley, even if it was the carling cup?

  • Comment number 43.

    Bit confused by this writing off of Arsenal. I watched the entire game and considering that the Gunners had their youth team playing away and City had their strongest first team playing at home, I felt the team had a game that wasn't as bad as everybody is making out. Granted all three goals were splendid (particularly the first two) but if the Gunner babies were playing as bad as Phil describes, the game should have ended ten nil or something? Remember it was nil-nil at half time as well.
    The other thing is that the policy that Wenger employs (ie. giving the youth team a crack at the Carling Cup (over the 1st team)) is admirable even if Arsenal have never won it. After all, playing football is what every player craves and the experience like the one yesterday (albeit losing) is priceless for the youngsters.
    As for Adebayor's performance yesterday, I think the Gunners will be thankful they got shot of him - hardly a performance of the £25 million pound striker was it? You sure you weren't watching I'm A Celebrity or something, Phillip?
    Lastly, this hand-shaking thing is being blown out of all proportion. To be honest, after the way Hughes defended Adebayors antics in League game in September (ie. Adebayor deliberately trying to injure his former team mates), I don't think I'd be hanging around to shake his hand either.

  • Comment number 44.

    sorry every time I read your report I find some other error-his later public belittling of the tournament.
    No he has always stated his position on the copmpetition to give the fringe and younger players a game a bit like someone else does-(AF) I don't recognise the S!

  • Comment number 45.

    And after the comparisons between man Utd and Arsenal Youth policies yesterday, it looks as if us devils were correct. Two top teams playing two similar stature up-and-coming teams. Both "lesser" teams played well and who came out on top?


    Who bottom?


    Policy doesn't end with the purchase or first few games. It's what you do with them for the rest of their career that matters.

  • Comment number 46.

    Re:- not shaking hands....with regard to the things that have happened lately, I bet that if a ball had been anywhere in the vicinity, Wenger would have put his hand out for that !... it's in the blood, isn't it..?

  • Comment number 47.

    Why should Wenger have shaken hands with Sparky just to please people like you Phil? It was dead obvious that Mr Hughes attitude towards his counterpart was a disgrace throughout the match. Hughes did mention that he crossed over to Wenger's technical area during the game, and this is not even getting a mention. Who knows what he said to him during their spat? Didn't Wenger shake his hand after the 4-2 defeat in the league?

    I do not believe that Arsene refused to shake hands just because of the defeat, I think it goes beyond that so it's lazy journalism to describe him as a sore loser! Sparky needs to examine himself as he's not capable of telling someone how to behave. He's not exactly a gracious person is he?

    Going onto the match, you claimed that City dominated the game. Have you seen the stats? Yes they had more shots on target, but that was expected given the array of striking talents that possess. Have a look at the possession, corners and total shots and tell me they totally controlled the game. You have a responsibility to be unbiased in your views mate, so up your game!

  • Comment number 48.

    A good and fair blog.

    A couple of things, this was a strong City side BUT Robinho and De Jong were rested so not full strength, Vlad Weiss was also given a run out and scored!

    The bottom line is Wenger expected to play a youngish team and win, he did and they didnt, his last three visits to City have resulted in three defeats 3-0 4-2 3-0 so it doesnt matter what team he has played he has still walked away with a good hiding.

    I couldnt care less if he shakes Mark Hughes hand or if he thinks the League Cup is a Mickey Mouse affair, Arsenal are lauded has this great club but they havent won anything for years, great clubs win things.

    As for the semi I would guess its the last draw Utd wanted, Fergie now has to field a strong team at a busy time or else have the prospect of City celebrating getting to Wembley at Old Trafford, a very unpalatable thought for that club.

    Have a nice day.

  • Comment number 49.

    So Arsene stuck to his principles? After the way Man City behaved back in September, he clearly didn't feel they deserved much in the way of respect and chose not to shake hands with Mark Hughes.

    And now you belittle a man for principles?

  • Comment number 50.

    30. At 09:49am on 03 Dec 2009, philmcnultybbcsport wrote:
    No surprise Arsenal fans are defending Wenger - I would expect no less - but he was in the wrong not to shake hands, and his attempt to gloss over the emphatic defeat against Chelsea once again showed how hard he finds it to accept a straightforward, and deserved, loss.

    spot on Phil

  • Comment number 51.

    As an Arsenal fan I am extremely disappointed and embarassed that Arsene Wenger chose not to shake Mark Hughes' hand post-match. I am of the opinion that Hughes is one of the more 'wind-up' merchants as a manager who enjoys a little word here-there or a gesture at some point to underline his authority over an opposing manager (even SAF and Mourinho did this) but it does not excuse it and I won't accept anything from Arsenal fans who try to defend it. All you can say is that he's not the only manager to do this and again it is not Wenger's first time - but it's still not on. He does have the choice, but only in the sense that he won't get arrested for shaking a man's hand - otherwise it's pretty bad.
    On the subject of 'should he had played a youthful team' my answer is full-blooded yes. Of course we have not won a trophy since '05 and there is a problem with the team/style of play that needs to be adressed in January - and for the first time Wenger has admitted the need to spend to resolve such an issue. However, the fact remains that the Carling Cup is not of importance and there is not a journalist nor media outlet in the land that, come the end of the season, will write that perhaps if Arsenal don't win the League (likely) and don't win the FA Cup (who knows) or the Champs League (also unlikely) that they'll say 'Arsenal had a better season because the won the Carling Cup' - and you can't serious sit there and say things like 'he can't be that choosy' when most know you'll never give a top 4-6 team credit for winning it (Spurs struggled to get credit when they won it I seem to recall - but must admit I payed little attention). No one will remember it, no one will care and no one will give credit for it. Instead we'd have tired players post-Xmas, struggle in other areas and then those very same people would write 'he should perhaps field a younger side'. As there are no brownie points to be gleamed from the media in winning the trophy (what would be the point in that anyway?), and there's certainly no team-management incentive and little financial incentive to win it, then there's no point committing to it. I enjoy seeing the younger guys get a run out and it makes the tournament different and worthwhile for that aspect alone, but not for the actual trophy itself if you commit your full first team to it.

  • Comment number 52.


    You know as well as I do that the Wenger and Hughes mutual hatred (and yes I use that strong a word) goes back a long way. They have no time and no respect for one another and never have done. Personally my view is if that Wenger shakes his hand then he is a hypocrite, because the handshake is a mark of respect and there is none between them.

    As for the assertion that Wenger should have treated the Cup more seriously.... are you seriously telling me that if Arsenal won the Carling Cup but got knocked out of the Champions League in the group stage and finished 5th that everyone would be hailing him for ending the trophyless run?? Of course they wouldn't.

    I conceede that the injury to Van Persie has probably ended Wenger's hope of ending the run with the league title this season - and unless he gets an adequate replacement in January it may well end his bids for the other two serious competitions as well. But to finish in the top 3 (automatic Champions League Group place) and reach the semi finals of the Champions League again would be a better season than winning the Carling Cup.

  • Comment number 53.

    Given Mr Wengers' inability to see many things that happen during a game, perhaps he just failed to notice Hughes offering his hand?

    For a manager that gets his teams playing such beautiful football, he does display an awful lack of class himself at times.

  • Comment number 54.


    The loss at Chelsea on Sunday and Man U last season was much harder to take as was the 4-2 defeat at Man city. In all cases he shook hands.

    The reason he didn't on this occasion was not the loss but Mark Hughes disrespectful behaviour during the game.

    I personally wish he had as it would avoid the cheap shots like yours this morning and in general it is a good protocol to follow.

    Regarding the tournament itself.

    1. Arsenal does not have the squad depth of Chelsea or ManU who can put out a second team of experienced players eg Berbatov

    2. The team put out last night is indeed the reserve team (ignoring Song)

    3. The number 1 priority for Arsenal is to remain in the top 4, do well in the Champions league and the FA cup in that order. To do that requires that with the injuries they have they must keep the first team soley for these competitions

    4. The Carling cup therefore is used as a means of developing the younger players including two English players at the heart of midfield last night Jack Wilshere and Craig Eastmond.

    Arsenal have decided that they will make a profit every year and build the club for the longer term. They are competing with a club like Chelsea and Man City to whom money is no object and ManU who have historical squad size, riches and success and have spent consistently over the years to build the squad. With the current policy Arsenal will be here for the fans in 10 years time and will not be like Leeds or Newcastle or others that ignored commercial realities and/or got rid of managers too early (eg Robson). This means some short term pain and boy have we had a week of it and a few years of it.

    Wenger's policy may not work as nobody has done it before. The biggest risk is Fan and Player impatience. How long will they wait for success.
    As an impatient fan myself, having looked hard at the alternatives, I think that we have no alternative but to wait. There is no silver bullet.

    Wenger is a delight for journalists as he is good copy. He is normally gracious with them and does not bully them if they write drivel or abuse like he has received in the last week.

    The story is why is Arsenal adopting the policy it is. How can a club compete and make a profit in today's climate while building a stadium and playing attractive foot whilst keeping FANs & players happey and ensuring long term survival and success. Nobody seems to get this. Especially journalists who love to focus on trite subjects and add no real educative value.

  • Comment number 55.

    33. At 09:51am on 03 Dec 2009, U8492675 wrote:

    Those comments are ludicrous. I understand what you mean if they lose. They do slate them. But Sky and most of the paper media *add your own vile analogy here* of Arsenal and Asene Wenger. They consistently praise them as the only team who can pass the ball around. Something which Man Utd, Chelsea, Liverpool (sometimes), City, Aston Villa, Tottenham (you get the point) fans get riled at when ever we pass them off the park.

    Man Utd were ridiculed for there defeat at the hands of Barcelona. Ridiculed for coming second in Europes elite competition. So I think it's fair Arsenal get ridiculed for coming 8th?? in the Milk Cup.

  • Comment number 56.

    @ joe strummer "last night they were taken apart by Man City." We were not taken apart by anyone. Did you even watch the game? We controlled the game for most of the second half and were hit with two great strikes and a counter attack goal. To be "taken apart" would suggest that we were overrun by City and that we looked like conceding every time they attacked. That clearly was not the case.

    Unfortunately i agree that Wenger is beginning to look like he is feeling the pressure, but i think its more the frustration of losing key players at a crucial time.He knew if we could stay in touch with the front runners till the new year then we had a chance to mount a serious challenge. The loss of Van Persie is as big as losing Drgoba, Rooney or Gerrard.

    Wenger has been steadfast in his opinion of the Carling Cup, he has always played the kids and this opionion did not change when we got to the final. If your clubs model is to develop players, then you need an outlet where these players can be tested in big match situations. Playing reserve team football does not give you that experience.

  • Comment number 57.

    Something we are definitely missing here...Has anyone bother to find out what happened at the touch line? guess we should look at this cause Mr Wenger is not such a person to bitch over carling cup loss. To develop players, they need to play. imagine bringing Eastwood and the likes straight into a premiership game.. what a flop that will be and the same press we definitely have a go at Mr Wenger. we all know this has been his style so what's all the noise for. we should wait till the end of the season to castigate him than just after 13 games. others have lost too, chelsea lost 3-1 at wigan and no one crucified Mr Anchelotti. please let be reasonable. thanks.

  • Comment number 58.

    I think you pundits and journalists ought to have a good look at yourselves. You all ridiculed Arsene Wenger when he said his team could go a whole season undefeated. Its funny how none of you lot apologised.

    Arsene Wenger has every right to behave the way he does. His league unbeaten run came to an end not because of one or two bad decisions but because of blatant referee bias. If it had happened in China people would think the game was fixed. Then his team were cheated out of winning the league in 2008 for ManU to have a historic season and all he gets is hearing how his 'kids' don't have the bottle.

    Why should he shake Mark Hughes. His player could have blinded Van Persie early on in the season and he refused to condemn it.

  • Comment number 59.

    Phil, im afraid this article is completely superfluous. Its terrible. Firstly is Britains masses completely naive and moronic? I watched "youre on sky sports" after the game and couldnt believe the amount of people crticising Wenger.

    Firstly RESPECT is not a given. It is EARNED and can be LOST. Secondly this "unwritten rule" business is nonsense. So was the "put the ball out as soon as someone hits the deck" and where has it gone now? Mark Hughes behaviour during the game was ridiculous. First off he kicked the ball 15 yards down the line so his team could take a throw 15 yards closer to the Arsenal goal and Wenger complained to the 4th official. At this time Hughes gave Wenger a verbal barrage and gesticulated to him basically to **** OFF!! Is this RESPECTFUL? Is this GOOD SPORTING BEHAVIOUR? I think you know the answer. Wenger was brilliant post match in his responses. He didnt even bring up the Hughes behaviour, because that would mean lowering himself to the level of entering a slagging match.

    Im actually dissapointed in the match press who seemed eager to get this slagging match going. I want to hear their introspection on their teams performances, not what they think of the opposing manager. This is just sensationalism.

  • Comment number 60.

    Wow, I know these blogs wind some people up every week (usually Liverpool fans), but the reaction from Arsenal fans is rather vitriolic to say the least.

    I was looking forward to Utd Youth vs Arsenal youth, have no love for City, but can at least accept that they fully deserved their win last night (mind you I thought Chelsea deserved to win at Arsenal too - unlike Wenger and his gooners).

    We all have disappointments, but usually the day after we can accept that the better team won. Get over it gooners, accept that Wenger needs to strengthen the team, accept he's a sore loser (something he seems to have passed on to the fans) and don't blame McNulty for a fair report and an honest opinion on Whinger's behaviour.

    Here's hoping City win on Saturday too! (Never thought I'd see myself writing that)

  • Comment number 61.

    LABSAB9, what are you, 15??! Your comments are annoying and pointless. So adebayor was great or adebayor was crap, so what?? it's called a difference of opinion, ever heard of that?? arsene apparently thought drogba was USELESS in a match where he put in two brilliant goals. are you labeling arsene disgraceful for that?

    grow up and stop acting so arsene-like for goodness sake!

  • Comment number 62.

    Arsene Wenger needs a holiday.
    I am a massive fan of him, but I have to agree with you Phil on all your points.

    I love Arsenal, and Arsene, but he does need to have a good look at himself in the mirror and ask himself if his behaviour over the last week is very becoming of a man so many people look up to and admire.

    He is being petulant and very ungracious of late. Even if he thinks that Drogba was ordinary, he should at least be able to acknowledge that he scored two of the three goals that sunk Arsenal, and it was no fluke.

    Statistics Schmatistics, what counts is balls in the net, and he got two fine ones.

    Drogba has bullied Arsenal almost every time he has played them, so how many times does he need to beat Arsenal convincingly, before Arsene Wenger will give him credit where credit is due.

    I would love to think Arsene was right, but he isn’t.

    And then by carrying on like a child by saying that a Champions League Quarter Final was ten times more important that the Carling Cup, he did himself and his team no favours whatsoever. This sort of behaviour will not conjure any siege mindset at Arsenal.

    Why couldn’t Arsene just say, well done to Chelsea they deserved their victory, I’m bitterly disappointed for our fans. We will do everything we can to fix it as soon as possible and we will give everything for them in the next game no matter what.

    And against Man City – well done to Chelsea they deserved their victory, I’m bitterly disappointed for our fans. We will do everything we can to fix it as soon as possible and we will give everything for them in the next game no matter what.

    And Arsene should shake hands with the opposing manager, especially when Arsenal has been smashed. And he should do it with a nod of the head to show that he knows that he and his team have been humbled.

    I still believe in Arsene, his methods and his football philosophy and I am confident that he will bring more trophies to Arsenal at some stage. But I think he needs to address his “darker side” and resolve his issues with losing and set an example of good sportsmanship that is not currently present.

  • Comment number 63.

    I love Arsenal fans. If Wenger relieved himself in the centre circle, gave the ref a wedgie, raised the middle finger at the queen, burned the flag and walked off the pitch punching a kid in a wheelchair on the way out of the ground they'd still trot out reams of 'proof' as to why he isn't the most ungracious person on the planet.

  • Comment number 64.

    Re Carling Cup


    Where does our Money Come from:-

    1. Matchday revenue £100M of which most comes from the Premier league, FA cup and CL. For Carling cup the prices are discounted

    2. TV Premier League £47M, Europe £24M, Cups £3M

    The Carling cup makes a less than 1% contribution to the overall turnover of the company.

    Key priorities are : 1 - Top 4 of the League (gets the extra £1.2M per position and chance for Europe money of £24M) 2. Do well in CL as it improves global brand and increases TV money from Europe. 3. FA Cup - not much money but chance to win a prestigious trophy & good for fans and players.

    If they want teams like Arsenal to treat it differently then need to change the money makeup or the general competition structure.

  • Comment number 65.

    1. If Wenger were to take the League Cup seriously, it would be plastered all over the media that they are conceding defeat to the other "big three". So they cant take it seriously.

    2. Likewise, Wenger was right to say he has no "professional courtesy" - what he meant was that he will be courteous (or not) regardless of it being "professional" to do so.

    3. Having said that, he IS a sore loser.

  • Comment number 66.

    Phil, I have to ask- how did you see Adebayor's performance as anything less than abject? The last time I saw a player that lazy was watching Guti play against Alcorcon in the Copa del Rey.

    As for the hand shaking incident- really Phil, did you honestly expect any less from either manager? They do not have the warmest of relationships. However both acted as petulantly as could be expected, both throughout the game and after it.

    Onto Arsenal being well beaten- maybe on Saturday, but certainly not last night. They played Citeh off the park for well over two thirds of the game. Citeh simply took their chances.

  • Comment number 67.


    Are you also going to say that the Man City players didnt see the game!!!
    They have also said that Adebayor played a good game for City and lead the line well! They also said that Hughes had given that as an example for the rest of the team to follow! So im guessing Hughes didnt watch the game either!
    Another poster has also proved Phil clearly watched the game!
    Maybe you should concentrate on something more important mate!

  • Comment number 68.

    Wenger is a difficult man. You have to admire his transformation of the way that Arsenal play, but these silly, immature outbursts appear to be part of his make-up. I remember the tosh about referees having an agenda against Arsenal and him 'understanding that very well.'
    His comments about the Carling Cup are silly as well. He has chosen to treat the competition as a reserve competition - fine; Arsenal's kids have done great over the last few years - but why then denigrate it? If his team had beaten Man City, would his attitude have been the same? No, of course not.
    The fact is the Carling Cup would have been a good 're-building' competition for Arsenal, who - one injury to Van Persie has shown - do not, in my opinion, have a squad capable of a sustained challenge for the league title or the Champions League. However you view his transfer dealings, to be be stuck in early December with no striker is poor. It's not like there's no money at the club; this is Wenger's choice.
    I can see Arsenal winning nothing at all this year - which would make it six in a row. After that, even their board would be thinking of kicking Wenger 'upstairs' surely.

  • Comment number 69.

    Arsene Wenger is a very good manager and has to be admired greatly for his achievements at Arsenal a few years back, but not shaking the other manager's hand is just very very poor. Okay in the heat of the moment, just having lost, it's probably not the easiest thing in the world to do but surely he should've been man enough, when things had cooled down, to seek out Hughes in the tunnel or changing rooms and offer his hand. It reflects very badly on Arsene that he didn't do that. It seems to point to a win at all costs attitude, an attitude where sportsmanship and basic decency are the losers. Is such an attitude any good for the image of football? Look at the recent Henry scenario and the subsequent attitude shown by Blatter and Platini. Pathetic. Honesty and decency are the loser's yet again. The idea of Fair Play is conveniently bent and twisted to suit some and punish others. Soon will anyone have any respect for anyone else? Certainly with such high profile figures of football acting in such a way you'd think it's bound to have some affect on society and the way people behave towards each other. Certainly it must impact negatively on children, the very future of the game. It doesn't bode well I'm afraid.

    Btw Phil, Darron Gibson is Irish, he plays for the Republic of Ireland National team.

  • Comment number 70.


    I am simply pointing out Phils lazy journalism, i have not condoned Wengers behaviour neither have i slated Hughes, all i ask for from a senior BBC journalist (and i use that term loosely) is a fair, measured and balanced view of last nights proceedings, not something that has been knocked up after reading a few notes a junior has made and catching a bit of the highlights!! and if you cared to read some of the other posts it appears i am not the only one.

    As for my age no i am not 15 but what that has got do to with anything i don't know!!

    PS Good use of CAPITALS to get your point across, very mature.

  • Comment number 71.

    #54. - Spot on mate, and it is refreshing to see so many people on here who realise what Mark Hughes is and that he didnt deserve a handshake.

    Even as a player, he dished it out physically but when he got it back he didnt like it

  • Comment number 72.

    Wenger has done a wonderful job of deflecting attention away from the form of his team by heaping all the criticism on him. Possibly a masterstroke as confidence at the club seems rather low.

  • Comment number 73.

    Win or lose, at the end of the match you shake the hand of your opponent. To do otherwise is just ignorant, rude and out of order. Wenger was not standing up for his principles, just showing he has no concept of acting with decorum. He may not like shaking the hand of his opponent after he loses - here's a tip Arsene, make sure your team wins then!!

    Nobody likes losing, shaking your opponents hand doesn't demean or dilute that.

  • Comment number 74.

    Hi Phil,

    Over the years, I have found Arsene Wenger a breath of fresh air in english football. The brand of football that he coaches and his team produce is often breathtaking and excellent to watch. However, I have always felt that (after the departure of Patrick Viera), his teams could be bullied out of a game. If you kept Arsenal out for the first 30 minutes and managed to nick one, the suddenly their heads would drop, they start looking for a leader to grab the game by the scruff of the neck and push forward.

    If we look at the other "top 4" teams, they all have natural leaders: Chelsea have Terry, Lampard and often the underrated Essien, Mancester United have Rooney, Ferdinand and nowadays Fletcher, Liverpool have Gerrard, Mascherano and Carragher. Arsenal do have extremely talented players such as Fabregas, Gallas, Van Persie but I do not see a leader in their team.
    In the summer Arsenal had the chance to sign a certain Lorik Cana for a bargain £5m. Even though Arsene Wenger monitored the progress of Cana since his days in Switzerland, he decided not to go for him. Ever since then Cana has gone on to become Sunderlands captain and has put in a true leaders performances game after game for the Black Cats.

    I do not agree with Mr. Wengers decision not to shake the hand of Hughes after the game, I do not excuse is, and it was a very poor decision from a beaten man. However, I do understand the decision that Wenger made with regards to the young players. If he didn't implement this policy, then he wouldn't have known for sure that players like Fabregas, Denilson, Song, Traore, Gibbs and many more, are ready to break into the first team.

    I cannot see Arsenal winning anything this year and probably next year. I think that they will probably finish 4th (yes, behind Liverpool) as they have more than Tottenham, Man City and Villa have.

    Funny how things go. Over the last two months, most of the Arsenal fans have been telling me that Liverpool need to sack Benitez. Liverpool are now just 2 points off Arsenal, with Arsenal due to visit Anfield next week.

  • Comment number 75.


    your last post offered nothing constructive at all. How does not shaking someones hand relate to any of that?

    Im ashamed some fellow Arsenal supporters are giving credence to this guttersnipe-article. Arsene has never been anything but upstanding. He does what every manager does and protect his players and neglect to openly admit to a penalty decision or whatever. Wengers ethics are commendable. He sticks to his guns and has achieved a lot on a shoestring budget. Success is relative remember. Trophy volume is not the be all and end all of success. Sometimes there is a higher patriotism.

  • Comment number 76.

    Wenger's comments smack of a manager who is losing the plot. After seeing his team crushed by Chelsea at the weekend, yesterday's result looks as if it's also dawned on him that his youngsters aren't actually that good.

    He made delusional comments about the Chelsea game when everyone could see that Arsenal were overpowered and overrun by a stronger and more tactically astute Chelsea side, and last night they were taken apart by Man City.

    While no one should enjoy losing, it's common decency and respect to shake hands with the opposition manager no matter what the result.

    If managers can bring themselves to shake hands after losing cup finals etc, then I'm sure Wenger could have managed to shake hands with Hughes after a Carling Cup quarter final that judging by his comments, he didn't care about anyway.

    His attitude says differently to his comments, he clearly did care and I think he was surprised at how easily Man City dismantled Arsenal, in the same way that he was full of bitterness after Spurs beat his young team 5-1 a couple of seasons ago.

    I don't think Arsenal are in a position to be picking and choosing which competitions to win. And ironically, their last major final was the Carling Cup in 2007, and Wenger didn't seem so derisive then.

    He's also right that the Champions League is ten times harder than the Carling Cup, but unfortunately, Arsenal's first team is not ten times better than its reserves. In my opinion this is the beginning of the end for Wenger as his grand strategy starts to unravel and consequently, the end of Arsenal as a major force.

  • Comment number 77.

    Hi Phil
    If you go back a few years; you'll remember the Cesc-Hughes controversy after the FA Cup game at emirates. Hughes was quoted as - "I thought he should have shown more respect to someone who has played in more FA Cup finals than he has."
    There was lot of stories in press and media then on about how Cesc disrespected Hughes despite of Cesc apologising him the very same day not via press.
    On the same line how about "Hughes should have shown more respect to someone who has won more than him as a manager?" Did he apologised to Wenger on swearing to him yesterday; no he didn't and he won't. And British Media as biased as they are, is unable to see any wrong in Hughes behaviour and are slating Wenger. I am on Wenger side for this one not because of that I support Arsenal but I believe he is right in showing Hughes his right place and re-asserting "Money do not buy class?"

  • Comment number 78.


    To be fair, you have to take into account Hughe’s long, disrespectful history with Arsene Wenger.

    Going right back to the Blackburn days, MH has been chirping to the press about Wenger. Criticising every aspect of both him and his teams.

    If you really look at the last 10 AW vs. MH games, I assure you, MH will be in the media criticising Wenger. Both personally, and his teams.

    MH just has an issue with Wenger, and plays the prima donna in the media every time they play.

    I don’t blame Wenger. MH has shown 0 respect for AW since the first time their teams have played.

    In fact, he’s actively courted the media to try and disrespect Wenger. Today is just another example.

    You have to earn respect. Generally by winning things. And winning games.

    Hughes has done none of that. He’s like Sam Allardyce. He just tries to ruffle feathers.

    I actually support United, so this isn’t some Arsenal fan defending the guy.

    I’m just trying to remind people the total lack of respect Hughes has consistently shown every top manager since he joined the league. Ferguson, Wenger, Mourinho, Benitez.

    This is OK when you’ve won something. And have something to back up your words.

    When you’re a manager who has never won anything, has never finished in the top 6, and will probably be sacked by the end of the season, I can understand why people like Wenger don’t appreciate the way he plays the media

  • Comment number 79.

    'The Carling cup makes a less than 1% contribution to the overall turnover of the company'

    Stop it, I thought you were following a Football Club not a company. I can just see it now, crowds of scarf wearing fans on the street outside of Glaxo all singing "One annual return spreadsheet, There's only one annual return spreadsheet" and bellowing "You're not singing anymore" at Unilever when their report comes out.

    Clubs win cups, or at least try to... stop being so mealy-mouthed.

  • Comment number 80.

    When Hughes describes Wenger as ungracious is it because Wenger hasn´t thank´d him for the 42million quid in return for the those two prunes Adebayore and Toure.
    When Hughes is given the sack by City he´s going to feel pretty stupid about all the mouthing he´s done.

  • Comment number 81.

    The_Dark_Blue_King ...

    "played Citeh off the park for well over two thirds of the game. Citeh simply took their chances."

    9 shots on target vs 3 shots on target doesn't support that.
    As I've already said, Arsenal played their usual pretty football but with no penetration. That is NOT playing a team of the park. Wenger thinks it is obviously, but without the penetration in the final third it means nothing.

  • Comment number 82.

    "Show me a good loser, and I'll show you a loser!". Yes that doesn't excuse Wenger's not shaking Mark Hughes's hand, but perhaps the combination of the loss, plus Hughes' touchline behaviour, plus his moaning and general attitude following the Adebayor incident explains it.

    I also take issue with Phil's presumption that he has any grasp on what an Arsenal fan wants from his team. Granted, viewpoints will vary, but the vast majority fully support Wenger's CC policy and recognise it as a way to get players integrated to the rigours of first team football. Any player who bounces back from the defeat last night and learns from it will be the better for the experience, and any player who doesn't is not the sort of player who will make it to the first team.

  • Comment number 83.

    Can we get one thing straight, all the top managers are bad losers. Fergie blames everyone apart from his team, as does Benitez and lets face it the biggest one of all was Mourinho who excelled in deflecting any criticism from his team. Plus, Mark Hughes and Wenger were clearly havinga row through the first half and also Hughes defended Adebayor over the stamp on RVP back in September. So clearly there is no love lost.

    As for his comments on the champions league being more important, he is 100% right. Say we won the carling cup this year and got knocked out the champions league in the group stages or in last 16, the media would still get on our backs. The carling cup is great for us as it gives our young players a chance to play top draw opponents and gain experience. Plus, at the moment, we have a few players out and others only just back to fitness, so seems crazy to play a full strength side with big league games coming up.

    I for one am happy with the way things are at Arsenal, we play great football, see champions league action every year and are always in the last few rounds of all the cups we enter. It could be a lot lot worse, look at Leeds and Newcastle who were up at that level, then tried to buy more success. Its also not looking that rosey at Anfield, so us gunners should be happy with our lot. Plus, its nice to see some young English guys coming through and getting experience. Wasn't too long ago we were getting slated for not giving english players a chance.

  • Comment number 84.

    I think Wenger might have spent too long working with the kids, he's starting to act like one now!!!!!

  • Comment number 85.

    #35, you're absolutely right there, each blog by this author is written from the perspective of a Man U fan, shameful though it often is. How are we to know what Hughes' conduct was like on the night, maybe his behaviour didn't warrant common courtesy. So, if Wenger comes out and states the wrongdoings of Hughes, he (Wenger) looks bad no matter what he does.

    Oh, and Ferguson won't field his first team, if they lose he will feign disinterest in the competition - if they win fair play to their fringe players. I won't call them a young team as they clearly aren't. Arsenal have nothing to worry about really, the future looks bright for them - so much young talent at that club it's frightening to think how strong they could be in 5 years.

  • Comment number 86.

    There is no justification for not shaking your opponents hand at the end of the match but in mitigation, there was extreme provocation as several posters have pointed out.

    The classy thing for Hughes to have done would have been to ignore it but instead he chose to highlight it, first with his petty wave to ensure that all you hacks picked up on it and secondly at the press conferences.

    Sorry Hughes, you lost an opportunity to take the moral high ground there, no class!

  • Comment number 87.

    Agree with Andy Clark

    Thought I was the only one that noticed. I think Hughs did it on Purpose to rub it i and is trying to cry thief so that Arsene becomes the subject of attention rather than his childish behaviour. Of course the English press will be biased and the cheap journalism will get people talking about how Aw is a poor at dealing with defeat. I wonder if he had the nerve to do that to Ferguson.

  • Comment number 88.

    the whole focus of this article is not about the game but Wenger's actions at the end of it, if you wanted to read a match report then you can find one here, ok?
    and anyway, Phil's entitled to his opinion, if he thought Adebayor played quite well then deal with it.
    Back on topic, Arsene Wenger needs to learn how to deal with losing a bit better, obviously football is a results business and you'd never want your team manager to be satisfied with a loss but there are times when you really do need to show some class, something that Wenger usually has in abundance.

  • Comment number 89.

    Hasn't Alex Ferguson pretended to be incredibly angry at being knocked out of the League Cup before ? Managers who field reserve teams aren't that upset about losing. It's pure WWF.

  • Comment number 90.

    Why can't journo's check the facts before passing daft comments? In my opinion Arsene Wenger behaviour was perfectly understandable considering Mark Hughes behaviour during the match. The value of the Carling Cup is basically nil, and I wish Mr Hughes good luck with it, but Arsenal will, I am sure, be better served concentrating their efforts elsewhere.

  • Comment number 91.

    Getting a regular on your blogs now Phil!

    As a United fan you would probably expect me to be slating Arsene Wenger and protecting Mark Hughes, - him being an ex Man Utd player and that, - however I am in complete contrast.

    Mark Hughes has got a very arrogant, swarmy manner about him, and in my view he is a bit big for his boots. When Wenger took off down the tunnel he liked to highlight that fact he had done this by pointing towards the tunnel, - a needless action, and a ploy which he used to get Wenger in trouble/ the spotlight.

    Wenger was right not to shake Mark Hughes's hand. He was obviously still very annoyed by events on the pitch, and with the way Mark Hughes behaved and displayed this by the refusal of a hand shake. Mark Hughes made an effort to avoid Wenger for as long as he could shaking hands with his full team, then some of Arsenal's, making Wenger wait as long as possible, - again a clever ploy employed by Hughes to make Wenger into a public enemy. To be honest I don't know what point Wenger left after the game finished, one poster said Wenger hung around for a while but Hughes decided to shake everyone elses hand but Wenger's, - which would be infuriating, as no doubt Hughes would mean tom this.

    An earlier comment says that Hughes is a wind-up merchant, - they have got it spot on! However I can't help feel this has only developed/ got worse since he arrived from Blackburn. I think Hughes think's he's one of the big boys now when he clearly isn't. I thought City where going to be up there this year, challenging for the title, if Hughes could make it gel? Laughable truly pathetic! There going to be miles of the pace, and I would say Villa and Tottenham are better candidate's than them for a top 4 spot.

    And on Adebayor, I thought he did play quite well, he held the ball up well, was a good link man in the team, and caused a few problems, - however I would add I thought Wenger made a great decision to play Silvestre, someone with a bit of physical presence, and experience as he was outstanding, and marshalled Adebayor around the pitch expertly, something a Djoriou (correct my spelling if I'm wrong) would not have been able to do anywhere near as capably.

    I didn't get why Wright-Phillips got man of the match I thought he was ok at best. Yes, - he scored a screamer of a goal and got past Traore a couple of times, but too many times he would do too much and then lose the ball, or make a wrong decison by clinging on to the ball instead of fining a man in acres of space, i.e. Tevez first half, Wright-Phillips beats Traore, now roll the ball to Bellamy or Tevez, no he tries to turn back on himself and then trips over the ball, - that's him all over nowhere near good enough for England!

    I think the reason people are saying Adebayor played so badly was because of the impressive performances of Bells, and tev in the second half especially!

  • Comment number 92.

    As an Arsenal fan I would say that I would prefer that Arsene field the younger kids in the Carling Cup no matter how far they go. Even not winning a trophy for 5 seasons doesn't change that.

    If the younger kids can't win it, so be it, a Wembley final would be nice, but the Carling Cup semi final format creates a log jam of fixtures for those involved.

    I expect the Carling Cup to be Manchester United's undoing in the title race if Fergie puts out a lot of his first teamers. It will help Chelsea that they are out now, it will be one less distraction.

    So to answer the question, Yes, I think Arsene was right to field the younger kids, the experience may be valuable. Wenger can test them some of them more in the Champions League, and then send some of them out on loan for the rest of the season and the rest can concentrate on the big 3 prizes.

  • Comment number 93.

    So from the Arenal fans point of view winning money is more important than winning trophies.

    As for this myth about Arsenal's "total football" they had six players booked last night, could and should have had two players sent off and were probably the dirtiest side I have seen this season outside Man Utd.

    Maybe you can have an open top bus tour with the cheques you earn from the CL and PL, then the bus can stop by the bank and you can hand them over to pay off some of your huge debt, thats the real issue, Arsenal are skint and money be it from selling their best players or scrambling into the CL is now their only reason for being.

    If thats total football you can keep it.

  • Comment number 94.

    'Wenger actually made the honourable decision to decline a handshake.'

    'Why should Wenger have shaken hands with Sparky just to please people like you Phil?'

    'What is the point in shaking someone's hands if you geniunely don't mean it?? That's hypocrisy to me and am glad Wenger chose not to be a hypocrite.'

    'Arsene stuck to his principle and chose not to shake hands with Mark Hughes.'

    Stop it, stop it... My sides are hurting!!!!!!!!

  • Comment number 95.


    I think the comments about the Carling cup and about not shakining hands in the post-match press conference were far more disrespectful than not shaking hands ij the first place. We do things in the heat of the moment and maybe not shaking hands can be smoothed over with an apology and a shared glass of wine later.

    But, to qualify his behaviour with the comments he made is disrespectful to the Football league and other managers that do not throw hissy fits after games by not shaking hands or hiding in toilets.

    Maybe when you journos do your constant character assasiations on certain managers you may remember that those castigated are usually the most sporting and actually come out and talk to you guys afterwards. Just a thought Phil!

  • Comment number 96.

    reply to SavageNick

    I saw this yesterday on TV (was there for all to see). the first thing that crossed my mind was why is he taking so muh time to shake all his own staff? shouldn't he be shaking Arsene? so I wasn't surprised when the interviews came on later.

    On Arsene's comments, its irrelevant as we all know the bias with which the issue would be dealt with so there no use lowering himself to their petty level. Mark Hughes knows whether or not his actions were intentional and the presses opinion is inconsequential. In my opinion, Hughes knew what he was doing and I think it was very disrespectful. AW and MH are not on the same level and am sure he would never try that with Ferguson.

  • Comment number 97.

    reply to U8492675

    Fantastic point. I agree Arsene has to start doing that cos it will stop some obviously stupid questions being asked.

  • Comment number 98.

    Well, given recent history, I found it refreshing to find a Frenchman who wasnt willing to use his hands.

    Jokes aside, poor team on the night, poor sportmanship from the manager, his 'youth' needs a lot of work still.

    Having said that, I expect City to win the thing now, even with the implications of losing the semi, I don't think Ferguson will be swayed from using the competition for his young guns, and although I suspect Manchester United mix of youth and experience will fair much better than Arsenal, over two legs,a guaranteed full strength team from Man City will be too much for them.

  • Comment number 99.

    I would like to say that I am really disgusted by some of the comments made on here about Arsene Wenger.
    I am a die hard Arsenal fan and whilst I do not fully agree with the way Wenger presented himself last night there is no need for people to be saying the harsh and frankly unfounded comments they have on here.
    We haven't won a trophy in 5 years. So what. Would it be nice? Of course but that will come. I have faith in that.
    Whoever is behind the username U12771235 needs to rethink some of the things he has said.
    "Arsene Wenger = no class" - What a joke. This man has changed the way Arsenal FC is as a club today. He has had his run ins with the press/other managers but 99% of the time he conducts himself in a pleasant and calm manner. I used to joke about how little emotion he shows whilst on the touchline. Just becasue he didn't shake the hand of a man who did nothing but be in his face for the whole of the game, give the guy a break. As for being gracious in defeat, I think Chelsea and Man City alike, deserved their wins this week. I am not one of these fans who only sees black and white, I truely believe we had problems in both games, something which I'm sure will be addressed on the training pitch.
    "Arsenal as a club have been a disgrace this season, their supporters rioting at the City of Manchester Stadium." - Again, do you not remember what happened there? If you cast your mind back, I do believe Adebayor scored for Man City then ran the length of the pitch to celebrate in front of the Arsenal fans. Then, after goading the fans, he then stamps on the face of a former teammate. If that isn't disgraceful I do not know what is.
    In my opinion there are problems at Arsenal. As a fan, I admit that but we are still one of the best teams in the league. Even after our losses against Chelsea and Man City last night I still see past the defeats and see hope in my team. Carlos Vela is inspired. I think given the right chances, he could be exceptional. Jack Wilshere is so gifted on the ball. Had Aaron Ramsey had his scoring head on we could have had two goals. Despite that there are problems. We don't have a fit left back, our best striker is injured. However, we have not played the way I know we can over the last few games.
    Arsenal do not have the kind of money that Man City and Chelsea have. Fact. A friend and I were talking during the game last night and we were watching £120 million pounds worth of men against a team of boys. Is this fair? Yeah it is. Who am I to say how much money a team has or is willing to spend? However when people are insulting the young Arsenal players that is when I have something to say. Most of the Arsenal players have come through the youth set up and Acadamy set up to be the players they are today. That is where Wenger shines as a manager. We don't feel the need to spend ridiculous money on players when we can nuture them in the set up we have to become great players. Yeah we have spent some money. Arshevin was £15million or so, Vermaelen (who has been inspired since joining Arsenal) was £7 or £8 million. We have made some great signings. The money is available to Wenger but why spend it when he has a great squad already. If I'm honest, I hope he signs an out and out goalscorer come January. It would strengthen the squad that we already have in place.
    Finally, U12771235 said in one of his many comments "Arsenal FC - Disgrace, Disrespect and Dishonest". What an unfounded and ridiculous comment. You are obviously a single-minded person and i think you also said that Arsenal fans are deaf as well as dumb. I think you'll find that if you read what I have said we are neither deaf nor dumb but honest and passionate people who can see beyond money.

  • Comment number 100.

    What a load of fuss about nothing. This is just journalists and broadcasters trying to make a story out of a non event. They didn't shake hands. So? Does it matter? No, not in the slightest. Has anyone been adversely affected or offended? No, almost certainly not. Hughes actually seemed amused and was quick to seize on the opportunity to publicly take the moral high ground. Why pander to his desire to play the media game? Hughes snubbed Wenger and Wenger walked off. I suggest sports journalist do a little more investigative journalism and find some real stories rather than just turning sport into a shrieking gossip mag.


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