There is a growing temptation to nickname Arsene Wenger, Arsene Whinger. Not that multilingual, though he unquestionably is, he would ever be capable of echoing the historic complaint of the beaten boxer’s manager, “We wuz robbed.”
But Arsenal’s two consecutive defeats at Everton and Manchester City, found him complaining bitterly about supposed injustices.
At Everton. he insisted that the corner from which the Welsh international, Ashley Williams headed a decisive goal should never have been given, rather than a goal kick, though television replays of the incident subsequently were inconclusive.
At Manchester City, he was protesting that both City goals should have been disallowed for offside. In the first instance, the goal scored by Leroy Sane, he may well have had a case; Sane did look marginally offside. In the second, when Raheem Sterling scored the winner, Wenger claimed David Silva was five-yards offside, but he didn’t seem to be interfering with play.
As a learned Frenchman, Wenger will be well aware of the dictum, “Qui S’excuse S’accuse,” – “he who excuses himself, accuses himself.”
Meanwhile, how can he get more out of Mesut Ozil? Anonymous in Manchester, yet rumoured to be demanding huge, if hardly Chinese money?
And then there is what you might call the China Syndrome. Whereby the greed is Good League is outspent by China’s Parasite League. Offering immense sums of money to lure stars away even from the Premiership with all of its riches.
The latest to move to China and its negligible league, out of all proportion to its wealth, is Chelsea’s Brazilian midfielder Oscar, still only in his mid-20s. His salary will be a reported and hyperbolic £400,000 a week. Chelsea, for their part, will pocket an enormous fee. Not bad for a player who has largely warmed the bench at Stamford Bridge so this season. And he will find an ex-Chelsea manager, Andre Villas-Boas, in charge when he eventually gets there.
But as we are so often told, money isn’t everything. Also, by sharp contrast with Japan, which now produced footballers of stature, China, in playing terms is virtually a wilderness.