Arsene Wenger's Pre- and Post-Match Words as Sad as Gunners' Play at the Etihad

Phil KeidelContributor IIMarch 20, 2017

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 14: Aaron Ramsey, Jack Wilshere and Nicklas Bendtner of Arsenal stand dejected after fifth Man City goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester City and Arsenal at Etihad Stadium on December 14, 2013 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

In the smoldering wreckage of Manchester City 6-3 Arsenal, Arsene Wenger had opportunities both to redeem his silly pre-match ramblings and to quickly concede a bad day at the office.

True to form, Wenger did neither.

Wenger's comments in the days before the Premier League's showcase match of the week read as odd when they were issued.

As reported by Joe Prince-Wright of NBC Sports, Wenger tried to plant some doubt in the Citizens' minds. "Let’s not forget as well that if you are in City’s position and they lose, then they’re nine points behind, so they have more negative pressure than we have."

Negative pressure?

Apparently City did not feel much pressure—negative or otherwise—in hanging a six-spot on Wenger's charges. Arsenal no longer boast the Premier League's stingiest defense after this result.

Was Wenger particularly impressed with City's rampant form? Perhaps not.

"They were not unbeatable," remarked Wenger blithely according to Paul Wilson of The Observer. "They are one of the teams with a chance, of course, but I would not say they are the best team we have played this season."

Wow. What would City have needed to do to get Wenger's admiration? Would 10 goals have sufficed?

Wenger is in deep denial about Manchester City's quality.
Wenger is in deep denial about Manchester City's quality.Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

"Everton were as good as Man City, and so were Southampton," Wenger continued.

If you say so. But then why did City trample all over the Gunners when Everton and Southampton managed only one point between them in two matches against Arsenal?

"The referee missed three offsides and a penalty," Wenger said, according to Simon Mullock of the Mirror. "He had a bad game."

Wenger cannot really believe that Martin Atkinson's whistle was the difference between Manchester City and Arsenal in this match. Can he?

Well, sort of. It was actually a combination of the referee and Arsenal's Wednesday Champions League exertion, apparently.

"We did not quite have that freshness you expect to see," Wenger said, per Paul Wilson's Observer piece. "The game on Wednesday did not help. The situation was not ideal."

To recap, then: Wenger tried to mind-game City, and after Arsenal got blasted anyway, he blamed the referee and a one-day difference in travel (City played in Germany against Bayern Munich on Tuesday).

In the everlasting words of Brian Fantana in Anchorman, perhaps Wenger should "sit this next one out, stop talking for a while."