Arsenal: Arsene Wenger's Dark Side of the Scholes

Ramkumar SCorrespondent IAugust 21, 2010

LONDON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 19:  Paul Scholes of Manchester United is shown the yellow card by Referee Howard Webb during the Barclays Premier League match between Fulham and Manchester United at Craven Cottage on December 19, 2009 in London, England.  (Photo by Phil Cole/Getty Images)
Phil Cole/Getty Images

This is not the title of yet another Star Wars episode, but rather quotes from Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger. Arsene Wenger was asked about Paul Scholes and while Wenger was full of praise for the Manchester United player he did not hide the negativity.

Actual Quotes From Arsene Wenger about Scholes:

"It depends what you call clever and what you call dirty, How many times have you watched Paul Scholes? Have you seen only fair tackles from Paul Scholes? I don't want to come out on one specifically but I can remember a few. [They are] a bit in the past, yes, but look at him playing now. He still doesn't hide."

"No, I don't [think his approach is OK]. You ask me about the quality of the player—who wouldn't like a Paul Scholes in his team? You ask me: 'Was he a fair player?' I say: 'No, I'm sorry, for me he was not a fair player.' I just think I respect him highly as a quality player. I did not like some things he did on the football pitch and I have the right to say that. It's not because you are older, suddenly, that you are a saint."

"Paul Scholes is still one of the greatest football players in England and his contribution to the success of Manchester United is absolutely huge. The regret I have personally is he was not always the fairest player. There's a little bit of a darker side in him, sometimes, that I did not like."

One really cannot fault Wenger for expressing his honest opinions. Paul Scholes has been known to be a clumsy or cruel tackler. His last minute tackles are not a thing of the distant past. The Champions League final tackle on Barcelona's Busquets is what comes to my mind.

His handball against Zenit St. Petersburg is also something one will never forget (Hand of Cod just like Hand of God?).  If Scholes were not an Englishman and were playing for a lesser club, he would not have been that fortunate to escape with so many tackles. But should Wenger have been so honest and critical? 

Perhaps Wenger forgot all about Patrick Vieira and the rash tackling during the good old days. But then again knowing Wenger, we can be sure he did not "see anything" regarding the rash tackles that Vieira might have done back then. If Scholes had been an Arsenal player, would Wenger have said the same thing ? 

Is Wenger right to criticize Paul Scholes or is he just using the opportunity given to him to have a dig at Scholes or indirectly Manchester United? Last year, Wenger had a dig at Darren Fletcher. At least Fletcher's criticisms came after Arsenal lost 2 -1 to Manchester United. What did Scholes do? Who knows, maybe Wenger is having a new annual event where he picks one United player to criticize. One wonders who it will be next year.