Van Persie Hits out at Man City and Chelsea; Sagna Attacks Referees

Siva PrasadCorrespondent IMarch 25, 2011

BARCELONA, SPAIN - MARCH 08:  Robin van Persie of Arsenal reacts to referee Massimo Busacca after receiving a red card during the UEFA Champions League round of 16 second leg match between Barcelona and Arsenal on March 8, 2011 in Barcelona, Spain.  (Photo by Jasper Juinen/Getty Images)
Jasper Juinen/Getty Images

"A club like Manchester City change their philosophy every year and Chelsea spent about €80million this season ... two clubs who had a big mouth before the season, thinking that Arsenal wouldn't play a role in the title race but we are still ahead of them. And just by playing our own game, through our own philosophy."

He misses more games than most due to injury, but Robin van Persie decided that the international break was a fine time to take pot shots at Man City and Chelsea for not catching Arsenal in spite of their millions.

The timing of such a statement is odd, given Arsenal’s recent collapse in form coupled with a resurgence in Chelsea’s, which could allow the Blue to overhaul the Gunners.

Arsene Wenger would be well advised to ring his talisman and ask him to keep the press releases to a minimum. This Arsenal team has performed poorly in the last month, and if key players remain overconfident, they will not recover before the end of the season.

Meanwhile, right-back Bacary Sagna has brought the usual issue of a lack of protection from referees to the fore once more, with a complaint concerning Paul Scholes’ challenge on Samir Nasri a fornight ago in the FA Cup.

This time, however, Sagan insinuated that foreign players are treated unfairly by English referees.

Sagna(speaking to AP): “...We went to Manchester and Samir got his leg ripped off again. There's nothing (done about it). They always wait until there is a major incident to make a decision, and then it's too late... Samir should perhaps change nationality, I don't know ... I don't want to get into such a debate, I don't want to concentrate on that because I have much more important things to think about. I get the impression it's like that, maybe I'm wrong.”

Having seen the tackle, I can confirm that Scholes made a rash challenge, and was very fortunate to stay on the pitch. That being said, Sagna’s insinuation that Nasri would have been treated fairly if he were English, is inaccurate and unsubstantial. Referees make mistakes all the time, and being English has little to do with escaping just punishment.

David Luiz can vouch for that.

Finally, rumors continue to float around the Internet that Manuel Almunia will be replaced in goal by Jens Lehamnn for Arsenal's next match.

Almunia's moment of madness against West Brom brought back familiar memories, and on a personal note, I am all for tossing the 41 year-old German between the sticks. It would take something quite spectacularly horrible for him to be any worse than Almunia.