Arsene Wenger has directed what appears to be a thinly veiled dig at Tottenham Hotspur, in particular their two English stars Dele Alli and Harry Kane. Spurs drew 2-2 with Liverpool at the weekend in a game that was mired in controversy.
Kane levelled the scoring with his second penalty of the night, after a previous effort was saved by Loris Karius, with one of the last kicks of the game. Liverpool fans felt Erik Lamela went down easy for that penalty and had similar feelings regarding the one Kane had win, then subsequently missed, earlier in the game. Alli on the other hand was clear as day. He dived, was booked and even seemed to apologise to referee Jon Moss.
It is those two incidents that the Arsenal boss appeared to allude to in his press conference this afternoon, ahead of the North London derby this weekend.
The Frenchman stated, as reported by the BBC:
"I remember there were tremendous cases here when foreign players did it, but the English players have learned very quickly and they might even be the masters now."
"I don't tell my players to dive at all. We have to get diving out of the game."
It was a comment which has not gone down well with Tottenham fans. They were quick to point out examples of Arsenal players diving, such as fellow England internationals Theo Walcott and Jack Wilshere in the past, and Arsenal’s own record when it comes to diving.
Robert Pires was mentioned more than once, still known for his dive against Portsmouth which rescued a draw in the now infamous ‘Invincibles’ campaign:
Ha Ha short memory,Pires.— Being a Yid (@YidBeing) February 8, 2018
He brought the 1st cheat Robert pires— andrew stoodley (@jugs007) February 8, 2018
3 yellow cards for diving— Robin Karlsson® (@RobinK1983) February 8, 2018
Like we give a damn what Arsene Wenger thinks..whining apologist for every misdemeanour of any player throughout his " I didn't see it" tenure— Peter Willis (@peter_pdm) February 8, 2018
"There was a time when the foreign players used to do it [dive], but the English players have learned very well and are maybe the masters of it."— WeAreTottenhamTV (@WeRTottenhamTV) February 8, 2018
- Wenger on diving pic.twitter.com/QHkrg1wK9d
Whether Wenger meant to stoke the flames ahead of the Tottenham clash this weekend is neither here nor there, he has.
It adds another dimension to what should be a fantastic clash in the Premier League this weekend.