Date: 2nd November 2007 at 10:24am
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Robert Pires says United’s arrogance fired Arsenal up. You’re talking about arrogence, Bobby?

Oh god. Now this is hypocrisy on the grand scale. I mean, Jose has gone so a lot of things has been lost but we have a taste from the past with Robert Pires talking up things in Spain.

The man who was firmly responsible for making the ‘Invincibles’ as loathsome as possible with his unbearable smugness is now on the matter of arrogance – accusing others with it!

‘What exactly motivated this rivalry in the first place is not totally clear to me,’ he told the Daily Mail.

‘But I believe towards the end it was all to do with Manchester United’s excessive arrogance and their excessive physical play.

‘With each triumph, Ferguson would insist that his team was the best, and that never went down well at Arsenal.

‘These things irritate players.’

But Robert, what are you talking about? I think your first defeat against us was the 6-1 drubbing at Old Trafford, after which our mighty team went 16 points clear in the league.

What should have Ferguson said? ‘Oh, monsieur Wenger, your team is fantastic, their sheer breathtaking quality was obvious from the way they only conceded one in the second half. I admit that though we’re going to win the league by a mile, your team is so much better.’

And anyway wasn’t Robert Pires the cornerstone of the Arsenal side that proclaimed itself perfect and invincible in 2002?

A classic Pires quote after their win at Old Trafford in the FA Cup in February 2003: ‘The truth was on the pitch where we beat them on their own ground and made them look ridiculous.’

Not arrogant, isn’t it? He’s so modest he’s stretching the meaning of the word itself. But go on, he’s got more things to say.

‘Wenger would just ask us to be calm and to play with our usual style and not to be affected by the opposition.

‘He would tell us that he knew what United would do but that we had to be professional. He badly wanted us to beat them.’

Yes, it was obvious. Especially in the 2005 FA Cup final. The lovable professionals of Arsenal, whinging all the way before the game that United would try to rough them, set out to defend in numbers and tried to kick us off the park. Only Vieira had been sent off though Cole’s lunge on Rooney and any of Lauren’s and Reyes’ tackle should have warranted a red.

Of course their whining always worked and that’s why I despised that team. They made everyone believe they play the best football on Earth and someone who dared not to tremble with fear at the sight of them was a bully, rough, unprofessional. And the referees duly accepted these rules and punished everyone accordingly. They still moan about the ending of their 49-game unbeaten run but somehow fail to mention their disgraceful actions a year earlier, hitting Ruud for missing a penalty… disgrace.

And though the current Arsenal is almost a likeable team, this theme is still there. They play fantastic football but suffer from others’ excessive physical play. God, Robert, if you felt like that why didn’t you choose the ballet? There’s no physicality there. And if you look at the card stats of the season 2001/02, you will realise why it’s hypocrisy in the extreme by any Arsenal player of that time to accuse others of being rough and employing intimidating tactics.

Rant over. Sorry everyone but the sight of Pires’ arrogant, smug face always drove me mad and especially if I read him talking about others being arrogant. Hope for a good, Piresless game tomorrow.