Arsenal considering complaint over Thomas Vermaelen injury

 

Arsene Wenger today hit out at the international friendly schedule and revealed Arsenal are considering lodging an official complaint against the Belgian association after Wenger claimed they "forced" injured defender Thomas Vermaelen to play a full match in midweek.

The Gunners head to Liverpool tomorrow for what is a key clash in their quest to maintain a top-four place in the Barclays Premier League, having thrashed arch-rivals Tottenham 5-2 last weekend.

Like most Premier League clubs, Arsenal's squad have jetted around the globe during the latest round of international friendlies, which saw captain Robin van Persie play for Holland against England at Wembley despite having picked up a groin problem.

Wenger, though, was left seething at Belgium's use of centre-half Vermaelen - who has endured more than his fair share of injury problems - for their game in Greece.

"It looks like Belgium has made a decision which I still do not understand and we will look to see if we can put a complaint in," the Arsenal manager said.

"Firstly they forced the player to travel, then they forced him to play 90 minutes after being injured and had a centre-back on the bench who did not play at all, in a friendly game knowing they do not even go to the European Championship. For me, that is difficult to understand."

Wenger continued: "The friendlies are becoming more and more difficult to accept for everybody.

"I was always in favour of using the players for official games and I never asked any player not to go 100 per cent for his country when it is a qualifier or a big competition, but the friendlies are becoming more and more difficult, especially in this period."

Arsenal played Spurs at Sunday lunchtime, and will host AC Milan for the second leg of their Champions League last-16 tie on Tuesday night, which is all but over following a 4-0 defeat in Italy a fortnight ago.

Wenger believes such a schedule makes it "impossible" to get the best out of players for both club and country.

He said: "For us it is vital we do not lose the players now. If you go into a period like that with players already touched (by injury) you have more chances to lose the players.

"The Holland manager (Bert van Marwijk) hasn't spoken to me, but he knew Robin was injured because he said despite his groin problem, he will play him, it is the same with the Belgium manager (Georges Leekens).

"We are the only team in the world who had that schedule so it is very difficult to understand that our players had to go injured to Greece and play 90 minutes for Belgium. That's frankly not defendable.

"It is disrespectful to the players as well as me."

Arsenal could put further distance between themselves and Carling Cup winners Liverpool with victory tomorrow, as well as close up on Spurs, who host Manchester United on Sunday.

Despite not having lost at home in the league, the Reds have drawn eight times.

Wenger said: "You never go to Liverpool and think you have an easy game in front of you. Let's not forget Liverpool won 18 championships so of course that is still in the history and the minds of every single person in England.

"But things have levelled out now and everybody can take points everywhere. You see that with the results in the Premier League.

"Every point we can take now is vital until the end of the season."

PA

Arts and Entertainment
Ramsay Bolton in Game of Thrones
tvSeries 5, Episode 3 review
News
peoplePair enliven the Emirates bore-draw
Arts and Entertainment
tv
News
Britain's opposition Labour Party leader Ed Miliband (R) and Boris Johnson, mayor of London, talk on the Andrew Marr show in London April 26
General electionAndrew Marr forced to intervene as Boris and Miliband clash on TV
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

Aviation history is littered with grand failures

But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

Fortress Europe?

Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

Never mind what you're wearing

It's what you're reclining on that matters
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence