Arsenal considering complaint over Thomas Vermaelen injury
Friday 02 March 2012
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."
Liam Neeson's Downton dreams
Thriller is set in the secret world of British espionage
Bomber jacket worn by Mary Berry sells out within an hour
Latest in Sport
Everton vs Wolfsburg match report: Tim Howard hands Everton clear advantage
Think before you ink: Manchester United fan gets Sir Alex Ferguson tattoo - and will regret it for the rest of his life
Paul Scholes column: Rio Ferdinand and John Terry row was bad but they could have kept playing for England
Colombian women's cycling team kit that makes wearer appear naked is branded 'unacceptable' by UCI president
Bayern Munich vs Manchester City report: Jerome Boateng thrashes home winner against former team
- 1 Scottish independence: Learn from Quebec's mistakes and beware of promises. Vote Yes.
- 2 iOS 8 is full of shiny new features - but it's terrible news for app developers
- 3 A bottle of wine a day is not bad for you and abstaining is worse than drinking, scientist claims
- 4 Hitler’s former food taster reveals the horrors of the Wolf’s Lair
- 5 Cocaine and cannabis haul hidden in Vatican car seized by French police
Daniele Watts: Django Unchained actress detained by Los Angeles police after being mistaken for a prostitute
Scottish independence referendum: A nation divided against itself
Scottish independence: David Cameron is becoming the 'George Bush of Britain'
Russia freezes Ukraine into submission: Kiev admits country doesn't have enough fuel for winter
Scottish independence: The Queen breaks silence on referendum debate – as think tank warns of £14bn black hole if Scotland votes Yes
Portuguese academic says British are 'filthy, violent and drunk'