Arsène Wenger expects a mellowed Alan Pardew when the two managers meet again this evening, with the latter’s stadium and touchline bans finally over.
Pardew and Wenger have clashed in the past, although never on quite the scale of the Newcastle manager’s head-butt on David Meyler in March which earned him a seven-game ban. This evening’s match at the Emirates is Pardew’s first game back, and Wenger expects a changed character.
“He will try to control himself much more,” the Arsenal manager said yesterday. The design of the Emirates, though, makes confrontation especially unlikely.
“At the Emirates we had no incidents because the distance between the two managers is big,” Wenger explained. “Sometimes you get upset because you hear what the other manager is saying and you go, ‘What is he doing, why is he talking to the referee and the fourth official?’ At Liverpool, Chelsea, Spurs, you basically are very close.”
Wenger admitted, though, that he sometimes sits down more than he used to if he fears that he is having “a negative influence” on his players or if his presence is putting them off.
“When you get up there you know you’re tensed,” he said. “I try to sit down when I feel I am in a negative mood, because then on the touchline you can become a handicap.”
The tension at this stage of the season already has an impact. “It is linked as well with the period of the season. It’s easier to be calm in September than in March, because every game is kill or be killed. This period of the season you feel much more under pressure as a manager. Now, one, two, three games to go, you look at the table – at the bottom, at the top, everybody feels a bit that they are playing Russian roulette.”Reuse content