Wenger attacks Stoke's 'rugby' tactics against goalkeepers

The season is only two games old but Arsenal's manager, Arsène Wenger, has already attacked what he described as "rugby" tactics by Stoke City.

Wenger said yesterday that the referee Chris Foy should not have tolerated the tactics of Stoke on the Tottenham goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes on Saturday, in a comment that is bound to wind up one of his many Premier League detractors, the Stoke manager Tony Pulis. Wenger also picked out as an offender the defender Ryan Shawcross, whose challenge last season broke the leg of the Arsenal midfielder Aaron Ramsey.

Wenger said: "I believe everybody looks at his squad and tries to find a way where the game is most efficient and we developed one way. It is not the only way, I respect every other way as long as the referees get the rules respected. [But] I saw some footage last Sunday; you cannot say any more it is football, it is rugby on the goalkeepers [rather] than football.

"The referees cannot go on and accept that. When you see how [Ryan] Shawcross kicked Gomes, how [Robert] Huth pushed Gomes in the goal, you cannot say that is football any more. If the referees allow that, you cannot accept that because that has nothing to do with the game," said Wenger. "Apart from that, when a team plays long ball and head the ball and become physical I accept that completely and I respect that. But it has to be in respect of the rules."

There is no love lost between Wenger and Sam Allardyce, the manager of Blackburn, whom Arsenal face tomorrow tomorrow. Wenger said that teams who were overphysical should be punished. "I believe that in some situations the goalkeepers are not protected," he said. "You cannot have players whose main role is to stop the goalkeepers from catching the ball and not even go for the ball."

Wenger also said that he had abandoned his rule that he never gave a player in his thirties a contract longer than one year after he completed the €4m (£3.3m) signing of the 30-year-old France international Sébastian Squillaci on a three-year deal from Seville.

It has, in the past, been source of frustration for former Arsenal players like Robert Pires and Dennis Bergkamp that they have not been offered a longer-term deal. Wenger has always preferred to review their situation every year and make a decision then whether to extend their contract, although he argued yesterday that had never been the case.

Wenger said it was now players of 32 and over who would not be offered anything more than one-year contracts. He said his criteria also depended on what position the player in question played. "If is a central defender, no problem to sign them until 34," Wenger said. "But a striker is different – after 32 you go from year to year. Midfielder as well after 32 you go from year to year."

When quizzed, the Arsenal manager could not name the only other outfield players aged 30 or over – other than Squillaci – for whom he has paid a transfer fee during his 14 years at Arsenal. They are thought to be Davor Suker, Oleg Luzhny and Mikaël Silvestre. "I'm not a big fan of over-thirties, you know!' Wenger said.

On Squillaci, Wenger said: "We needed a centre-back of quality and experience if possible, and at the right price – he was all of that. He is a real defender and is good in the one against one, good in the air, and can score goals on set-pieces as well. I believe he will be suited to the English game.'

As for the transfer market this summer, Wenger, who still hopes to sign the Fulham goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer, described it as "dead". "It has been incredibly difficult," he said. "The clubs who had players didn't want to see and therefore there was no movement. I don't know if it's the 25-player squad rule or is it the money situation? Just no movement. It's dead."

News
people'It can last and it's terrifying'
Sport
Alexis Sanchez, Radamel Falcao, Diego Costa and Mario Balotelli
football
Sport
Danny Welbeck's Manchester United future is in doubt
footballGunners confirm signing from Manchester United
News
people Emma Watson addresses celebrity nude photo leak
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
footballFeaturing Bart Simpson
News
Katie Hopkins appearing on 'This Morning' after she purposefully put on 4 stone.
peopleKatie Hopkins breaks down in tears over weight gain challenge
Arts and Entertainment
Olivia Colman topped the list of the 30 most influential females in broadcasting
tv
News
Kelly Brook
peopleA spokesperson said the support group was 'extremely disappointed'
Life and Style
techIf those brochure kitchens look a little too perfect to be true, well, that’s probably because they are
Sport
Andy Murray celebrates a shot while playing Jo-Wilfried Tsonga
TennisWin sets up blockbuster US Open quarter-final against Djokovic
Arts and Entertainment
Hare’s a riddle: Kit Williams with the treasure linked to Masquerade
booksRiddling trilogy could net you $3m
Arts and Entertainment
Alex Kapranos of Franz Ferdinand performs live
music Pro-independence show to take place four days before vote
News
news Video - hailed as 'most original' since Benedict Cumberbatch's
News
i100
Life and Style
The longer David Sedaris had his Fitbit, the further afield his walks took him through the West Sussex countryside
lifeDavid Sedaris: What I learnt from my fitness tracker about the world
Caption competition
Caption competition
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

'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes': US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food served at diplomatic dinners

'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes'

US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food
Radio Times female powerlist: A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

Inside the Radio Times female powerlist
Endgame: James Frey's literary treasure hunt

James Frey's literary treasure hunt

Riddling trilogy could net you $3m
Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

What David Sedaris learnt about the world from his fitness tracker
Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Second-holiest site in Islam attracts millions of pilgrims each year
Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

The big names to look for this fashion week

This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York
Will Self: 'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

Will Self takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Toy guns proving a popular diversion in a country flooded with the real thing
Al Pacino wows Venice

Al Pacino wows Venice

Ham among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
Neil Lawson Baker interview: ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.

Neil Lawson Baker interview

‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.
The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

The model for a gadget launch

Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

Get well soon, Joan Rivers

She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

A fresh take on an old foe

Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering