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."

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Ed Miliband and David Cameron are neck and neck in the polls
election 2015Armando Iannucci: on how British politics is broken
Life and Style
Great minds like Einstein don't think alike
Arts and Entertainment
Billie Piper as Brona in Penny Dreadful
tvReview: It’s business as usual in Victorian London. Let’s hope that changes as we get further into the new series spoiler alert
Life and Style
A nurse tends to a recovering patient on a general ward at The Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham
Arts and Entertainment
No Offence
tvReview: No Offence has characters who are larger than life and yet somehow completely true to life at the same time spoiler alert
Chuck Norris pictured in 1996
Arts and Entertainment
Sarah Lucas, I SCREAM DADDIO, Installation View, British Pavilion 2015
artWhy Sarah Lucas is the perfect choice to represent British art at the Venice Biennale
A voter placing a ballot paper in the box at a polling station
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

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

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'
Sarah Lucas is the perfect artist to represent Britain at the Venice Biennale

Flesh in Venice

Sarah Lucas has filled the British pavilion at the Venice Biennale with slinky cats and casts of her female friends' private parts. It makes you proud to be a woman, says Karen Wright
11 best anti-ageing day creams

11 best anti-ageing day creams

Slow down the ageing process with one of these high-performance, hardworking anti-agers
Juventus 2 Real Madrid 1: Five things we learnt, including Iker Casillas is past it and Carlos Tevez remains effective

Juventus vs Real Madrid

Five things we learnt from the Italian's Champions League first leg win over the Spanish giants
Ashes 2015: Test series looks a lost cause for England... whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket

Ashes series looks a lost cause for England...

Whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket, says Stephen Brenkley
Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power