Alan Pardew feels a manager needs to respond if a player is being a disruptive influence as he hails Arsene Wenger’s underappreciated achievements in football.
It was after Arsenal’s 3-2 win over Crystal Palace that reports emerged about a dressing room split at the club.
At the centre of it all was Alexis Sanchez, who was allegedly annoying his teammates with his on-pitch moaning and lack of commitment.
Thierry Henry, who worked as a pundit on the game, thought the celebrations suggested there was a split.
After this latest so-called rift, some are wondering if Alexis should be benched for the trip to West Brom.
It’s something that their manager, Alan Pardew, would support.
“As much as I love Thierry Henry I’m not sure that was what happened against Palace,” Pardew said, as reported by the Daily Mail.
“But there are situations where players force the hand of the group.
“Virgil Van Dijk has done that at Southampton. He wasn’t playing, not picked every week – a great player like him. You have to question the attitude of him and look at all the other players.
“If we were a team in the room and we had one player doing that I would expect the group not to accept that. I would expect a manager to respond to the group.
“They either react to it in an understanding way, or they don’t, and sometimes it gets a bit more volatile than that. Sometimes those moments are from a group rather than a manager themselves.”
It’s not the first time the Chilean has been in the middle of something like this.
Last March, he found himself on the bench for a big game at Anfield for disciplinary reasons.
However, the incident was said to occur before the game against Palace.
If he was going to be dropped, it would have been for that game.
As it is, he played and put in an excellent performance.
Unfortunately, not that people have called attention to Arsenal’s celebrations, all eyes will be on them should Alexis score against West Brom.
Pardew has not always enjoyed the best relationship with Arsene Wenger, but the Baggies manager was full of praise for his counterpart ahead of what will be a record-breaking 811th Premier League game in charge of Arsenal.
“Before the game I’m going to shake his hand and say: ‘Well done’,” Pardew said at his pres conference. “Then hopefully at the end I’ll be able to shake his hand again and say: ‘unlucky’.
“At top clubs you always have to win, that’s a different kind of pressure and Arsène has dealt with it with dignity for 20 years,” Pardew continued.
“It’s a job well done, to be honest it is hard to find the words to do justice to what he has achieved in English football. He more than anyone else brought in the sort of professionalism we take for granted now. He arrived in an era when players were perhaps not as professional as they could have been and he changed all that.
“The other reason I admire him is because he has brought something else to the Premier League. His sides are always positive, trying to gain the upper hand and play in the right way. As we have just seen over the festive period lots of teams are happy not to have the initiative, they just concentrate on trying to stop their opponents playing. Arsenal are never like that. Arsène’s sides try to take the initiative in every game they play, even against Barcelona, and I don’t think he gets enough credit for that.”
And about those previous run-ins? “It was just the one run-in, there have been plenty of games before and since where nothing’s happened.”