In the last few weeks, it seems to have become open season on Arsène Wenger again.

This is something I can only take as a good thing. Why? I hear you ask. Well, as George Graham, Arsène’s celebrated, but naughty predecessor once put it:

“If people are feeling sorry for Arsenal, then I’m not doing my job”.

I don’t think people are feeling sorry for us anymore, least of all Sam Allardyce and Harry Redknapp.

Those of you who live, like I do, in London will have read Harry Redknapp’s regular, if not weekly, comments on the Arsenal manager and how cold he is. This week, we have also had that world reknowned manager, Samuel Allardiccio sticking his oar in, via quotes from his new book, in which he labels the Arsenal manager “arrogant”. Of course, Allardyce, being one of the greatest self publicists in the managerial game – after a certain Portuguese obviously – makes great play of his brilliant record against Arsène.

In the interests of clarity, I should point out that this is a record that stands at one win in his last fifteen games.

Okay, we know that he had a fair amount of success against us with his Bolton team at the Reebok Stadium, but I have always felt that a bit too much has been made of this record. Possibly because of the 2-2 draw which ultimately cost us the league title in 2003. I’m not sure the circumstances of that draw are particularly worth revisiting. It’s suffice to say that Bolton were the first to realise that, at home, they might be allowed to kick our players out of a match. It’s the sort of tactic, if you can call it that, with which Alex Ferguson and Mike Riley ended Arsenal’s historic 49 game streak a year and a half later.

A truer test of Allardyce’s success against Arsenal might be in those games with Bolton and West Ham which were played in north London. Talk about that Sam, maybe? Hmmm, not so much.

I love the description of Arsène as arrogant, by the way. Clearly intended to be a derogatory reference, it sort of has the opposite effect on me. As do the references to Arsène not inviting Sam to his office after a game. I mean, Arsène is the Arsenal manager, moreover the most successful manager of our club in its history. He should be arrogant and aloof and everything else that comes with that description.

If you were the Arsenal manager, would you want Sam Allardyce sitting in your office? I wouldn’t. Imagine having to look at his bulldog chewing a Wrigleys face, sitting there hoping that he isn’t going to fart, or worse, on one of your chairs and stink the place out!

No, best to get him back on his bus, sans vin, and send him back where he came from. After all, he doesn’t like us and we don’t like him.

As for Harry Redknapp… This is the Arsenal fan who, up until this year had a ludicrous habit of tipping Spurs to finish above Arsenal (remember how Vincent Kompany laughed at him?) just because of his four year association with the neighbours.

It’s as though he now feels the only way he can stay relevant is by taking pot shots at our esteemed manager which are as well targeted as a Louis Saha strike on goal.

The season began with Redknapp bemoaning the lack of warmth in Arsène’s handshakes and the fact that you never get a cuddle from him. A cuddle? What the hell, Harry? Arsène isn’t there to cuddle you mate, he’s there to beat you and that’s something that happened pretty frequently when you still had a job. Like it or not, you were the Spurs manager – you were the enemy, you don’t get cuddles.

If only Sandra Redknapp was as good at showing affection as she apparently would have been at putting away Darren Bent’s chances, perhaps we wouldn’t have been treated to such drivel. Anyone remember when Harry said he couldn’t use a computer, didn’t know what an email was? They, my friend, were halcyon days.

In fairness, Harry did say the following,

“He’s not interested in chatting away with other managers after a game but when you are with him on your own, he is a very sociable and nice guy.”

It’s almost as if he’s suggesting that away from the football pitch, Arsène is a different person. Wow, that sounds like my mate Kevin. In fact that sounds like anyone I’ve ever played football with.

Allowing for the fact that football can make even the most reasonable argument sound ridiculous just days, even hours, after it’s been made Redknapp has already tied himself up in knots talking about Arsenal. First, we get the Arsenal can’t rely on Giroud all season opinion and then we get the he can’t keep switching between Theo and Giroud piece. Which is it Harry? You are confusing meeeeeeee…

I’ll be fair, he does seem to have been proved right on both those counts, with Theo established, for the time being, as Arsenal’s number one striker.

If you’re reading this and thinking, well, Harry Redknapp and Sam Allardyce are basically irrelevant now, I might concede that you have a point. However, undoubtedly very relevant is the manager of the champions. It is fair to say, I think, that Jose Mourinho has a whole hive of bees in his now grey bonnet about the Arsenal manager. Every interview, every press conference now seems to be about Le Boss, even when they aren’t. Okay, yes, Chelsea beat us last month, we’re the only team not to score against them this season which is phenomenally disappointing. However, it seems that, like Othello centuries before him, the master of mind games has become fatally distracted by a few well placed words from Iago Wenger.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bSNfFNJA4OU

Beating Arsenal every time you play them isn’t going to matter if you can’t manage to pick up victories outside of that fixture, any more than it would matter to Arsenal as long as they manage not to lose too many elsewhere. As it happens Chelsea have won exactly the same number of league games this season as Arsenal have lost: two.

Of course, like Michael Myers, there is a chance that Chelsea will make a surprise recovery, but it’s not going to be enough to see them successfully defend their title. Arsenal, on the other hand? Well, who knows what is possible, but as long as Arsène is out there getting under the skin of his contemporaries, I feel we’re in a safe place.

By the way, on the podcast this week, we ended up having a bit of a chat about a certain Dutch striker. I know you’ve probably all seen this by now, but if not, enjoy…

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OBMw6HypDh0

Yes, I know the title may come back to haunt me (like Michael Myers!) come 7:30 Saturday evening.

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It's a family affair... third generation Gooner, obsessed with Arsenal since the 80's. I've been writing about that obsession and, ever so occasionally, the team since 2004 in a variety of places, but have found a natural home here. As you will find out if you stick around long enough, I am a huge fan of Santi Cazorla. I'm extremely fond of cheese, Marmite, Pipers Salt n' Vinegar crisps, Pilsner Urquell, vodka tonics and absinthe. I am also hopelessly obsessed with Depeche Mode.