Arsène Wenger, Arjen Robben, "Diving", and the art of being a disgraceful loser

Lars Baron

If there's one thing that Arsène Wenger has mastered in recent years, it's the inability to show any class after losing.

As the manager of one of the world's "elite" clubs, one would think that a manager would learn to develop a thick skin and show a little humility and class in defeat. Unfortunately for Arsenal Football Club and Arsène Wenger, it doesn't appear that 18 years on the job has taught him anything. Perhaps, the whole "pushing nine years without a trophy" is really getting to him.

Of course, what I'm getting at here has to do with Wenger's post match rambling where he, once again, took it upon himself to besmirch Arjen Robben's name.

If you'll remember, after Bayern's 2-0 victory in London, Wenger whinged in the press about how Robben "dove" to draw the foul that saw Wojciech Szczęsny sent off with a red card. Was it a foul? 100%. Was it a penalty? 100%. Was it a red card? 100%. Wenger accused Robben of diving there on the field and, after the fact, refused to acknowledge the fact that his goalkeeper committed a red card worthy foul in the penalty area.

Now, two weeks later, Robben is having to hear the public moaning from Wenger in the media once again. Here is the full quote from Sky Sports:

"Robben is very good at getting the maximum of nothing and he is a great player and as well a very good diver, but it is part of it. He is a fantastic player, I would not deny that, he's one of the best players in the world. But he gets in front of a player and then he slows down and goes down. He gets the free-kicks. That's where we spoke about yesterday that the referee, if he gives him a yellow card on the first one when he goes down, he will not do it again."

Can we speak about this "first one", Arsène? The "first one" is when you're claiming that Robben "dove". In fact, let's just look at the photographic evidence.

This is the "first one". Cazorla has clearly fouled Robben from behind here by tripping him. We're all well aware that Robben has shown the tendency to go down easily during his career, but Wenger's accusations here are silly. If anything should've been called here, it was a penalty for Bayern and at least a yellow card to Cazorla. The referee did not blow his whistle for the clear and obvious foul against Cazorla after Robben hit the ground. He missed the foul. These things happen.

On the opposite side of the spectrum, Robben took the high road in his comments about Mr. Wenger. Instead of talking about Bayern eliminating Arsenal from the Champions League for the second consecutive year, the fact that Arsenal haven't won the Premier League in a decade, or the fact that Arsenal have never won the Champions League, here's what Robben had to say.

"I always say that if you are a big manager, take your loss. If you win, be happy, enjoy, but if you lose, don't start complaining about the silly things. It was two penalties, but I don't want to have to defend myself. From a big manager, you expect a little bit more if you lose."

Did you understand this, Wenger? "Take Your loss." Your team, while a very good Premier League team, was beaten over two legs by the reigning and defending European and World Champions. It's okay to be upset that your team was unable to overcome two mediocre performances from Bayern. It's not okay to single out a player of the opposition for something that did not take place.

Plus, people who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones. Right, Mr. Wenger?

"I think it is difficult with diving. Sometimes players dive to escape being hit. It's not always necessarily diving because you want to dive. Sometimes it's a way of getting out of the way. The borderline between being sensible, being shrewd or being a cheat is very slim so, in some cases, to assess which is which is very difficult."

Show some class next time.

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