Arsene Wenger has started the mind games ahead of the NLD this weekend…
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Ahead of Arsenal’s trip to Wembley on Saturday to face Spurs in the North London derby (Watch live, 7;30 a.m. ET on CNBC and online via NBCSports.com) Wenger discussed the recent uproar regarding diving in the Premier League with Tottenham’s Harry Kane, Dele Alli and Erik Lamela all in the spotlight following tumbles in the box during their 2-2 draw at Liverpool last Sunday.
Following Mauricio Pochettino‘s controversial comments that you have to “trick” your opponent in today’s game, Wenger had his say.
“I am convinced that he wanted to say that tricking your opponent is to say that you have to be clever. How far was it an apology for diving? I’m not sure at all. I don’t think he would,” Wenger said. “In my personal case? No. We have to get the diving out of the game. I remember there were tremendous cases here when foreign players did it but I must say the English players have learned very quickly and they might even be the masters now.”
Arsenal’s manager laughed when issuing the last comment, so it was all a little tongue in cheek, but with Kane and Dele both singled out for going down in the box at Anfield last Sunday, does he have a point? Simulation in the Premier League is often blamed on players arriving from leagues across the world but it could well be that English players have been getting away with some playacting over the years.
More than likely this is just Wenger’s way of trying to make Kane and Dele think twice before they go down in the box on Saturday in the NLD with just four points and one palce separating the two teams in the table.
Wenger was also asked if there’s a better striker in Europe than Harry Kane at the moment and this was his response.
“If you look at the numbers then, no,” Wengr said. “I can talk and talk and talk, but it’s the numbers which will show that. The best way to defend is to have the numbers and take the game to them.”
Kane scored his 100th Premier League goal for Spurs last Sunday and led players from Europe’s top five leagues in goals scored in all competitions in 2017 with 56 goals.
There’s no doubting that Kane, who has 22 goals in the Premier League this season to lead the way, is at the peak of his powers and the North London lad has scored six goals in six PL games against Arsenal, the club who released him as a child.
Will Kane make them pay for that decision once again this weekend?