When I was growing up my father loved to repeat down-home local-yokel sayings like “slicker than cat shit through a tin horn” and “there’s only two things I hate to hear: a fat baby fart and a grown man cry.” You might think I was born in West Virginia but these home-spun gems of wisdom came from a man born in Philadelphia. Like all kids I rejected everything my father taught me: fat baby farts are hilarious and grown men crying is touching.
That said, I have to admit that Alexis Sanchez’ little strop after being taken off wasn’t touching. It was just kind of, weird.
Of course, as has been pointed out on twitter, it’s all my fault. I wrote an article a few weeks ago pointing out that Sanchez is acting funny. That he looks like he’s super pensive. That he’s been stooping over and stroking his chin lately. He’s been doing all of this weird behaviour during Arsenal losses and I thought maybe it meant something.
So, clearly this is all my fault. Me and all the 10 or so people who read what I write. And in Saturday’s match, he did the same thing when Arsenal were 2-0 up and I thought “well, that’s even stranger!” Then when he was taken off, he went and sat by himself, covered himself in a huge jacket and looked like he was… well, he was doubled over. I had a laugh. It was funnier than a fat baby farting.
I’m starting to think this stuff is all a show; no one likes to lose, no one likes to be taken off, but come on… making a big show of being taken off when you’re 4-0 up and you just scored a great goal? That’s just goofy.
One of the more interesting quotes in Pep Confidential addresses this topic. Talking about substitutions and starts, Pep tells his Bayern team
We must show respect for each other. I know that you all want to play but that just isn’t possible and I have to choose the players I think are most suitable…. if you run off to the press or your agents saying that you should have played, you will be showing a lack of respect – not for me, but for the guy who did get a game, your teammate.
We know that Alexis wants to play every minute of every game but Arsenal have a large squad with a number of players who need game time. Alexis throwing a fit, or even faking a fit, or just being a complete weirdo on the sidelines, is silly at best and is possibly driving a wedge between himself and his teammates at worst. Personally, I fall more on the “this is silly” side and hope Alexis cuts it out.
After the match, Wenger asked us all to understand, that this could be a cultural thing.
“He’s a good guy who gives a lot and wants to do well, always, for the team. There is no problem. But every culture is different. Some South Americans are a bit different to Europeans, Southern Europeans are different to northern Europeans. You have to respect that. That’s why we are a multi-national team.”
And there is some truth to this. We have seen Aguero throw some epic rants after being taken off. And Luis Suarez was caught throwing a massive tantrum when he left on the bench in a Uruguay match. The Suarez one is particularly hilarious because he was injured!
But I would disagree that it’s cultural. I’ve seen Rooney go nuts after being hauled off. I’ve seen Benzema. Daniele de Rossi has a famous strop. And guess who else has thrown a fit on the sidelines? Arsene Wenger. Wenger kicked a water bottle, threw a water bottle, pushed Jose Mourinho, and many other antics on the sidelines when he was upset with something going on on the pitch. Showing emotion is just something that top players do. If anything, Alexis’ was the tamest tantrum I’ve ever seen. He was more “Sad Keanu” than “Suarez biting a man’s face”. Let’s move on.
As for the results this weekend, Arsenal moved up to 4th over Man City thanks to Arsenal’s 4-0 win and City’s 4-0 loss. Arsenal made up +8 goal difference in one weekend. That’s pretty incredible. Man City look like a club in real disarray, I’ll have more on that topic tomorrow. Liverpool also took a point at Man U, though once again Man U needed an offside goal to get a point. That’s 7 offside goals in a row for Man U which begs the question, are the referees suspending the offside rules for Man U? The result means United climbed closer to the top four trophy. Though, incredibly they are 15 unbeaten and still in 6th place. Finally, Tottenham beat West Brom 4-0 to move into second but dropped to third with Liverpool’s point against United.
Tight title race.