Arsene Wenger – a quaint, polite and reserved 67-year-old Frenchman, right?
Well, while the Arsenal boss isn’t always the epitome of calm, he’s about as tranquil as Premier League managers can get. He certainly can’t be found launching animating fits of rage on the sidelines, very often at least.
However, Robert Pires has revealed that the Frenchman is capable of losing his temper, but only once has he seen such an occurrence. Given the context, the one off was rather understandable.
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Fit of anger
Considering Pires spent six years with the north London club and saw his manager uncontrollably angry just once, it must have been a considerable low point.
Speaking to Sportskeeda, the 43-year-old revealed: “He’s very calm. Sometimes he is quiet. But I’ve seen him angry only once, he was very upset but it was normal.
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“During the Manchester United vs Arsenal game (2001), when we lost 6-1, at half time he was furious. That was the only time I’ve seen him upset.”
As Pires outlines, Wenger had great reason to be so exasperated.
The Red Devils were quick to the take to lead via Dwight Yorke, but the Gunners soon drew level at Old Trafford via Thierry Henry. What followed proved a comprehensive capitulation though.
Not content with his first strike, Yorke scored past David Seaman twice more to bag a hat trick over the course of just 20 minutes. Roy Keane and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer also found their names on the score sheet to condemn Arsenal to a 5-1 deficit before the break.
While Wenger’s half time rant did stop the rot and the deluge of goals, United still found time to dish further dirt on their rivals. Teddy Sheringham was in the right place at the right time to lash home a sixth in stoppage time.
The permutations of the drubbing were even more infuriating for Wenger. It effectively put an end to the Gunners’ title challenge with the Red Devils establishing an emphatic 16-point lead at the top of the league.
Nevertheless, the 6-1 battering proved a largely anomalous low point in a largely successful period for Arsenal.
In fact, Pires collected two league titles and three FA Cups during his time at the club and was only outscored by Henry during the famous unbeaten season. Maybe that’s why Wenger lost his rag so rarely.
In addition, the Frenchman receives prominent props from his ex-midfield star.
When asked whether he thought Wenger was stubborn, Pires was quick to come to his defence, stating: “Why is he stubborn? I say no. I know Wenger and he is very important. I remember (during transfer season), everyone asks, ‘why isn’t Arsene spending a lot of money?’ For what? He has a great team.
“He spent a lot of money on Mustafi and Xhaka and I think it’s enough. Look now, we’re at the top of the league, top in the Champions League group. He’s very clever.
“This is the difference between Arsenal and Manchester United. They spend a lot of money but look, it’s become very complicated for them, even for my friend Paul Pogba. Sometimes you need to think about the entire team and its future.”
So, while Pires alludes to an occasion on which United wiped the floor with Arsenal, he was keen to hit back at the Red Devils for their current situation.
After all, it’s hard to see the Old Trafford side hammering Arsenal in such a fashion this season.
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