Thursday 19 April 2018

Domenech slams Wenger's gamble

Russell Kempson

ARSENE WENGER has been labelled "irresponsible" for using William Gallas against Barcelona on Wednesday.

Raymond Domenech, the France manager, said it was "outrageous" that the Arsenal defender started the Champions League tie in which he suffered an injury that has ruled him out for the season and could also cost him a place at the World Cup.

But in a classic club versus country row, Wenger hit back, insisting he had done nothing wrong in using Gallas, who suffered a recurrence of the calf injury that had kept him out for two months.

Addressing 60 members of the French Football Federation, Domenech said: "I am livid and p****d off. It is outrageous and irresponsible to have played so early after the injury. He'd better be fit for the World Cup."

Domenech has warned his players that to have any chance of making the squad for South Africa they must be able to report for the training camp on May 18.

But Wenger said: "I don't think it will cost him (Gallas) his World Cup. I believe he declared himself fit and I have the reports from the rehabilitation centre where he worked for 10 days and he had four days training with the team. Maybe we should have taken some more time but he was jumping, running up and down the stairs in France, had very hard sessions.

"Gallas was born in 1977 -- he's 32 -- so you ask a player of that experience, 'do you feel ready to play? Have you worked hard enough? Do you feel ready to go into this game?' When they say yes you have to believe them."

Domenech was at the game at the Emirates but Wenger added: "I didn't speak to him afterwards. We have to first take care of the interests of Arsenal. The French national team is important, but Arsenal is as well and he is paid by the club, not the French national team. We have to use the players when they declare themselves fit."

Wenger, meanwhile, was still coming to terms with the fact that captain Cesc Fabregas is out for the season and admitted that the Spaniard can sometimes be too tough for his own good. Fabregas has been ruled out after it was confirmed that he had broken his leg in the 2-2 draw with Barcelona.

Wenger also revealed that he has launched an inquiry into whether his captain should have played, having suffered an injury on the same spot on his leg at Birmingham last Saturday.

Wenger insisted Fabregas would be fit to return for Spain's World Cup campaign, but will be unable to help his club in their quest to win the Premier League and Champions League.

Wenger said he had questioned Fabregas several times, both before the warm-up and after he had tested his fitness out ahead of the Barcelona game, but was assured by the player that he was fit to play. "He's always very demanding with himself. It's unbelievable but he's a tough boy," Wenger said.

Asked whether there is a danger if Fabregas is prepared to play when he should accept he is injured, the Frenchman added: "There is always that possibility. You play with pain sometimes. Nine times out of 10 you get away with it and one time out of 10 you make your injury worse."

An inquiry has begun after two independent doctors confirmed, before the Barcelona game, that Fabregas was fit to play. "We got two independent bodies and doctors who looked at the X-ray. They do not work at the club and we have the report from them. If they had felt it needed a deeper investigation they would have told us. That was not their statement," Wenger added.


Arsenal face Wolves at the Emirates today without Fabregas, Gallas and Andrei Arshavin, who will be out for at least two weeks with a calf injury also sustained against Barcelona.

Meanwhile, Wolves manager Mick McCarthy has vowed that his team will not be cannon fodder for title-chasing Arsenal. Outside of the Wolves camp, McCarthy accepts no one will give his side any chance at all against a free-scoring Arsenal outfit who have won 20 of their 24 home games this season.

But Wolves head into the match in confident mood. They are unbeaten in four games and could be facing Arsenal at just the right time following their midweek exertions against Barcelona.

"We aren't going down there with any other thoughts than we want to stop them beating us," he said. "I am pleased with the way we have been playing but nobody outside me, my team and the staff is expecting us to get anything at Arsenal.

"I want to go there and get something. I have got no interest in going there and just looking at the ground. We know Arsenal are one of the three teams that could win the league this season so it will be a hard game for us." (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Arsenal v Wolves

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