Wenger's substitution upsets fans...and his captain
Published 22:29 22/01/12 By John Cross
Arsene Wenger reacted angrily after Arsenal fans turned on him following a third successive defeat.
They chanted: “You don’t know what you’re doing” and booed after Wenger substituted Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (after his impressive full Premier League debut.
Gunners captain Robin van Persie also appeared to shout “no” as TV cameras panned on to his reaction after the substitution.
The mood then turned even uglier when Oxlade-Chamberlain’s replacement Andrey Arshavin was at fault on Danny Welbeck’s winner.
But Wenger said: “I can understand the fans are upset about the substitution, especially when it doesn’t work. It means I made the right decision at the start of the game (to play Oxlade-Chamberlain).
“He had started to fatigue. He was sick in the week. Arshavin is captain of the Russia national team.
“You have an 18-year-old kid making his first Premier League start and a player who’s captain of his country and they are querying the substitution? Let’s be serious.
“People pay their tickets and are free to express their emotions. We cannot dictate behaviour to people. That doesn’t mean they’re right always.
“We lost the game just now and I do not have to explain to you what I do. I have to stand up to the result and the subs.
“I’ve been 30 years a manager and made 50,000 subs and I have to justify every decision I make to you? I stand up for it. I do not have to explain to you every single decision I make.”
But Arshavin’s mistake at not closing down Antonio Valencia on Welbeck’s winner drew fierce criticism from TV pundit Gary Neville.
Neville said: “You don’t like to criticise players, but he (Arshavin) looks the most disinterested player in the league to me. He doesn’t like our weather. He doesn’t like our women. I think he wants to go back to Russia. Well, go back.
“The Arsenal fans don’t want him out there. If the captain’s (Van Persie) reacting like that, you’ve got problems.”