After reports emerged that former Gunner Mikel Arteta had his head cut open in a tunnel brawl between players and staff of Man Utd and Man City, Arsene Wenger pointed the finger at the media who look to inflame passions before a big game.
Sunday’s showdown between the two Manchester clubs was preceded by a clash between Liverpool and Everton on what Sky had billed ‘Double Derby Day’.
That all spilled over when football’s sorest loser (and winner), Jose Mourinho, accused City’s players of lacking respect in victory, sparking a punch-up and for Arteta to come off wounded.
Asked about it at his press conference today, Wenger said with a grin, “I heard about that, but I’ve not seen anything.
“It’s part of the incident, sometimes it can happen in big derbies. You are always very good the press, you build things up like they are life and death and then when something happens after, you are surprised.
“It’s part of the intensity and the importance of the games sometimes, it can go a bit over board. It’s happened to us, it happened to them. It’s unfortunate.
“Ideally, you would commit 100 per cent, 200 per cent on the pitch and be an angel after, but it is not always the case.”
The Arsenal manager was asked if he thought City’s celebrations might have been over the top, and referenced his time in Japan and in particular sumo wrestling as an example of how respect can be shown when you win.
“I don’t know what happened, really,” he said. It is difficult to take when you lose a big game to see the 100 per cent celebration on the other side.
“It’s always like witnessing an offence, that’s why when I was in Japan, I admired sumo. In sumo you never can tell the guy who wins.
“He doesn’t show his happiness because of respect for his opponent. That shows how deep the culture is there of the respect for each other.
“Is it something we can copy? I don’t think so, because it’s not part of our culture.”
It would be nice if there was that kind of thing a bit more often, but the closest the Premier League gets to sumo is when Xherdan Shaqiri and Charlie Adam tussle on the Stoke training pitch, and frankly that’s an image none of us need.