Arsene Wenger makes HUGE claim ahead of Tottenham clash: English are masters of diving

ARSENE WENGER has claimed English players are now the “masters” of diving.

Posted Friday, February 09, 2018 by

The Arsenal manager's tongue in cheek comments come ahead of tomorrow's north London derby and just days after Tottenham duo Harry Kane and Dele Alli were accused of simulation in Sunday's draw with Liverpool.

Opposite number Mauricio Pochettino later courted controversy by suggesting that "tricking the opponent" had become part of the game.

Wenger did not mention any names. But given the spotlight is firmly on Kane and Alli, his suggestion English players have overtaken their foreign counterparts when it comes to simulation is sure to fan the flames.

"We have to get diving out of the game," said Wenger. "I remember there were tremendous cases here when foreign players did it.

"But I must says the English players have learned very quickly and they might even be the masters now. I don't encourage my players to dive at all

"Sometimes you want your players to be intelligent, they have played a little bit with the rules, and they make more of it on the penalty case. All strikers will do that.

"On that front, as much as I can be harsh with the referee, I'm quite tolerant with the referees because when you watch a game live it's very difficult at 100 per cent to distinguish whether it's a dive or not."

Wenger added: "I'm convinced he (Pochettino) wanted to say that tricking your opponent is to say that you have to be clever. How far was it an apology for diving? I'm not sure at all."

The Spurs boss was certainly not making excuses for his stance after being informed of Wenger's words.

Referencing Michael Owen earning a penalty for England when he went down in the box against Argentina in the 2002 World Cup, Pochettino said: "I didn't touch Owen, but he dived.

"My vision in that moment changed. I love football. Football for me means being creative, don't feel the limits. Try to not cheat, but trick the opponent in a good way. I'm not going to change my opinion.

"It's not (right) to talk generally or focus on one country or nationality. I love the diversity - you can find it (diving) in England, Spain or Argentina."

Arsene Wenger makes HUGE claim ahead of Tottenham clash: English are masters of diving
Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger gave his verdict on diving

Arsenal head to Wembley tomorrow in confident mood having won their last nine games at Tottenham's temporary home.

The Gunners have won three FA Cups in the last four seasons as well as the semi-finals and three Community Shields at the national stadium.

Wenger said: "It's always important and vital games and that's why the focus was there.

"It's a link with Wembley when you play big games, you are under pressure to perform and we respond.

"We have a positive history there and of course Wembley is a pitch that is quality, a stadium with a big crowd and it's always a special day.

"For us, when you look at the table, it's a very important game. You have to find a good balance between being rational and emotional.

"You have to be emotionally charged but you have also have to calm and focus, make good decisions and not let the emotions take over."

Wenger has no reservations about throwing in new signings Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Henrikh Mkhitaryan into battle.

The pair made an instant impact in the 5-1 win over Everton but it promises to be a different atmosphere against Spurs.

Wenger said: "These guys have the experience. They have played top level games and they know what is most important to do. They all just need to focus on the performance and how want to play the game tactically."

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