AW lifts lid on row with doomed City puppet Hughes

Arsene Wenger has lifted the lid on his ruck with Mark Hughes and his refusal to shake the Manchester City boss’s hand after our 3-0 reverse in the Carling Cup midweek.
Ahead of today’s Premier League encounter with Stoke City at the Emirates, AW has held up his hands and confessed to being a sore loser — but there was no apology or regret from the Arsenal manager about his decision to snub soon-to-be-sacked Hughes.
The Daily Mail asserts that AW remains angry about an X-rated touchline insult he believes was aimed in his direction by Hughes during the first half of Wednesday’s quarter-final.
City won 3-0 but the Arsenal manager insists the subsequent row has nothing to do with the result and everything to do with personal behaviour. Asked if he would shake Hughes’ hand in the future, Wenger replied: ‘I will when people behave properly. I will, but I am not a slave to the ceremony. I have my freedom and, like you, I have my views.
The paper claims he has also been irritated by the fact Hughes publicised their row straight after the game. ‘In my opinion he was not in a strong position to go public,’ said Wenger as he prepared for his 500th Premier League game, against Stoke.
‘I am managing my 500th game and I believe I have shaken hands 497 times,’ he said. ‘Listen, when I do something, I know what will hit me after. But, at the end of the day, it is more important that I behaved the right way.
‘I did what I did and I knew at half-time what I would do. I do not deny I am a bad loser but on this occasion I would have done exactly the same had we won or lost. I maintain what I did. I don’t regret one second of anything I did.
‘Sometimes in England the ceremony is more important than the real thing. For example, in this case, I am the only one being questioned. I have been here for 13 years and nobody wonders why I reacted like that. That means you can say what you want, insult everybody and, if at the end you just do what is expected, you are perfect. That is sometimes the case in England.
AW, whose team have now lost their last three domestic games, feels it is difficult to progress if you are a good loser, reports today’s Sun.
He added: “In our job, if you’re a good loser you don’t go very far. You cannot ask the players to put 100 per cent effort into something and afterwards, when it doesn’t work, be happy. Life is not like that. The good thing in football is the next game you can be absolutely fantastic.”
After last Sunday’s 3-0 home defeat by Chelsea, Arsenal are 11 points behind with a game in hand. But Wenger said: “I believe we will respond well. Stoke is a game we need to win.”
Elsewhere this morning, the Mirror reports that French club Bordeaux insist striker Marouane Chamakh won’t leave them until the end of the season. The Moroccan forward, whose contract expires in June,  has been coveted by several Premier League clubs, including us.
But Bordeaux coach Laurent Blanc said that Chamakh “will play for Bordeaux from January 1 to June 30.” Chamakh, 25, scored 13 goals in the French league last season and looked set for a move to Arsenal before negotiations broke down.
Meanwhile, the Daily Star claims Arsenal and Manchester United and have been given the green light to fight it out for £15m-rated Steven Defour. The Standard Liege midfielder has just returned to light training after breaking a foot. He is aiming at a comeback in February.
Defour has already set his sights on a summer move to the Premier League. United boss Sir Alex Ferguson signalled his intention to sign Defour after sending the 21-year-old a personal get-well-soon letter in October, says the paper.
Apparently, Fergie wrote that he would remain in contact with the Belgian club over his recovery. The redtop says AW is also a long-term admirer and now they are set to go head to head for Defour.
A (probably made-up) source said: “Many Belgian players go and play in Holland but there is a big difference between the Dutch League and the Premier League. Steven would love to play in England. There are a lot of clubs looking at him but it all depends on how he comes back from his injury, whether he returns to what he was.
Laters, Arsenalistas…

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