Belfast Telegraph

Biting Back: Arsenal v United, the showdown continues

By Steven Beacom

There's been some epic confrontations down the years... the 1990 brawl at Old Trafford after which both sides were docked points, Keane v Vieira, Van Nistelrooy v virtually the entire Arsenal team, Pizzagate and a personal favourite when Roy Carroll used to try and wind up Thierry Henry, which the Fermanagh man once told me was 'just football, nothing personal'.

The latest battle sees Arsene Wenger and, wait for it... our kid Paddy McNair going head to head. I know it sounds crazy, but it's true. Well, mostly.

Wenger's been mouthing off while McNair has sat quietly in his Manchester digs wondering what all the fuss is about. He's from Ballyclare... they don't fluster easily!

Before the Gunners turned around a worrying lack of form by beating Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League on Wednesday, Wenger took teenager McNair to task for his robust challenge on Jack Wilshere during United's 2-1 victory last weekend.

Wilshere, who has as many injury woes as Daniel Sturridge and that's saying something, suffered long-term ankle ligament damage.

Obviously that irked the Frenchman who singled the 19-year-old out saying McNair 'dived in and took him (Wilshere) from the back and the side' concluding that it was a 'bad foul'.

Wenger would have experience of those having managed Vieira, Martin Keown and a few others never shy of the physical stuff.

Taking a swipe at McNair was unnecessary. It felt like a cheap shot. The Frenchman really should know better.

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