Arsène Wenger must despair at the inefficiency in the game, embodied by the German midfielder’s omission

There’s been something strangely disconcerting about seeing Arsène Wenger back on our screens, promoting his new book. Almost every interviewer he has faced has tried to lure him into some sort of indelicacy. Come on Arsène, settle some scores. Shit-talk Mourinho. Shit-talk Arteta. Shit-talk the board. Give us the full-body contact. Yet by and large, Wenger has refused to dance. His book is restrained, measured, high on facts and light on gossip, and has thus inevitably been panned as a crushing disappointment. Occasionally, however – much like his teams – he can still produce a moment of pure transcendence.

On Friday night, Wenger was a guest on the Graham Norton Show, where he explained why footballers need a coach. “When people come together, it creates a magic,” he answered. “Sometimes the energy gets together, and they go up to a level where it becomes art. The art of flying together.” It was a beautiful, succinct image: his life’s mission, boiled down for a prime-time BBC One audience. Naturally, Norton quickly changed the subject to Wenger banning Mars bars. Freddie Flintoff told a story about drinking pints. The audience roared. Later, when the show’s Facebook page posted a clip from the programme, the one they chose was: “Arsène Wenger on his iconic fight with José Mourinho.”

Related: Arsène Wenger: 'A sense of anger, humiliation, hate … every defeat is still a scar on my heart' | Donald McRae

Related: Mesut Özil looks to have played last Arsenal game after European omission

Continue reading...