Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Collins Puts the Boot into Arsene after 'Ridiculous' Taunt over 'Long-Ball Villa'

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Collins Puts the Boot into Arsene after 'Ridiculous' Taunt over 'Long-Ball Villa'

Article excerpt

Byline: Marco Giacomelli

JAMES COLLINS today hit out at Arsene Wenger's claims that Aston Villa are a long ball team and branded the Arsenal manager's comments "stupid" and "ridiculous."

Wenger made his thoughts clear on Villa's approach after Wednesday's goalless draw between the two sides. Villa boss Martin O'Neill was angry when told of Wenger's outburst and claimed it was an "appalling insult".

Now Collins has echoed those sentiments ahead of tomorrow's Premier League clash against Fulham at Craven Cottage.

The former West Ham centre-back said: "They were ridiculous comments by Arsene Wenger. I don't think he has any right saying that about teams.

"It's the same on the pitch. You sort of get the impression playing against them that you can't tackle them.

"The comments he has made are so stupid, it's unbelievable. If we played long balls, we wouldn't be in the position we are in.

"Obviously the manager is angry with the comments as well and we can't believe what he has said.

"I've never played in a team where we have played better football. It's one of the most bizarre comments I've ever heard.

"Wenger has a bit of a reputation for coming out with odd comments now and again so you just have to take it with a pinch of salt really."

Despite Collins's comments, goals have been thin on the ground for Villa with their draw against Arsenal being the fourth League game in a row in which they have failed to get on the scoresheet.

However, they have scored nine times in two Cup matches this month and Collins thinks that a change of luck tomorrow could spark a run of goals from the forward line.

"I didn't realise we hadn't scored for four games now in the League," he said. "We've scored three in the FA Cup against Brighton and six against Blackburn so it's a strange one.

"We're creating the chances but don't seem to be getting the luck in front of the goal at the moment.

"The boys have been doing very well up front. We just can't stick it in the net at present but it will come. We have great players up front-- they are top international players. I think we just need one goal to scrape in to get the ball rolling again. …

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