Arsenal has had its share of pantomime villains to deal with over the years. The list includes Troy Deeney, Diego Costa, and the entire Stoke City team. A recent addition to this list is Wolves midfielder, Ruben Neves.
It was almost two weeks ago that Neves voiced his disdain for the way Mikel Arteta’s side celebrated a 1-0 victory at Molineux. In a post-match interview, he stated, “I didn’t see Arsenal celebrating like this in the past 10 years – it was like they won the league.”
The Wolves’ social media department took it even further when they posted a cheeky shot at Arsenal on Twitter.
Keep in mind that Wolves are currently in the chase for fourth place not far behind the Gunners. Then there’s the fact that Arteta’s side was once again down a man as referee Michael Oliver issued Arsenal’s obligatory red card, this time to Gabriel Martinelli. It would have been shocking had the players not reveled in a hard-fought defensive win.
Arsenal looking to celebrate again against Wolves after being criticised for their reactions to Molineux win by Ruben Neves and others
It’s utter nonsense. There is a growing trend of celebration policing, as if players are barred from enjoying things that, while small in the context of wider achievements, aren’t still moments to cherish.
Regarding the joy exhibited at the end of the match, Alexandre Lacazette explained:
"“It means a lot because we really wanted to win this game,” he said. “It was stressful in this type of game but that is football. I’m really proud, everyone at the back did their job.”"
Of course, Arsenal supporters have been letting Wolves know how they feel about the questioning of their club for applauding an important victory.
As if it was written in the stars, the Gunners will face Neves and Wolves again this week at Emirates Stadium.
Not much has changed in the battle for a Champions League place. Wolves trail Arsenal by two points with the Gunners having a game in hand. Manchester United and West Ham are also in the mix, but both sides have played three more matches than Arsenal.
Then there is Spurs. The one time everyone was actually rooting for Pep Guardiola’s side, Tottenham pulls out an upset. That win leaves them three points behind Arsenal. Every remaining fixture is important.
Of course, Neves’ criticism is still fresh in the minds of Arsenal players and supporters. Should the Gunners pick up all three points against Wolves, fans are asking the players to take the celebration to a whole new level.
Hopefully, Arsenal will give Neves and Wolves more reason to complain about goal celebrations when the teams meet this week.