David Hirshey writes regularly about soccer for Deadspin.
OK, what can I say? Arsene Wenger acted like a complete twat after Arsenal's gut-wrenching 1-0 loss to West Ham yesterday and would have been better off lowering his $200 haircut into Pardew's sternum like a true, psychotic Frenchman than swinging his purse and crying "fucking disgrace."
I mean, if you're so enraged by the fist-pumping Jimmy V-like celebratory antics of your fellow manager after his team scores a last-minute goal that probably saved his job, why not go all Zizou on him? This business of refusing to shake hands, which Wenger has perfected into an art form after previously shunning the digits of Tottenham's Martin Jol and Sir Alex, is pure Nancy boy behavior. As much as I revere the water that Wenger walks on, Arsenal deserved to lose yesterday, and Pardew deserved to celebrate in any manner he saw fit. This is a guy who only a week ago had been strapped to the gurney and was awaiting the lethal injection after the Hammers, who had started the season so brightly, had gone into freefall, thanks to one of the most boneheaded transfer coups in Premiership history. Which reminds me, have Tevez and Mascherano gone into some kind of Witness Protection Program, or is it just a coincidence that they haven't been seen since the Hammers have started winning again? Or perhaps Pardew realized that he couldn't very well trot out a couple of Argentines after accusing Wenger last season of fielding a team devoid of a single Englishman, a comment that Monsieur Sangfroid deemed "racist."
So the odds of Pardew and Wenger sharing tea and crumpets yesterday were long to begin with, and they became even longer when a West Ham fan threw a coin that caught Van Persie in the back of the head. The mercurial Dutchman, who had been involved in a couple of testy challenges with West Ham's American defender Jonathan Spector, crumbled to the ground as if poleaxed by a sniper bullet, thereby ensuring that his every subsequent touch would be jeered mercilessly. But that was nothing compared to what hit Arsenal in the 89th minute. The Gunners, coming off a physically draining and hugely frustrating — they wasted 24 chances including two open netters by Rosicky and Fabregas — 0-0 Champions League draw with CSKA Moscow, were perfectly content to settle for another bagel with West Ham after a similarly profligate afternoon that saw Rosicky shank a gilt-edged opportunity in the direction of Praque and Henry lack his usual cutting edge in front of goal.
West Ham, however, never stopped battling, and when Etherington rode Flamini's tackle to combine wonderfully with Sheringham before crossing to Harewood for the dramatic winner, Arsenal's annus horriblis week was complete. With Wenger setting the example on the sideline by pushing Pardew, his players followed suit with first Fabregas, then Lehmann squaring up to the 40-year-old Sheringham. The geezer striker looked highly amused, especially when Lehmann manfully squirted him with his water bottle. After all, it had been quite a week for ol' Teddy. Not only did he notch West Ham's winner last Saturday, but it was revealed that he had scored even more spectacularly off the field when his 22-year-old girlfriend Danielle Lloyd was stripped of her Miss Great Britain crown after bragging that she had spent Christmas in bed with Sheringham. (Nothing wrong with that, except that Sheringham was one of the judges who voted for her and they had claimed they didn't hook up until after the pageant in February. You go on, Teddy, son.)
No doubt Wenger would label the entire episode a "fucking disgrace" and refuse to shake Danielle's hand.