Good cop and cop out
There were two contrasting examples of football manmanagement this week. First the tough-guy approach of Sir Alex Ferguson in effectively sacking Jaap Stam. If anyone was under the illusion that Fergie might be going a bit soft as retirement looms, then it is time to think again.
Equally, if some of the Manchester United players assumed that their salaries bought them freedom of speech, they will not attempt to test the theory.

Secondly, the softly, softly approach from Arsene Wenger, who has the unenviable task of trying to keep Patrick Vieira on the pitch and concentrating on kicking just the ball. Wenger said he is amazed that rival clubs deliberately antagonise Vieira, an angel who can do no wrong.

Vieira needs his ego massaged, his feathers smoothed and his fiery temper cooled, all of which Wenger is prepared to do if it means his star player is kept happy. The manager's calming influence cannot, sadly for Arsenal, reach out on to the pitch where little terriers like Dennis Wise will spend the season yapping around Vieira's ankles until he snaps and Wenger will continue to be surprised when the red cards are brandished.

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