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Rewind to Boxing Day 1963

Barclays Premier League
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Ferguson hits back over Wenger's Scholes criticism

Sir Alex Ferguson has hit back at Arsene Wenger following claims made by the Arsenal manager that Paul Scholes has a "dark side".

Wenger: Scholes has a dark side
Wenger hits out at 'rugby' tactics
Wenger unhappy with 'unfair' Rovers

By and large, the footballing world has been lauding the midfielder for the terrific start Scholes has made to the season but, although Wenger offered his own words of praise for the midfielder, he also suggested that he was not always on the right side of the law.

However, Ferguson has now reignited the flames between the two bosses with a staunch defence of his player.

"I don't know why Arsene Wenger said that," he said. "When you are asked your opinion about someone with the ability and performance level of Paul Scholes, I don't see why you should say that.

"It is very easy to look at the dark side of any player. I could say it about one of the Arsenal players in particular and everybody knows that but there is no need. Paul is not the best tackler but he has not injured anyone in his time here.

"You should focus on the strengths and abilities he shows and also the contribution he has made to English football over 18 years. It is phenomenal."

Wenger has also been critical of Blackburn manager Sam Allardyce in the past and suggested at the weekend that he was wary of Saturday's game at Ewood Park turning into a "rugby" match, but Allardyce has also hit back.

"If I have to remind Arsene about his own team that used to win the league - it was also the dirtiest team," he said. "They had more sendings off and bookings than anyone else ever before. Arsenal had players like Patrick Vieira, Emmanuel Petit, Kevin Campbell and Martin Keown and they would mix it anyway you wanted to."

He added: "Arsene's change of tactics from that day to this are remarkable.

"He has gone from that team and changed it into a side bred on getting the ball down and passing and moving, but it is still not as good as that team he used to have because they could do it any way you wanted to win the league and the cup.

"It caused anyone huge fear whenever you faced them because you wondered what way can we play to beat them. Now there is a way to beat them because I've done that many times.

"They are not without players that aren't physically capable. Don't worry about that. Don't be sucked in by Arsene's talk that they're a nice, pretty team."

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