By Chris Harris

Arsène Wenger won’t get paranoid about contentious issues in football – even when his players are treated more harshly than others.

Eduardo hit the headlines at the start of the season after winning a penalty in controversial circumstances against Celtic in the Champions League. The incident caused a huge furore in the media and Eduardo was subsequently banned by UEFA for two matches for ‘deceiving the referee’ - a suspension which was soon annulled.

At the time Wenger voiced his concern that Eduardo had been singled out for special attention by the media, and events since then appear to bear him out. For example, Wayne Rooney's dive against Villarreal - for which the striker apologised - attracted far less coverage.

As Wenger prepared to face Rooney and Manchester United at the weekend, he was asked whether he felt aggrieved because Eduardo was treated differently. The Arsenal manager chose to play the matter down.

“I don’t think at the time [of the Eduardo incident] the fuss was specially made by the English press,” he said.

“It came more from Scotland, from the reaction of Celtic, and afterwards the press relayed that.

“But I never want to come out too much on that because at the end of the day you can always find reasons why someone is treated one way and someone else is treated differently.

“At the end of the day you have to think ‘are we guilty or not?’ If you go further there is a reason to become paranoid.”

‘Simulation’ is all too common on the football field but ‘fair play’ also has its moments. Take Ricardo Fuller, who stayed on his feet after a foul by Mikael Silvestre in the FA Cup tie at Stoke last weekend.

The Stoke striker’s actions denied his team a deserved penalty and, in Wenger’s eyes, that is why Fuller’s behaviour is the exception, not the rule.

“Yes of course [Fuller paid for his honesty],” said the manager.

“We live in a society where you have to win at any costs because if you don’t win you are nobody. That means it puts people under pressure to try and win no matter how.

“For example, France against Ireland with Thierry Henry. He is a fair player but when you know the pressure his French national team was under before, he stopped the ball [with his hand].”

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30 Jan 2010