By Richard Clarke

Arsène Wenger has backed Robin van Persie’s strongly-worded reaction to the challenge on him by Emmanuel Adebayor at the weekend.

During Saturday’s match at Eastlands, the studs of the Manchester City striker connected with the head of his former Arsenal colleague. That evening, the Dutchman issued a statement on Arsenal.com describing the challenge as a “mindless and malicious stamp”.  Speaking ahead of Wednesday’s game at Standard Liege, Wenger gave rock-solid support to Van Persie.

“Of course I back him,” said the manager. “In football, everybody is free to have an opinion. If somebody stamps on your head in that way, you wouldn’t say ‘thank you very much, can I turn the other cheek’. Only Jesus Christ did that.”

On Tuesday the Football Association charged Adebayor with violent conduct over the incident. By that time Wenger had seen the challenge again on video and he was far from happy.

“It looks very bad,” he said. “You ask 100 people, 99 will say it’s very bad and the 100th will be Mark Hughes.

“Of course we are disappointed because when you go to the head, you are always scared for people. You never know how it will affect their health.

“I think it was a very bad challenge, surprisingly bad and I didn’t expect him to do that. But, for me, the referee should have sent him off for the Fabregas tackle [earlier in the game].”

Copyright 2014 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source 16 Sep 2009