Arsene Wenger has hand-shaking freedom, no professional courtesy

Brooks Peck

The big to-do in the Carling Cup tonight wasn't so much that Manchester City won, setting up a semifinal Manchester derby with United, or that Chelsea lost to Blackburn in crazy 3-3 match that went to penalty kicks -- no, it was that Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger refused to shake Mark Hughes' hand after his side lost 3-0 to City. Seriously. People care about this.

Said Hughes:

"It is unnecessary. At one point he questioned why I was over on his side of the technical area and he was aggrieved at that, or maybe he was aggrieved at losing. I have been beaten 6-2 at the Emirates and I offered my hand. You always hurt when you lose. There is nobody more upset than me when we lose but I always offer my hand."

Well aren't you just a perfect little gentleman, Mark. While that is a very gracious gesture, it's hardly a big deal. And Arsene agrees:

"That has nothing to do with the game. I am free to shake hands with whoever I want to after the game. There is nothing more to say about it."

That's right -- whoever he wants. If he wants to shake hands with a department store Santa Claus or a small poodle after the match instead of Mark Hughes, that's his prerogative. But he does agree that not shaking hands was kind of a jerk move.

When asked if it is professional courtesy to shake an opposing manager's hand, Wenger replied:

"Yes it is. I had no professional courtesy."

Great. I'm glad we have that firmly established.

Photo: AP