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Last Updated: Thursday, 28 August, 2003, 01:16 GMT 02:16 UK
Pires involved in tunnel row
Olof Mellberg and Robert Pires clash at Highbury

Robert Pires and Olof Mellberg could be in hot water after clashing during Arsenal's 2-0 win over Aston Villa at Highbury on Wednesday.

Although the incident did not appear that serious, the Football Association will have to await the reports from the match officials before deciding whether to launch an investigation.

Neither Arsene Wenger nor David O'Leary witnessed the brief flare-up, which erupted after Pires went sprawling following the faintest of touches from Mellberg just before the interval.

Mellberg voiced his dissatisfaction to the French international and the verbal exchange continued after the half-time whistle went, with Villa assistant coach Roy Aitken and Arsenal skipper Patrick Vieira also involved.

It was a dangerous challenge and, let's put it this way, I didn't shake his hand afterwards
Robert Pires on Olof Mellberg

Stewards and police officers also moved in and the incident was over almost as soon as it had begun.

"Robert Pires and Thierry Henry were trying to wind me up with their talk throughout the game," said Mellberg.

"There was an incident just before the interval but I didn't get drawn into it at half-time, I simply made my way into the tunnel and left them to it."

Pires added: "It was a dangerous challenge and, let's put it this way, I didn't shake his hand afterwards, but it's forgotten."

O'Leary adopted a Wenger-like stance when asked about the incident, insisting: "I know nothing about it."

Wenger added: "I didn't see anything, that's the first time I've been asked about it.

"You must speak to the police. I went down the tunnel first as I hadn't seen anything on the pitch to make me wait there."




WATCH AND LISTEN
Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger
"Villa were well organised"


Arsenal's Thierry Henry
"We had to keep going"





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