Deeney’s Arsenal claims from ‘no cojones’ jibe to Aubameyang accusation

Despite never playing for an immediate rival, Tory Deeney has managed to incur the wrath of Arsenal supporters on countless occasions.

The Watford captain has enjoyed numerous tussels against the Gunners down the years.

As a player, and recently as part of his role with talkSPORT, he has never been afraid of sending a dig to North London.

Earlier this week, Deeney took aim at Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang accusing him of letting last summer’s contract saga affect his game.

But that’s by no means the first time he has crossed swords with Arsenal, in a rivalry that can be dated back to October 2017…

‘No cojones’

The most infamous of Deeney’s digs came during the 2017/18 season, when after leading the Hornets to a 2-1 comeback victory, he accused Arsene Wenger’s side of lacking ‘cojones’.

"I've heard Wenger's already blaming that [the penalty] as the reason they lost," he told BT Sport at the time.

"Having a bit of cojones, I think the word is. Whenever I play against Arsenal – and this is just a personal thing – I go up and think 'Let me whack the first one, then we will see who wants it'.

"I came on today and jumped up with Mertesacker – I didn't even have to jump up actually – nodded it down and the crowd gets up. They all just backed off.”

No regrets

18 months later, Deeney was offered the chance to reflect on those comments, but there was little backtracking to be seen.

“Hindsight’s a wonderful thing, and I might have been better off just saving it for the boozer afterwards, but I don’t ever regret it.

“If I’m out in London now, I get Arsenal fans coming up to me and saying, ‘That cojones comment was out of order, but fair play for saying what you think’.

“Others will tap me on the shoulder and say, ‘Good on you, Troy, I’ve been saying that for years’.”

‘I got battered for it’

Now working for talkSPORT, the 32-year-old is paid for voicing his opinion – however unpopular they may be.

And during the Mesut Ozil saga, Deeney decided to side with the German, claiming his prolonged absence was bad management.

“It’s a shame. I said last week, and I got battered for it, that he’s one of the best players I’ve played against,” he said in November of last year.

“What people don’t see is what happens behind closed doors. There’s obviously an issue with his wages and he’s in the last year of his contract.

“He hasn’t done anything wrong. They’re not fining him for being late or refusing to play, it’s coming down to an issue of style of play – does he work hard enough for the new formation – and money.

“You could make the argument, is that poor management? Because having him just in the 25 at least would allow you to put him in in this current situation."

Soft touch

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And as if to complete the circle, in December of last year, Deeney went back to his favourite trope, labelling Arteta’s side a ‘soft touch’ and tipped them for a relegation battle.

"Arsenal remain something of a soft touch — but a different sort of soft touch," he said.

"Not a team you can physically intimidate but a team who will always give you a chance.

" Burnley will believe they can win at the Emirates tomorrow. They will look to exploit Arsenal’s weaknesses from set-pieces and they will look to hit them on the break, too.

"If they lose, then Arsenal could slip towards a genuine relegation battle and Arteta will be in serious trouble."

Arsenal’s revenge

Gunners players and fans were able to exact their own portion of revenge on the final day of last season, beating Deeney’s Watford 3-2 to condemning them to relegation.

After the game, with emotions still running high, Deeney was asked whether that match could be his last as a professional.

"I'm not that old, you cheeky b******," replied the Watford captain, before apologising to viewers for swearing.

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