Arsenal FC manager Arsene Wenger defends English clubs following poor results in the Champions League and maintains that the Premier League remains the best league in the world.
All the four English clubs failed to win their respective matches in the first legs of the round-of-16 clashes in the Champions League. Manchester City, Arsenal and Manchester United lost to Barcelona, Bayern Munich and Olympiakos respectively – incidentally by the same score line of 2-0 – while Chelsea drew away from home against Galatasaray after missing a host of chances upfront.
Former Manchester United captain Roy Keane has hit back at the Premier League following these results and said that people have been brainwashed into believing that this is the best league in the world.
“We’ve been brainwashed that the Premier League is the best in the world. Nonsense.
“It’s the best brand in the world, but they have fallen behind.” – Keane said on a TV show.
But Arsene Wenger has jumped to the defence of this league and said that it is little preposterous to jump to any conclusions before the second legs are over.
“It is one game and they are very difficult opponents. I think you have first to realise that all four teams came out of the group stage. That means that the level is there.
“After only one game, you cannot judge a general trend. Man City played with 10 men, Arsenal played with 10 men, Man City played against Barcelona, Arsenal played against Bayern Munich, who are world champions.
“Of course you know that with 10 men it will be a difficult game. After that the other two teams are still in positions, Man United and Chelsea, where they can turn the results around.
“Let’s wait until the end of the second game before talking about a trend of strength or weakness.” – The Arsenal manager said.
Arsene Wenger also insisted that the Premier League remains the best league in the world and the most competitive one as well. He maintained that the difference in quality between the teams at the top of table and the teams towards the bottom is not as much as in most of the other leagues in the world.
“I maintain that [it is the best], despite the results, because it is the most level league. There is not the difference of quality – for example, between Bayern Munich and the rest of the German league.
“You have Bayern, Dortmund, then after that there is a big gap. Dortmund this year are not so much there [at their best] because they had many injuries.
“I feel that [in England] you can go to Cardiff, anybody, and lose. Spain was a good league as well, but this season the English league is the most difficult.
“Maybe we pay a little bit the price for that [due to its] toughness, the intensity. You cannot rest any player. In every single game you just have to focus on getting the best team out.” – Wenger explained.
The Frenchman also stressed on the fact that English clubs have historically done well in this competition and that at the end of the day in a tough tournament like this, a club also needs some luck to go along with the quality.
“It is too early to say that there is a trend there. If you look in the last 10 years, the English clubs in the Champions League have done extremely well.
“After that you have Barcelona and Barcelona is Barcelona. Real Madrid is Real Madrid. Bayern is Bayern. When you play against these teams you can lose.
“The Champions League is a championship and a cup. Once you go into the cup, it can depend on one sending off, on one game. It is very difficult. At the end of the day, you know that one good team will win it, but maybe when you look well, this team sometimes was a bit lucky in one or two games.
“Like last year, everybody said the German league is suddenly the best league in the world. But that is not more true than this year because they are the same teams.” – He added.