The headline is a paraphrasing of what Wenger has said – but you already knew that, right?
What is Arsene Wenger on about?
“Playing a European qualifier in the first week is a big problem when there are other Premier League matches.
“We will already be chasing to get the points back.
“After three games, you can be mid-table if you don’t win the first or second game. That gives you a big disadvantage and it is unfair.
“Why could we not start the league one week earlier?
“It is not ideal. So it is very important not to get off to a slow start.”
This is a bit like Mourinho’s moaning last season about Chelsea almost always being forced to play catch up to Manchester United on Premiership weekends, except that I didn’t expect this from Wenger.
Here’s the thing – as seasoned professionals, Arsenal players have nothing to worry about if they still have games to play and they find themselves, say, 6 points off the top of the table with 2 games in hand at the end of August. It’s a possible scenario and not something that makes it ‘difficult’ for Arsenal.
What DOES make it difficult is Arsenal not qualifying directly for the Champions League. Ummmm, yes.
“Why could we not start the league one week earlier?”
And give over-worked players less time to rest? Gilberto is already taking a break because of Copa America, Henry was wasted after the World Cup and what not, do we really need to go into why the players need a good break?
“After three games, you can be mid-table if you don’t win the first or second game. That gives you a big disadvantage and it is unfair.”
If Arsenal can’t beat Fulham at home tomorrow, they deserve to be mid-table after three games (not to mention that it would be ‘unfair’ on the millions of Arsenal fans patiently waiting Wenger to rebuild the squad and take it back to the very top).
I’m tempted to attribute this to Wenger’s cultural backgrounds and the associated paranoia, but that would be a bit cliched, eh?
To be fair to Wenger though, the rest of the statement is very positive:
“We are being written off but we know we have quality, a style of play.
“We have a strong belief, great desire for success, great togetherness and we are very hungry. The fact that everyone doubts us reinforces the hunger.
“Proving people wrong is part of being a champion. This team wants to show that. We are ready to blossom.”
Agree with him totally there, but that doesn’t take away from the fact that he’s whining before the season’s even started.
Is Wenger right? Is the world of football unfair on Arsenal?