Chelsea could wrap up the Premier League title on Friday with a win against West Brom, and guess who isn’t happy? The chief complainer himself and the man who has failed to win a Premier League title since 2004 – Arsene Wenger.
Antonio Conte’s tactics took Chelsea from 7th position to the top of the table and Chelsea remained there since November, and Wenger who now employs the same tactic has taken a sly dig at the Champions elect, as he claims teams have a “responsibility” to entertain, and admits he hopes this is a passing trend.
Wenger said: said: “I still think a sport has to encourage initiative and if it rewards teams who don’t take initiative, then we have to rethink the whole process because people will not come to watch.
“I don’t know if it is a long-term trend.
“We always analyse the Champions League and I must say, some seasons, the team who had low possession won the Champions League. Over a longer period, it is still the teams who have the most possession who win the Champions League.
“Football is a balance — the right balance between possession and progressing.
“Sometimes we had some games this season when we had 70 per cent possession, like West Brom, and we lost 3-1, and like Crystal Palace where we had 70 per cent possession and we lost 3-0.
“So that means, on the day, our balance was not right.
“I am convinced you still need to have the ball to create goal chances and I believe you cannot encourage youth teams to say, ‘We do not want the ball.’
“You cannot buy big players and say, ‘We do not want the ball.’ Big players want the ball.”
Chelsea have played the best football this season and Arsenal felt the brunt of it with a 3-1 defeat at Stamford Bridge. Tottenham and Manchester City are worthy mentions, and Arsenal who used to be entertaining in those days no longer play attractive football. To top it all, Wenger also joined a host of other Premier League managers to utilise Chelsea’s tactics. So what’s he whining about?
Now I can understand Jose Mourinho’s sentiments when he called him a specialist in failure.