“They’re certainly not… what you want to win you a league, the powerful characters, the strength you need running through your team. With Benteke, I think it was Gabriel who tried to intercept the ball in front of me so I had to wait, I knew I had to be there fast and I got a bit of luck, I closed it down quickly enough”. But it happens to all the other teams as well. “We will see that in the longer term”, Wenger began, reported in the Echo.
“Play with good pace”, was the Frenchman’s answer when asked by journalists how he intends to beat Liverpool, especially if they set themselves up to defend.
Arsenal have started the season in stuttering form; a shock opening day defeat at home to West Ham United (0-2) was followed up with a barely-convincing 2-1 win at Crystal Palace last weekend.
Both Suarez and Sterling were linked with Arsenal before big-money moves to Barcelona and Manchester City respectively, forcing Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers to rebuild his forward line two years in row. “It also demands thinking about how you can get what you know available to other people in the most simplistic way”.
However, Arsenal secured victory in the second half when Alexis Sanchez’s header was diverted into his own net by Damien Delaney to give Arsene Wenger’s side all three points. And rightly so. This is already a fine attacking team, stuffed, indeed over-stuffed with players of grace and craft.
Don’t worry – this isn’t an anti-Wenger screed, I’m not going to go jump in a vehicle with Piers Morgan and drive off a cliff like Thelma & Louise. It was also his 43rd Premier League goal and his 50th career goal in England after three successful seasons at Aston Villa. What did both of them have in common, and what contrasts them from Wenger?
Neville was harsh in his criticism, saying: “To me it’s arrogance. The profile of players completely changed and the style has changed and that to me is where I’ve got no sympathy”. Liverpool have brought in a ton of new players.
And to a large degree, that pragmatism – that willingness to do whatever it takes to win – is what differentiates Ferguson and Mourinho from Wenger.
Arsenal still have 35 matches to correct their shaky start to the season, but in their first three games Wenger’s side have looked miles away from winning the title.
Wenger shrugged off the comments after his team managed a clean sheet against Liverpool.