Sunday 25 February 2018 / 06:39 PM


If you tuned in a couple of weeks back, you might recall me writing an article about Arsene Wenger embarrassing himself.

In case you forgot, Arsenal had a dreadful transfer window this summer, only managing to bring in one player, losing a couple of stalwarts and effectively giving up Alexis Sanchez for free by not selling him or signing him into a new contract.

Well, as it turns out, the embarrassment just continues down at the Emirates.

The Gunners haven’t played their Week 6 game yet, with West Brom the visitors to West London on Monday evening, but Wenger has still managed to make a fool of himself with some comments in the press.

Arsenal failed to finish in the top four spots last season for the first time in around 20 years, and as a result, are not playing in the Champions League this year.

Embarassing for the club? Yes.

Damaging for the club? Yes.

Potentially a long-term issue if they fail to get straight back in? Definitely.

And yet, this week Wenger has still seen fit to make comments about the Champions League, effectively suggesting that it isn’t such a hot competition after all:

“I think that, in the group stage, there are not many interesting games. You choose only one or two games. Look at the audiences. It has lost some attraction power.”

Now, just to be clear, I do think that Wenger is right, at least in the UK.

The rise of BT Sport has taken the monopoly off Sky, but in so doing, it has depleted the number of fans able to watch Europe’s premier cup competition.

But, crucially, here are two reasons why Wenger shouldn’t be commenting on the Champions League:

1) It smacks of him being a sore loser. Like that kid who’s not invited to the party and says “it’s okay, I would have said ‘no’ anyway”, Wenger commenting negatively about the competition just makes him sound petty and sad. He’d be better keeping quiet.

2) Arsenal are in the Europa League. What Wenger says about the Champions League is even truer about the Europa League. Many moons ago – when the competition was called the UEFA Cup – it had some street cred, and fans watched it. Now it has been relegated to a Thursday night slot, and no one seeks it out; often not even the fans of the teams in it can be bothered to tune in. So by commenting about the Champions League, Wenger is effectively indicting his own team by admitting that they are in a bracket below even that.

It’s unwise for Wenger – at a time when people are actively questioning why he’s still in a job – to make these sorts of comments, and highlights once again that he is out of touch. When the Arsenal board will realise that is another matter entirely.

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Seb Greenwood

CBS’s longest-serving contributor, Englishman Seb is our leading football correspondent, pulling no punches with his opinions on the Premier League and the international scene.

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