Wenger ready for a different kind of European pressure

Wenger ready for a different kind of European pressure

Arsene Wenger says he’s under pressure to ensure Arsenal secure a Champions League place for next season, but that it’s pressure of a different a kind.

In the recent past the financial benefit of being in the competition has been almost a necessity but with new sponsorship and kit deals with Emirates and Puma, the importance of European football is now a much more sporting one.

“Financially, the pressure is less now,” said Wenger. “On a sporting side it is greater because we have been the leader of the league this season so not to make it, the pressure is bigger.

“We want to be in there, but it’s down to our results in our last six games to make sure that happens. Since we built the stadium, it has always been the obsession. I got that reproached enough.

“It was an obsession because of the financial compulsory situation. I’ve always been guided by – no matter what what happens – get in the Champions League.

“But for me it’s not financial – it was before. What it is now is to play against the best: Pride and prestige.”

Tomorrow’s clash with Everton could go a long way to securing at least a top four place, with Arsenal’s run-in kinder than the Toffees who have still to face both Manchester clubs. And Wenger is targetting three points open up a gap over Roberto Martinez’s side.

“It’s an opportunity to go forward and as well an opportunity to make a distance with Everton. As I told you after the last game against Man City, we look in front of us and behind us as well.

“That’s what the game is about on Sunday.”

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69 COMMENTS

      • On the same level as Olympiakos? Not to undermine our progression as a squad, or the importance of champions’ league qualification, but we want top spot. “We” being the manager, the players, the sponsors, and a legion of fans, not just of the Arsenal, but of any club in the world that believes in Wenger’s development-centric ideology over the slightly more basic “throw-££-at-it-and-watch-it-win” approach, as favoured by the title favourites.

        Not that I’m disheartened by our current situation: we’re in with our best chance in years at silverware in the form of the FA cup, and providing we can win at Goodison Park tomorrow, we should be able to steer clear of the 4th place dogfight, which is all I’d hoped for at the beginning of the season. Just that in order to attract (and indeed, retain!) players like Mesut Ozil in coming years, we have to aim higher than 4th, and that’s a fact.

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        • That’s the bonus positive side effect of the Ozil signing- I believe it is also intended to signify intent going forward. CL qualification, (hopefully) breaking the trophy drought, and a food source like Ozil ought to look like an attractive project to top talent..

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  1. Irrespective of where we end up in the league, we have made real progress since last season. I think the team will we better next season and maybe with a world class striker or two we will be much closer to the top than we are now.

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  2. Well Liverpool have already won the league. .’says every Liverpool fan on the planet! This cant happen.

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  3. To get fourth place (and above) for the past 8 or 9 years has been a great achievement considering other teams’ financial resources. Without it we wouldn’t have half as good a side as we do now. People easily forget how big a deal it was moving to a new stadium and it’s little wonder it’s taken so long to get back on an even financial keel. A true fan would probably know this. I didn’t expect us to have been fighting for the title for so long and I’ll happily take 4th and the FA Cup this season and then we can push on in the transfer market in the summer.

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    • It’s sad to see that football has become all about money. The more you spend, the more you win. Chelski, Man Shitty, Man U, Loserpool and the Spuds all spend hundreds of millions on their squads and, surprise, surprise, they are all in the top of the table. Yet Arsenal has year after year delivered Champions League football and a top 4 finish without throwing around bags of cash. Arsenal is one of the few clubs left in football that can hold their head high with pride and rightly state that you can play the beautiful game without endlessly pouring money into the team. For that, at least, Arsene should be very proud of what he has achieved at Arsenal since he arrived and the doubting “fans” should really support him now that he actually does have some financial resources at his disposal.

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    • How is getting fourth place a great achievement considering other teams’ financial resources when no other teams besides City, Chelsea and united have more financial resources? Imagine if we actually used the financial resources instead of hoarding it.

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      • Imagine if we hadn’t qualified for the champions league every season. What do you think would have happened then? It might not be a shiny cup in the cabinet but it’s where every team want’s to be. I can’t believe people are not more proud of the achievement.

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        • I’m very proud of our balance sheet.

          It really puts my Chelsea, City, Utd ……… Birmingham supporting mates in their place when I pull that one out.

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        • That’s a start as well.

          It may not be an abyss at all. There’s been a raft of contract extensions lately, and we have no idea what’s going to happen now that the Emirates debt is cleared. Ozil was the last thing I expected. Yes, for several reasons.

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        • Imagine if we won the league a couple of times since that 2005 (or actually competed for it) or even a few domestic cups. More money, bigger sponsorship deals and better players. Spending money wins you things and winning things brings you money. You think it’s a fucking surprise that ManU have way more lucrative sponsorship deals than us or any of the other top clubs?! Do you know why that is? You want me to tell you?!

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  4. Hard to imagine us not qualifying for Champions League after we’ve been league leaders for such a large chunk of the season. Goes to show just how tight the prem has been this year. One of our best seasons for some time though, and a nice shiny F.A. Cup at the end will do quite nicely thanks Mr.Wenger.

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    • Let’s not jinx it, ok? I don’t like people talking about the FA Cup like we’ve already won it…

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      • Not talking like we’ve already won it. Just making the point that it would obviously be very welcome. I’m not sure any of us are taking it for granted that our name is on the cup considering recent seasons. I’m just saying that although it would be disappointing not to win the league after sitting at the top for so long, qualifying for the Champions League yet again and winning the cup would be counted as a very good season and our best for some time.

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    • How tight the PL has become? Yes it’s pretty tight at the top, but it is us who completely bottled it. We played worse than the bottom teams fighting for relegation. Remember we’re just a point or three better than last season. We lost games because we turned up with a few lifeless performances, not because Stoke, Southampton, Villa or Swansea have a better team than ours. Although I do admire Southampton at times, they’re great. And I don’t care what excuse you make, those three shambolic games should not have happened, not even if the entire first team was missing. The team will carry those for years to come, and the sad part is, it will affect their performances on the pitch in every derby next year, and the year after that.

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  5. Anyone else read the title and think “Wenger wants to play in the Europa”.

    Besides I am certain that we will achieve 4th spot this season. Just like we aren’t a top two side (yet), Everton are not a top four side irrespective of their performances against the big teams this year.

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    • I’m hoping what he means is instead of just qualifying and making knockouts for the finances, now we’ll focus on building a team that will really compete there even with our luck in the draw.

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  6. I know it’s been nothing short of a miracle that we’ve been in the Champions league the past eight years. Wenger maximized the resources at his disposal to perfection.

    However, mistakes have been made at crucial points this season. There is no denying that. Some mistakes were made by the Gaffa and some were made by the players. The way we set up for some games was inexcusable. The effort was lacking in big games. It is a gap in mindset and not so much in talent at this point.

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  7. Money, pride and prestige is not all that is important with Champions League football. The attraction of the club to potential transfer targets aswell.

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  8. Look at Liverpool! They have nowhere near our depth and talent. They have 1 really good player but they are 7points ahead of us. It’s Liverpool for fuck sake

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    • 10 less games than us played and either blind luck with injuries or better fitness methods and medical team. Take your pick

      I but clearly remember them ripping us a new one.

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    • The weren’t competing in Europe this season, and were knocked out early in the other competitions. Suarez is having a ridiculous season. If he was in the Manure squad they’d probably be in the top 4. Sturridge is also having a great season, and Chelsea made a big mistake in selling him. Gerrard, hate him or love him, is still playing well. And, according to injuryleague.com, we’ve had nearly twice as many injury-weeks as Liverpool, most of them to key players. And Liverpool has been out-spending us, more than five times as much in the 18 seasons prior to this one.

      http://news.arseblog.com/2014/03/arsene-wenger-at-1000-in-stats-and-quotes/

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    • Is this season over already? Jesus. Daglish signed Saurez. Saurez is down to Saurez. He’s last off the training pitch a bit like Ronaldo/Henry were. Put that man in Southampton’s team and they will be top 4. We would be 10 points clear with him in our team.

      Trust me. David Brent will be found out if he goes to Real Madrid in the summer.

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  9. How has it been a ‘miracle’ to finish in the top 4 the last 8 years?

    Yes, there were a couple of seasons Sp*rs ran us close, but we’ve been pretty comfortable the rest of the time. The competition hasn’t been that good.

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    • Thumb down galore again . Never mind the fact that we have had the 4th highest wage bill throughout that period, it hardly qualifies as a miracle.
      But hey… I’m sure the thumb downers have strong fact based retorts.

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  10. It was a miracle because we lost key players annually. Arsene essentially had to build a new team every year during that period. I don’t know too many managers that would have accomplished that. We were also competing with sugar daddy money from Chelsea and City. And don’t forget that United is a money printing machine that could afford to pay similar wages as Chelsea and City. We could not compete at that level

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    • United and Chelsea, I’ll give you. But City? They’ve only been around 3 years.

      I also accept players have left us, but overall, we’ve always had the quality to finish at least 4th. There was one time Spurs were better than us as a team, (11/12) and we were lucky they monumentally fucked up (haha).

      Wenger deserves credit in that he’s signed good players, but other than spurs, liverpool (again, lucky they appointed dalglish and commoli when they did) there hasn’t been much competition for that 4th place.

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  11. I hope he’s saying we will compete. We need to get there first. I have faith. We’ll do it (famous last words). As much as I’m a Wengerite, if he farts around in the summer again…I think I may just start to get frustrated with him.

    No more of this last minute bollocks, please. I can’t take that again (unless you get a time/dna machine and bring back Maradona 86, Platini 84, Beckenbaur 74, Baresi 89, Vieira 2002 and Henry 2004).

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  12. Compared to other managers,the pressure on Wenger is not that great.Ancelotti was fired although
    his track record in his Chelsea days was better than the fm.
    The problem is the board feel they are indebted to the fm for the stadium and past successes.Unfortunately
    this season could end in disappointment .There is no need to go into details.
    I believe tactically Wenger has lost it.It wont surprise me if they lose to Everton.Then what?If MU were to win the cl,that’s it.Then the fm shd leave before he is fired.

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  13. Sensible comments by sensible fans here. Proud of you all great who truly appreciate Arsenal’s great achievments. I knew it wasn’t the season for Gunners to win the PL this year given the lack of signings the club should have had in the summer. I was left win one last hope in January to believe again in our potential to lift the PL with a couple signings mainly a striker. That didn’t happen too. But I reserve myself to blame Wenger for it at least out of respect for what he did for the club’s long term success. I wonder what Arsenal would have been if Wenger was a Mourinho type, sniffing around richer clubs and grabbing offers coming his way. Wenger could have been as famous as Mourinho and winning more titles earning himself world class CV. Morale of the story, every Arsenal fan as loyal as they have been and patient season after season with the clubs ambitions should consider being same for another and hopefully last season before Arsenal becomes the feared and most respected team again. Therefore show respect and support to Arsene Wenger more than ever.

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  14. With àll this talk of how great it is to finish in the top 4 yet again with the little money we have to spend. Can’t wait for next seasons excuses.
    To all those who automatically think we will buy the necessary players that we all know we need to compete for the title are in for yet another huge disappointment come the summer transfer window.
    We have giroud and sonogo. With Walcott to come back and podolski can play their too. Don’t expect a striker just because the fans think we need one. History tells us different.

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    • We had that same list of players when he floated a (silly) bid for Suarez, and was looking into Morata and Draxler. History has proven not one of us really knows what they will or will not do in the transfer window.

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  15. Neil, how could you? I don’t understand.
    All those great players, BUT you forgot Bergkamp!
    As punishment you have to support sp*rs for a season.

    (nah, actually forget the punishment. On second thoughts, that’s why over the top lol)

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  16. push for 3rd! The top clubs will slip up and they have to play each other as well.

    Everton has to fade based on their schedule, but a win tomorrow would mean quite a lot.

    RAMBO off the bench in the 80th minute to make it 3-0 to the Arsenal!!! COYG!!!

    Is Kos back or are we going with the Verminator again?

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  17. @ Malaysian Gunner,

    “If MU were to win the cl,that’s it”

    I’ve read some outrageous comments on this blog over time but that, my friend, takes the cake. Have you seen MU play lately? You think this United team can get past Bayen? Then beat Madrid, Barca, PSG, Chelsea or any other team still left in the tournament? I understand your pain but lets not get carried away

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  18. What’s the point in qualifying for the Champions’ League next season? We have an incompetent manager who doesn’t know how to win it. And Wenger says that it’s not all about money: Bullshit, that’s exactly what it’s all about. His brief last summer was to make sure we ‘won’ the 30 million quid for finishing fourth.

    The frustrating thing is that if we do make it then that’ll probably convince Le Prof that he should stay – which will mean more years of misery.

    It’s so sad that both Wenger and the Board just don’t appreciate how pissed off so many of us are. We’re not interested in this rubbish any more.

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    • Amen to that but just think of those exciting evenings, having a go and increasing the bottom line on those balance sheets.

      COYBL

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    • If we don’t qualify it becomes next to impossible for ANY manager to get the kind of players you expect. THAT is the point in qualifying.

      So unless you’d like Arsenal to be a mid-table team and start bleeding talent again because they can’t offer CL, think about what you’re saying. And look at the players we have tied to new contracts- a major improvement over recent years.

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      • Sorry but that’s absolute rubbish. We have had champions league football for 18 years is it and yet we still have lost our best players year after year. Top players want to win trophies it’s a simple as that. Do you really believe we can keep our top players with the lure of a fourth place trophy year after year.
        And those that are not bothered about trophies will move where the money is regardless of champions league football. All this bolox that a player wants to leave club a or b for champions league football is mostly agent talk for more cash.
        And as for having players signed on contracts.you really think that makes a difference ? Think about what your writing.

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  19. I really don’t get what the issue is. As a fan of the club – didn’t we all want the team to be competing for the title and not just the fourth spot?? We just did that all year long.. Injuries and bad fixtures has taken a toll. But bascially this has been a good season. What more do you want?? Just look at Man U.. It’s not like we were going to get a clear run at the title.. And don’t for a second do you dare put the fault at the players, the board or the Manager – it wasn’t lack of trying on their part – Just enjoy the remaining fixtures .. Who knows – we might just add a silverware to it.. COYG!!!

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  20. This season still has all the makings of a great one.
    1) FA Cup
    2) Ozil
    3) Ramsey playing out if his skin (when fit)
    4) giving it a good run in the PL, one to be proud of regardless.
    5) Champions League next year (as anyways!)

    If that’s how it finishes up I’ll be pretty damn happy with that!

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    • No. It’s not good enough. Don’t you realise we should be winning everything every year ’cause we are the greatest but we got a shit manager who’s only interested in winning lots of money for himself. I know cause I’ve seen we got loads of money and we should be spending it all on all the strikers that moved between clubs in January and then we would have won the league.

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  21. Is Wenger peaking about “Europe?”

    Hasn’t he only had to beat ONE team (a late 90s United team) his whole career. Take that out and what has he achieved???

    3 qtr Finals + round wins in 17yrs. THREE!!!

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  22. What is everyone smoking about it being an achievement for being in 4th place consistently. We’ve always had the 2(for the longest time), 3, or 4th most resources so of course being in a top four is the minimum expected out of any average coach for us.

    Now how about having the 3rd, 4th most resources and consistently scrapping it out to make it. Have we really progressed in the last 10yrs ON THE PITCH????

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  23. Nevermind the fact that prior to City, we’ve consistently had the 2nd or 3rd highest resources in the League yet we glorify a manager for scrapping into 4th year in-yr-out.

    Nevermind the fact that he’s only had to beat one team his whole career – a late 90s United team.

    Nevermind that he’s only won 2 Qtr Finals rounds in almost 20yrs.

    Ah well, never let the facts get in the way of emotional attachment when objectively he’s been a very, average coach, hasn’t he??

    So he has a winnin record against cunt’sh coaches, Alladyce, Pardew, etc but hasn’t he always had more resources?? So besides winning only he had just one competitor — mind u he had the 2nd highest resources so finishing 2nd was no extraordinary achievement.

    After 18yrs, the facts tell the story. Enough excuses because there will always be one. It’s been 18yrs. Sometimes let’s just call a spade a spade. Injuries, taxes, paparazzi, etc. There always seem to be an excuse,’isn’t there??

    It’s been 18yrs guys. 18yrs. Enough

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    • 18 years in which time we have won the double several times, gone unbeaten, and at the same time qualified for the CL consistently.

      This never happened before.

      The last 9 years have been barren but we have stagnated at a high position of continuous CL qualification.

      Not sure why you are whinging. You sound a bit spoilt no offense and granted, yes we should try and do better.:)

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  24. Basically if you want to attract the best players to the club, you have to play Champions League.

    FA and League cup mean F all in the larger scheme of things as neither qualify you for Europr’s premier event which as a rule, increases the profile of players (and hence their marketability/price)

    You can be lucky of course and snap say Suarez like Liverpool did but if Liverpool isn’t in Cl next season, even with an improved contract, Suarez will be prey to a club that is in the CL.

    Prize money and increase TV coverage is another issue too which CL provides.

    Most people tend to confuse this Minimum requirement at the club with our greater ambitions.

    Our ambitions are to win the big prizes ( CL or title) and if not secondary trophies (FA and League). But CL is minimum standard for the club and considering we have been in and around the great of the land for 17 seasons and counting, this is a lofty position of stagnation to be in.

    It affords a more stable platform for us to build another assault at the top. It should not (and isn’t) our main goal but is something we have to ensure we qualify for every season regardless.

    Not a trophy but much to be admired. Rather have it than win the FA or League cos neither of those qualify you for CL and that in itself shows you the importance of those competitions in the larger scale of things. You can win the tin pot and get relegated (ala Martinez) but what would be the point?

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  25. To move into ‘Bigclubland’ a few things need to change.

    1. Fourth is failure. That needs to be in the heads of everyone at the club.
    2. Buy big. Buy early. Make a statement.
    3. Keep our best players. I always felt like I was in the wilderness when it came to Cesc leaving. My frustration levels were through the roof. ”Ohhh…he’s always wanted to play for his home club. What can you do?”

    What can you do? He had around 5 years left of that contract! Remember that players sing long term contracts for a higher salary. It works both ways. If Cesc was looking to move to Barca (and he was, like it or lump it) then he should’ve signed a two year contract. Not a seven year one. But a two year contract would’ve been a lower salary. In future, any top players still under contract should be told that they’re going nowhere. Look at Utd with Rooney. Or Liverpool with Suarez. They just refused. Liverpool even ignored his contract and possibly broke the law. The player may sulk a bit for a while, but play with the usual effort soon enough. Top players are driven to be as good as they can. After a few days/weeks sulkiing they think ”Oh well..I am under contract, I want to be remembered so I may as well give it go for the team.”

    In future, when the likes of Cesc, RVP and Nasri ask for a move we should tell them that they are going nowhere as we aren’t a selling club. I understand the money situation at the time, but if things have changed we need to start behaving like a big club for here on in.

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