Arsene Wenger

  • Manchester clubs in danger

    The level in the Champions League is more balanced between the Premier League and other countries. Other countries improved a lot. I mean Spain, Italy, and especially Germany. We have a smaller margin between ourselves and others than five or six years ago.

    I think Manchester United will get the result they need against Basel and qualify,

    Rooney will be a key player tonight, because he is decisive. When a team is in trouble, players like Rooney are extremely important.

    He can create and score goals, he knows how to be physical. He is a complete player with a force and a desire to win.

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  • Mata proving deadly for Chelsea

    I love Juan Mata. I love his accuracy. Mata, 30 metres in front of goal, is deadly for any defence.

    Chelsea's problem is to be able to get him in this position. When he plays too far away from the goal he is not the kind of player who plays deep between the lines. However, when he is close to the goal, it is a different story.

    Mata is a former attacker who has switched to being a midfield passer. That is why, when he is in front of the goal, he is very dangerous. I like the accuracy of his assists as well.

    As for Andre Villas-Boas, I think that each age has its own quality, and obviously, at

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  • Tough night in store for City

    Manchester City face a difficult night in Italy against Napoli.

    A team like that, playing at home with the goalscorers that they have, are clearly dangerous. And Napoli will play double or quits on this game - they have to win.

    I saw Napoli play at Manchester City and they made a real impression in their organisation and their use of counter-attacks.

    They play like an Italian team inasmuch as they only attack three times per half, but when they are in and around the box they are remarkably efficient and they always finish well. They are very intelligent.

    I think they can achieve something

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  • Van Persie takes centre stage

    There
    are some similarities between Robin van Persie and Thierry Henry, but they have
    a different way of playing.

    Above all, Van Persie is a very good player, then
    when we look at his stats we see he is also a goalscorer. He is in a group of
    players who are creative and effective.

    I
    took the decision to play him through the middle because he doesn't have the
    physical characteristics of a winger. Players who have exceptional technical
    quality, as he does, should be played through the middle.

    This
    week we play Marseille, from whom we bought Robert Pires in 2000. Robert has a
    lot of qualities as

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  • Van der Vaart could be key

    I expect Tottenham's
    Champions League tie with Real Madrid to be fairly even.

    For me, each side has
    a 50 per cent chance of winning the game, even if Real Madrid have a little bit
    of a head start.

    Madrid are the more
    accomplished of the teams
    and their players have a lot of experience in European
    competition.

    For the first time in seven
    years Madrid have qualified for the quarter-finals of the Champions League, yet
    for Jose Mourinho and his team that won't be enough - they want to go on and win
    the competition.

    Madrid have greatly
    improved in terms of their tactics and attitude this season,

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  • Torres can make difference in United clash

    It
    is clear to me that Fernando Torres is suffering from a lack of efficiency at
    the moment, but he can put that right against Manchester United.

    The
    Spaniard has yet to reach his optimum physical condition, so he cannot be
    considered as the key player that he was when he played for Liverpool.

    Moreover,
    the forward is having to cope with the pressure of his transfer fee and has to
    acclimatise himself to his new team and new strike partners.

    Torres
    will need time to impose himself at Chelsea; even when you have invested £50
    million for a striker, you still need to be patient in waiting for

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  • No chance for Schalke against United

    Have Schalke what it takes to beat Manchester United? Honestly, no.

    I was asked who I wanted in the last 16 and I said Schalke. Schalke were the weakest side at that stage of the tournament and they still are.

    I'm not saying Schalke are rubbish but it would be bizarre to see a team who are struggling in mid-table in their own domestic championship win the Champions League.

    Schalke are being carried by Raul at the moment. He's a great player and he didn't go to Germany to retire quietly.

    The question that we may have asked about Raul was whether he was finished physically. Personally, I thought

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  • Barca will prevail over Mourinho efficiency

    The Champions League semi-final between Real Madrid and Barcelona will be a contrast of styles.

    One team will look to take the initiative while the other attempts to block them and launch counter-attacks. And when the attacking team becomes exhausted, they will be in real danger.

    This is why I worry for Barcelona. The players cannot change their way of playing, which is a part of their identity. As soon as they lower their physical intensity, they will be exposed on the counter.

    It is the pattern we saw in the Copa del Rey final at the Mestalla.

    Madrid coach Jose Mourinho has a philosophy

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  • English dominance is over

    Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger reviews Matchday 2 in the Champions League.

    - - -

    On Manchester United's
    3-3 draw with Basel at Old Trafford.

    Manchester United's
    draw against Basel surprised me enormously. That night I watched Bayern Munich
    versus Manchester City and was switching between results. It was 2-0 for
    Manchester United, then next time I looked it was 3-2 to Basel, which was
    extremely surprising.

    There are no easy
    games for English clubs in the Champions League. The level is quite balanced in
    Europe now. The easy domination of Premier League clubs, even in the group
    stage, is over.

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  • Big guns yet to fire

    We saw in the
    first round of matches that the big teams are still not at 100 per cent. The
    teams who have been regulars in the competition for 10 years made a slow start,
    but took care of the essential business in avoiding costly mishaps.

    I feel that
    Barcelona, Manchester United and Real Madrid are almost sure to qualify. These
    teams were only at 80 per cent of their potential on matchday one.

    Only Inter
    started really badly, but they already had some bad performances last season.
    It seems like a form of hangover from their immense success in 2010 - it seems
    like the club is investing less

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