Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Arsene Wenger: "Eight Teams Can Win The League." Too Much Christmas Sherry?

Le Prof can be a great man for a quote. All too often he is a concise mind when it comes to football as we know and love it. Yet sometimes he can come out with some real clangers. Yesterday he claimed that "eight teams could win the league." A case of too much Christmas sherry?

Before we go any further let us read what Arsene said.
"It’s the most open race I have known since I’ve been here. Instead of having four teams, I believe you can have six, seven or even eight teams who can cause a surprise. I believe they can all win it.
"I’ve been deeply convinced since the beginning of the season that we can win it. But it will depend on mental strength and how much we can improve in each game."
So there you have it in black-and-white, but it is possibly Red all over.

Apart from it coming across as something of a brain-fart, I think you have to read into the comments a little further.

Of course Wenger is wrong to suggest that eight teams could win the league, not a snowballs chance in hell of the likes of the Spurs winning the title.

If you take him literally, lets look at who he could think the eight contenders are.

Chelsea and United, easy start.

Arsenal, ok...em where do we go from here?

I mean if Arsene actually thinks the likes of Villa, City, Tottenham, or Liverpool—never mind that unknown elusive eighth team—have a chance of winning the league, then he has a screw loose.

But Wenger's comments were not directed towards eight potential challengers. I believe they were part of the old boys club that is made of managers, and the comments were directed towards protecting Rafael Benitez.

The Spaniard is under intense pressure after the clubs worst run in over 50 years, and in seeing that Rafa is not a threat for this year, Wenger has held out the "Olive branch."

In the aftermath of Arsenal's victory over Liverpool at Anfield, Wenger had this to say in the press conference.
"Liverpool are a good side and when they find their confidence they can beat anyone in the league."
He added: "They have Fernando Torres and Steven Gerrard back, Alberto Aquilani will get fitter and many teams will drop points at Anfield.
"They played in the first half with an impressive level of performance."

It was scant consolation for Rafa after the defeat, but it was a comment that Wenger did not need to make, and it was a real show of support for the beleaguered Liverpool boss.

So maybe Wenger wasn't on the Christmas sherry, but he still made that silly comment about eight teams being in with a chance. We'll forgive him this time, even if it was a honourable attempt at defending the indefensible.