herald

Saturday 19 August 2017

Wenger has a warning for champs

Arsene Wenger
Arsene Wenger

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has stressed it will be a "different story" for Premier League champions Chelsea next season when they have European football added to their schedule.

Antonio Conte's side secured the title on Friday with a 1-0 victory at West Brom.

Wenger has congratulated the Blues on their success - while also pointing out it makes it two successive years that the league has been won by a club not playing in Europe that season, Leicester having done so in 2015-16.

The Frenchman, whose side face Chelsea in the FA Cup final later this month, said: "(After) what we have seen this season, I congratulate Chelsea for what they have done, but you see as well, when they play in Europe it will be a different story.

"They've done well, congratulations, but in the last two seasons a team that hasn't played in Europe has won the league.

"It will be a different season because they will have to play Saturday-Wednesday-Saturday (due to Champions League matches)."

Asked about foreign clubs' ability to be strong both in Europe and domestically, Wenger said: "I feel in Spain Real Madrid can win games by playing some at a lower percentage of the maximum than you can in England. Maybe they are as well better than us.

"Bayern is similar - they dominate the German championship in a very easy way."

Arsenal registered their third win inside the space of a week on Saturday, following up 2-0 victories over Manchester United and at Southampton with a 4-1 triumph at Stoke, where they had last won in 2010.

The battle for Champions League berths sees the Gunners three points behind fourth-placed Manchester City, with both having two matches left, and four points behind third-placed Liverpool, who have one game remaining following their 4-0 victory at West Ham yesterday.

Whether they end up making the top four or not, Arsenal can finish with 75 points - four more than last season, when they came second.

And Wenger said: "The players have responded after a difficult period. We could have gone divided but we have chosen to be united and that's what you see on the pitch.

"We can still make 75 points. That will be a decent total."

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