March 13 2014 Latest news:
By James Cunliffe
Friday, December 13, 2013
Arsene Wenger believes England’s football powerhouses all have a responsibility to try to win the Premier League – not just Manchester City as Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho has suggested.
The Gunners boss leads his league leaders to the Etihad Stadium tomorrow lunchtime knowing that victory will open up a nine point gap between the two title rivals.
City have spent big since owner Sheik Mansour acquired them in 2008 and their array of expensively assembled world-class talent led Blues boss Mourinho – the employee of a club run by a billionaire benefactor in Roman Abramovich – insist they were more than favourites to claim a second title in three seasons.
The Portuguese said earlier this month: “The team with more responsibilities to win the title, because their squad is quite unique, is Manchester City.”
Yet, asked if he agreed, Wenger said: “You don’t think he [Mourinho] has a responsibility to win the league?
“Nobody can say he hasn’t got a responsibility. All of us have it – those of us who have the potential to do it.
“City more than Chelsea? I don’t know.”
But the Frenchman accepts that the level of spending in the blue half of Manchester will lead to raised expectations.
“They run their club like they want it and we run our club like we feel we want it,” he said.
“Of course, they have unlimited financial resources so the expectations are certainly big.”
It’s arguably that desire for glory that did for former City boss Roberto Mancini.
The Italian guided the Citizens to an FA Cup and the Premier League crown in consecutive campaigns but last season, after his side relinquished their title to rivals United, he was duly sacked.
Wenger, who has been in charge of Arsenal for 17 years, said: “In England you have so many teams who can win the league nobody can guarantee, before the season starts, that they will win the league.
“You have Man United, Liverpool, Arsenal, Chelsea, Man City and Tottenham who want to win it. You have Everton now who can look like a contender so it’s difficult to say, ‘mathematically we will win it.’”
Manchester City have stuttered this season, particularly on their travels, but they have won seven out of seven on home soil, scoring 29 goals.
The two sides had differing fortunes in midweek as City came from behind to beat European kings Bayern Munich 3-2 away in the Champions League, while Arsenal lost 2-0 to Napoli.
The north Londoners also lost on their last trip to Manchester, going down 1-0 at Old Trafford to a goal from former captain Robin van Persie. But Wenger insists his team weren’t their usual selves in the first half of that game, so believes it shouldn’t have a bearing on whether they can hand City a first defeat at their headquarters this term.
“I don’t see why we should be scared,” the Gunners boss said.
“Last season when we went to Newcastle in the last game we absolutely had to win [to qualify for the Champions League]. You think [at the time], if we don’t win it will be a disaster.
“Today we are in a position where we can look much more at the game in a positive way.
“I just think that still we had clouds over the team with a possible elimination in Naples.
“We were a bit tense maybe that it could happen because Napoli at home are a very difficult team to play.
“We can focus completely now on the championship.
“We have been very consistent away from home. The only blip we had was at Man United but people forget that they had two shots on target on the day. They scored with a shoulder from a corner.
“On the day, I believe that we were not completely ourselves, offensively. That’s what we want to do better [against City] – to be dangerous offensively.”