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Xtratime's Head of Humour 2007
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Arsene Wenger believes Arsenal's title challenge suffered over the winter months - because the bad condition of the pitches harmed their passing game more than Chelsea's.

Wenger claims that only now, with the pitches in better condition, can Arsenal impose themselves on opponents with their one-touch football.

And he has argued that it was their inability to grind out 1-0 wins, as Chelsea managed to do earlier this season, which effectively cost them the chance of retaining their crown.

Wenger said: "In November to January, I feel that you cannot play with the same quality of passing as you can in March or April as the grass and pitches are not as good.

"You need perfect pitches to play how we did against Spurs. Otherwise, you lose a fraction of a second and the opponents can get recover in time."

Indeed, Wenger believes that the climate may also have contributed to Jose Antonio Reyes' loss of form after a stunning start to the season, with the Spaniard only now looking back to his best.

"With him, it might also be a climate problem. Seville or Bolton in winter is a big difference!" he remarked.

The onset of winter also coincided with Arsenal's morale-sapping defeat at Old Trafford on October 24, which brought their 49-game unbeaten league run to an end.

And this, coupled with injuries to key players such as Patrick Vieira, Gilberto, Edu and Sol Campbell, ensured that Arsenal's defensive record duly suffered.

However, now their confidence is renewed, Wenger insists that Arsenal, who kept their ninth clean sheet in 10 games in their 1-0 win against Tottenham, are back on a level with Chelsea again.

He maintained: "The confidence is high and we have a good defensive stability.

"But between November, December and January, we lost the title as we couldn't win 1-0.

"I feel we have stabilised that and have revealed the ambition in the side again after it was a bit dismantled at Old Trafford. It took us some time to recover.

"However, the game we played at Chelsea [a goalless draw] strengthens that belief.

"For a while, we were one of the worst defences in the league but we have redressed that record in the past two or three months.

"Especially in the air, we were very vulnerable and it was easy to score against us. That is not the case any more though. We are much more secure on set-pieces."

So much so that not even Campbell can win back his place, with Arsenal having taken 23 points out of a possible 27 since he was injured in the home defeat by Manchester United on February 2.

The gap to leaders Chelsea still stands at 11 points, with four games left, but Wenger stressed that Jose Mourinho's side had built up an "exceptional total".

He added: "We won the title with 78 points in 1998 and we have 74 points now with four games left.

"Chelsea have an exceptional total and we have to respect that. But I feel we have closed the gap, we have improved in the past three months and have come up again.

"Our points total would put us top of most other leagues in Europe, but Chelsea have even more. It doesn't mean we have to give up yet though."

Arsenal's current tally of 74 points would theoretically put them:


Top in Italy, a point ahead of AC Milan and Juventus, having played a game more.


Top in Germany, nine points ahead of Bayern Munich but having played four games more.


Top in France, five points clear of Lyon from equal games.


Top in Portugal, 16 points clear of Benfica but having played four games more.


Second in Spain, one point behind Barcelona having played a game more.


Second in Holland, five points behind PSV Eindhoven, having played four more games.


Third in Scotland, 12 points behind leaders Celtic from equal games.

The winning points totals in the era of a 20-team Premiership have been:

2005 - Chelsea 85 points from 34 games

2004 - Arsenal 90

2003 - Man Utd 83

2002 - Arsenal 87

2001 - Man Utd 80

2000 - Man Utd 91

1999 - Man Utd 79

1998 - Arsenal 78

1997 - Man Utd 75

1996 - Man Utd 82

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he may have a point as we traditionally have a terrible period just at the start of the winter.

but how do we address this ? the pitches won't get less heavy and the sun isn't going to come out just for José Antonio :lala:

looks like we are just going to have to suffer it, passing on the floor in England is the hardest way to win it seems, but it of course is the most rewarding way. :)

about Reyes, i think he just needs to go home, we can't have him doing well for only three months of the season when it's warm.
 

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I'd love to keep Reyes but it's simply not going to happen as he'll never be able to adapt from Spainish football's soft approach to what is now the Rugby league that once was the EPL.


Facts are Reyes has 100 times more talent than say Owen but it's useless in England, last night was just another example as Dawson for no reason tried to break Reyes ankle in any other league that's a red Card but not England where the garbage teams are allowed to use WWE style tactics simply because of the Britsh mentality that football is a "Man's game" still don't know what the hell that means.


I've never seen a team like Arsenal who play such spectacular football and really earn the PL millons of $$ and viewers yet are so hated and in all honesty targeted for brutality.

In Italy, Spain, France and Germany teams do not kick Milan, Barca, Lyon and Bayern Munich off the pitch as the officials have no problem handing out red Cards but the butchers of Blackburn don't even see a yellow card let alone red.

Does anyone ever wonder why the likes of Ronaldinho did not want to pay in England? Yes the climate is one factor but also read what players say about England, it's to physical aka dirty and anti-football.

Why do people think Vieira is always thinking about heading to Spain? The man would be a monster there and also not have to worry about a untalented thug like Robbie Savage be allowed to tackle with reckless abandon.

Hell if Graveson is considerd a great CM in Spain just think of how dominate Vieira would be?
 

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Blame it on Wenger who loaded the team with a bunch of French and Spanish Wussies. What you need is more English, Irish and Argentines :)
 

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100 times more talent then Owen? you gotta be shitting me right, Reyes will never have the goalscoring prowess of St. Mike.
 

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SM ONLINE said:
100 times more talent then Owen? you gotta be shitting me right, Reyes will never have the goalscoring prowess of St. Mike.
Reyes isn't a striker.

He is a very different player to Owen.
 

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minor point in the context of his anti-thuggery rant, no?

Reyes or Owen, who's the better ball player in any event? My vote to Reyes. Owen more intelligent.
 

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His mentality is weak, he lacks character when things are against him.

Please don't say all players from Latin countries are like Reyes, Thats nonsense and he is abit of a sissy at times, He has talent but he needs to grow up, his confidence is so frail if things go wrong, Wenger is treats him well and he doesn't lack minutes or friends at Arsenal and he is still a p*ssy, Maybe you should bring back Keown to punch him in training or something to toughen him up.

Anyway he seems to look better when he got that goal but at a club like Arsenal you have to be tough mentally nearly all the time, Nobody is perfect but the kind of weakness Reyes shows at times is embaressing.
 

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lol tunis u make it sound as if viera didnt regularly produce those sorts of tackes a few years ago...
 

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Reyes is still only 21 years old and is having a hard time adapting to English Football and integrating into the English culture. He might be living with his immediate family but all his friends are back home in Seville so he does feel lonely in that sense. He's still young and allowed to make mistakes, he'll grow mentally in his own time I really think he just needs some space on his own.

People need to give him a break, he's trying really hard as shown by his recent performances.

He is one of the most talented youngsters around and Arsenal are very lucky to have him in their squad.
 

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Jern Lizardhous said:
Arsene Wenger believes Arsenal's title challenge suffered over the winter months - because the bad condition of the pitches harmed their passing game more than Chelsea's.
Thats freaking hysterically funny, so Arsenal lost becasue of the bad conditions of the pitch:howler: Not even Perez can come up with such BS:pp
 

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nEEbz said:
Lets move to Italy ... :tongue:
T4L was exaggerating i'd say, creative players aren't necessaily protected in Italy either, it just depends on what team you play for.

for example, Totti is the player in the league who has suffered the highest number of fouls (157) this season, and yet he is also the player in the league with the 3rd highest number of yellow cards (11) and the equal highest number of red cards (2). :eekani:

of course he pays the price for wearing his heart on his sleeve and lashing out at opponents, but usually players from other teams kick the crap out of him every week and get away with it most of the time.

as has been mentioned elsewhere on XT, just consider the fact that Juventus is the team that has comitted by far the most fouls in the league, but has only received the 3rd lowest number of bookings and the least red cards outright :wallbang:
 

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barça said:
Thats freaking hysterically funny, so Arsenal lost becasue of the bad conditions of the pitch:howler: Not even Perez can come up with such BS:pp
It's a weak excuse but you have no idea how bad some of them get, especially oop norf. When we played against Charlton, a team in London, we were slidding around on mud ffs.
 

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Xtratime's Head of Humour 2007
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Discussion Starter #15
I don't think it's weak, it's obvious the more you play football on the deck the conditions willl affect you, if you play long balls you won't have much problem with conditions, i think our record from November to February proves it.

i read in another article that Wenger says he'd love to keep Reyes but fears he will go, looks like he's gone then, just hope we can get a decent price for him.
 

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Jern Lizardhous said:
I don't think it's weak
:howler: Even if I take your point of view, it is still his fault, not the pitch, he is the one that built his team that way:rollani: And what about the times that he won, the all the clubs had their pitch picture perfect?:googly:

Wenger is the king of excuses, ala par with Mourinho:pp
 

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barça said:
:howler: Even if I take your point of view, it is still his fault, not the pitch, he is the one that built his team that way:rollani: And what about the times that he won, the all the clubs had their pitch picture perfect?:googly:

Wenger is the king of excuses, ala par with Mourinho:pp

that's why we love him though, because no matter what he always tries to play football that is on the floor with a high level of skill, the times that he won were times when the team managed to grind out wins through the winter, this time we couldn't do that because of lack of defensive and midfield players who can grind it out.

Wenger does make a lot of excuses yes, but most of the time they are based in truth.
 

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Jern Lizardhous said:
that's why we love him though, because no matter what he always tries to play football that is on the floor with a high level of skill, the times that he won were times when the team managed to grind out wins through the winter, this time we couldn't do that because of lack of defensive and midfield players who can grind it out.

Wenger does make a lot of excuses yes, but most of the time they are based in truth.
Your post couldn't have been more contradictory:googly:

Wenger says that they didn't win becuase of the pitch, you say that wsa based on thruth Then you say that the reaosn they won before was beacuase the team was able to "girnd out" wins through the winter. But this year, they couldn't becuase "of lack of defensive and midfield players that oculd girnd it out"

So which is it, the pitch or the players? :howler: Had Wenger been thruthful with his excuses, he should have said, we lacked better defense and midfield play;)

Blaming the pitch conditions is fine for one game, but not for an entire season.
 

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barça said:
Your post couldn't have been more contradictory:googly:

Wenger says that they didn't win becuase of the pitch, you say that wsa based on thruth Then you say that the reaosn they won before was beacuase the team was able to "girnd out" wins through the winter. But this year, they couldn't becuase "of lack of defensive and midfield players that oculd girnd it out"

So which is it, the pitch or the players? :howler: Had Wenger been thruthful with his excuses, he should have said, we lacked better defense and midfield play;)

Blaming the pitch conditions is fine for one game, but not for an entire season.
both is true, the pitches are worse between November and February which is shown by our results over the years, our full squad has helped us to win three times despite this disdavantage we have, but there are still times we don't, so i don't see how my post is contradictory at all, Wenger never made a statement saying we ONLY lost the title because of the pitches, he just put it foward as a reason why our game suffered in them months badly, you just seem to get your little rant going by the editorial not actually what Wenger said. :rollani:
 

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i agree with jern. i think that wenger has a point although of course next year that problem has to be solved. as for reyes i agree that he might more suited on the wing as an attacking winger. personally, i think the best forward partnership that we have is between henry and bergkamp, they are perfect together.
 
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