Arsene Wenger has claimed that this year’s Premier League season has so far failed to live up to expectations – and called on his fellow managers to start delivering on exciting footballing encounters.
The Arsenal boss admitted that the 2016/17 campaign had been ‘disappointing on all levels’ as the competition reaches its halfway stage, and stated that he – along with the likes of Pep Guardiola, Jose Mourinho, Jurgen Klopp and Antonio Conte – had failed to light the proverbial torch paper to really set tongues wagging this term.
Wenger’s comments are likely to infuriate fans of teams such as Liverpool and Manchester City, who have entertained crowds in the majority of the games thus far. Chelsea supporters, too, could feel aggrieved at their rivals’ assessment, with the Blues sitting pretty, six points clear the top of the league standings.
In quotes published by the Sun, he said: “We are in the middle of a championship with the best managers in the world competing, and it’s been disappointing on all levels.
“It promised to be an exceptional year but we have not produced the kind of games England is remembered for.
“A Premier League season is always marked by two or three games that are absolutely spectacular and so far we haven’t produced that. I feel there is more to come from this competition than we have produced so far — and I include myself in that.”
Six teams are currently vying for the four Champions League qualification spots that would hand them the opportunity to swell their coffers, with decent wedges of money, ahead of next season.
Wenger, whose side currently occupy the final of those positions as the New Year approaches, is of the opinion that he and his fellow bosses are afraid of slipping up and missing out on the vast earnings that come from competing in UEFA’s lucrative flagship club tournament.
He continued: “We have a responsibility to raise the level of the spectacular, because there is so much money in the Premier League and every game has become so important, every manager is under pressure not to lose as his first priority.
“All the teams in the Premier League are now top quality — maybe the difference between the favourites and the smaller clubs makes some teams just defend.”
The 67-year-old still harbours hopes that matches will deliver on enthralling, entertaining contests as the campaign progresses, however, particularly when the crunch clashes towards the season’s end loom into view.
He added: “We have the best managers in the world, I’m sure we’ll see more games when everyone really has to go for it and it’s no longer a case of ‘wait and see’ but ‘go out and make it happen’.”
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