Wenger: Chelsea one of six teams that can win the league

Discussion in 'Chelsea' started by Clan, Aug 31, 2002.

  1. Clan

    Clan Member

    Apr 23, 2002
    Well now, interesting comments today in the Daily mail from him.

    ARSENE WENGER last night insisted under-achieving Chelsea are paying the price for their multi-million pound Champions League gamble.

    Arsenal boss Wenger firmly believes his Double winners can rule Europe this season while Chelsea are left to count the cost of missing out on the Champions League.

    Chelsea boss Claudio Ranieri was unable to spend a penny in this summer's transfer market, with the hard-up Blues saddled with £97m debts after spending big but not winning any silverware in the last two years.

    While Arsenal will face PSV Eindhoven, Auxerre and Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League first phase, which will guarantee them a £10m payday, Chelsea were yesterday drawn against Norwegian minnows Viking in the UEFA Cup.

    Wenger warned the price of failure will get even higher for clubs like Chelsea as he stoked up the pressure before tomorrow's Premiership clash at Stamford Bridge.

    "To miss out on the Champions League is a huge financial blow for any big club," warned Wenger last night.

    "The direct consequences of not being in the Champions League are that clubs are in trouble.

    "The new formula for next season means fewer games and less money - and the Champions League is all about money, money, money."

    Under-achieving Chelsea have not been in the Champions League for the past two seasons since crashing out of the quarter-finals in Barcelona a couple of years ago.

    Since then, Chelsea boss Ranieri's men have crashed out to European minnows St Gallen and Hapoel Tel Aviv, which has cost them an estimated £20m.

    It has meant that Chelsea have struggled to keep up with the Premiership's elite while Arsenal have got stronger thanks to their Champions League revenue.

    Wenger now believes that his team are ready to mount a serious challenge to win the competition after reaching the quarter- finals only once in the last four years. Having watched the draw and seeing we are in the top eight clubs I believe we have made a big step forward - and our next step must be to win it.

    "It's a very hard draw for us. I think Deportivo La Coruna's Group is hard as well but we have one advantage in that we know the other teams and we will be up for it.

    "All of the teams can beat each other but if we are consistent then we will go through.

    "We are better prepared for a challenge now. One year ago we had a basic problem with our away form and when I thought we'd turned it round against Leverkusen we lost at home to La Coruna. But overall I think we have gathered experience every year and I now believe we have a team who can do well in this competition."

    This London derby has developed into a grudge match after Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink was sent off at Stamford Bridge only for the red card to be rescinded, and Patrick Vieira appeared to elbow the Dutch striker in the return at Highbury, but was later cleared by the FA.

    Wenger is braced for another no-holds-barred clash and despite their under-achievements in Europe, the Arsenal boss believes Chelsea are still a major threat in the Premiership.

    Wenger added: "There's a rivalry with Chelsea because they want to be the dominant team in London and because we beat them in the FA Cup final.

    "It's always a heavily committed game with lots of physical challenges involved. Chelsea are among the six teams who can win the title.

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