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Friday, February 19, 2010

Has Wenger Forever Missed His Chance To Win The Champions League?

In 2003/04 Arsenal won the league title without suffering a single defeat. Two seasons later Arsenal reached the Champions League final, where they were narrowly defeated by Barcelona.

These years represented Arsenal’s best chance of winning the Champions League under Arsene Wenger. It seems increasingly unlikely that such an opportunity will arise again.

Of the team that were defeated by Barcelona in 2006, only Fabregas, Eboue and the returning Campbell are still in the current squad.

The players that took the field that day who no longer remain, include Lehmann, Toure, Cole, Gilberto, Pires, Hleb, Ljungberg and Henry. These were not only top internationals, but they also boasted a depth of experience.

Since then Arsene Wenger has become strangely fixated with building a team based not on experience, but youth. Carling Cup betting always has Arsenal’s youngsters down as one of the favourites for the competition, with no result.

Wenger has always had ideals. His teams at Arsenal played breathtaking football whilst winning, but that alone no longer seems enough to satisfy the Frenchman.

He now wants to play breathtaking football, with a team acquired for relative peanuts and unsurprisingly the winning part no longer comes so easily.

Youth takes time to blossom, especially when surrounded by fellow youths, rather than experience.

The Gunners lack quality in several key positions, as Wenger patiently waits for his fledglings to establish themselves, rather than buy experienced replacements.

The 2-1 defeat by Porto demonstrated the dire need for a new keeper, but Arsenal also need reinforcements in central defence, midfield and up front.

Arsenal are a body without a spine. The brain of the side is Fabregas, but it looks as if his patience has finally run out and that he will leave Wenger to join the reigning Champions League holders Barcelona.

Is patience always a virtue? Arsene may have a lonely wait ahead before he finds out. Champions League betting may suggest that the Gunners can turn the Porto tie around, but can they really go much further than that?

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