Sunday 18 March 2018

Arsene Wenger questions Chelsea's style of play despite Antonio Conte's men being on the verge of the title

Antonio Conte and Arsene Wenger
Antonio Conte and Arsene Wenger

Arsene Wenger has questioned Chelsea's style of play despite the Blues on the verge of clinching the Premier League title.

Antonio Conte's men can secure the title with a win at West Brom on Friday and comfortably lead the chasing pack despite an average possession share of just 54.5 per cent a game.

That ranks sixth in the league and follows Leicester, fairytale champions a year ago, who swept all before them despite ranking 18th in the same category.

The Arsenal boss has long believed that teams are duty bound to play entertaining football and thinks supporters continue to want to see those who seek to play with the ball rather than without it.

"Over the last two seasons, teams who have not big possession have won the league," he said. "And, as well, teams who were not involved in Europe, at all, won the league. Because the league is so physically difficult, maybe it is very difficult to cope with both. We will see how Chelsea respond next season.

"Are teams who are not making the game doing well? Yes. When we analyse it in Geneva [at coaching conferences], we always analyse the Champions League and I must say, in some seasons, the team who had low possession won the Champions League. Over a longer period, it is the teams who have the most possession who win it.

"I still think sport has to encourage initiative and, if it rewards too much teams who don’t take initiative, then we have to rethink the whole process because people will not, forever, come to watch teams who do not want to take the initiative.

"The responsibility of people who make the rules is always to encourage teams who want to play, because that is what you want to see.”

He added: "I am convinced you still need to have the ball to create goal chances and that you cannot encourage, as well, youth teams to say: ‘We do not want the ball’. You cannot buy big players and say: ‘We do not want the ball’. Big players want the ball."

Online Editors

Sport Newsletter

The best sport action straight to your inbox every morning.

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport