Thursday, May 24, 2018

PSG favourites for Champions League group – Wenger

SoccerNews in English Premier League 26 Aug 2016


Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger believes the riches at Paris Saint-Germain’s disposal makes the Ligue 1 heavyweights favourites to top their Champions League group.

Thursday’s draw in Monaco saw Arsenal paired alongside PSG, Basel and Ludogorets in Group A.

It marks Arsenal’s 19th consecutive season in the group stages, but Wenger says it will be difficult to top the section ahead of Unai Emery’s men, who continue to be backed heavily by wealthy Qatari owners.

“PSG are a team who has absolutely unlimited financial potential and bought really well,” Wenger told a news conference. 

“We want to challenge that, we’ll see, it’s a tough test for us. Our first game is PSG on 13th September. Hopefully we can get the right result.

“Paris Saint-Germain is one of the favourites with big ambition. We want to qualify, if possible, and in first. We start in Paris so it will be an interesting test.”

PSG have thus far failed to turn their domestic dominance into Champions League glory, with Laurent Blanc paying with his job and being replaced by Emery.

But Wenger believes that PSG, who lost in the quarter-finals to Manchester City, were a victim of a lack of competitiveness in France’s top flight last season.

“It was a handicap for them last year,” he added. “They were in a position last year like Bayern the season before that they had won the title in January. To retain focus is difficult.”

Wenger’s immediate focus is on Saturday’s Premier League trip to Watford, where Mesut Ozil may make his first start of the season after being granted extra time to recover from his travails with Germany at Euro 2016.

The match is likely to come soon for Olivier Giroud – who reached the final with France – to start and Wenger is frustrated by the timing of next week’s international break considering some of his squad are only just returning to full fitness following the European Championship.

“Ozil’s not far now, that’s a decision I have to make in the next 24 hours,” Wenger added. “Giroud is a fraction behind physically.

“We need a first win. The international break comes too soon. They are not ready to start with us in the Premier League because we had to rest them because of playing international games. 

“Not everyone is up to speed completely, some are a bit behind.”


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