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Wenger flags evolution of English game

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger feels the Premier League has evolved for the better since his arrival in England in 1996.

Wenger, who succeeded Bruce Rioch as Arsenal manager and has guided the club to three Premier League titles and four FA Cups, is widely regarded as one of the driving forces behind the modernisation of professional football in the UK.

The Frenchman believes while the majority of clubs stuck to 4-4-2 in the past, teams are more flexible now than when he took over at Highbury.

“When I arrived in England I would say there was one rigid formation, 4-4-2,” Wenger told Arsenal Magazine.

“Today teams are more versatile, they can go to three defenders, five defenders, they can go to 4-4-1, 4-3-3, 4-5-1, all kinds of variants.

“I think the formations teams use are much more flexible than 15 years ago, more adaptable.”

However, the 62-year-old feels the modern emphasis on controlling midfield has come at the expense of attacking play.

“So yes, evolution has happened, aided by a lot of European games and the influence of foreign players,” he said.

“You can call it evolution, but to reduce it to an overall point you would say the midfield has been strengthened and attack has been weakened.”

Meanwhile, the Gunners have announced English youth player Chuba Akpom has signed professional terms with the club on Wednesday.

The 17-year-old from Newham is a regular in the Arsenal Under-21s and has scored twice in three Next Generation appearances this term.

Wed 10 October, 2012
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