Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Entertainment Forgotten as Wenger Plays It Safe

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Entertainment Forgotten as Wenger Plays It Safe

Article excerpt

Newcastle 0 Arsenal 0

IF STAN KROENKE sent some of his spies to the North-East yesterday, the report landing in the American sports tycoon's intray this morning would have made fairly blunt reading. Game? Dire. Away-team performance? Listless.

Atmosphere? Muted. Star player in red-and-white? None.

While Arsenal maintained their two-point advantage over fifthplaced Bolton with a back-to-basics display that ended a run of three consecutive defeats, Kroenke might take a greater-than-usual interest in Saturday's meeting between the sides at Emirates Stadium.

Should Sam Allardyce's side sneak ahead of Arsenal into fourth spot, then the businessman who bought a 9.99 per cent stake in the club last Thursday u a move that sent rumours of a takeover bid into overdrive u might suddenly be persuaded that adding one of the Premiership's most respected institutions to a portfolio that includes ownership of NFL, Major League Soccer, basketball, hockey and lacrosse teams might not be such a great idea after all..

Failure to renew their Champions League season ticket would be a financial catastrophe for Arsenal and could well halt any takeover.

The north Londoners would be a far less attractive proposition without the millions that qualification for Europe's elite competition brings.

A second game in three days did no favours to either side and Arsene Wenger did little to refresh his team by starting with 10 of the 11 players who came unstuck against West Ham on Saturday.

Only the energetic Abou Diaby, the replacement for Tomas Rosicky, could be satisfied with his performance in an encounter that was about as exciting as sitting in a

Bank Holiday traffic jam for five hours.

Cesc Fabregas has featured in all of Arsenal's 32 Premiership games and admitted that fatigue was a factor at Newcastle. …

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