Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Truly Hapless in All Areas, Wenger Has Now Got His Work Cut Out

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Truly Hapless in All Areas, Wenger Has Now Got His Work Cut Out

Article excerpt

Byline: Patrick Barclay on Monday

SO NOW we know it's true: Arsenal's fatal flaw is that they can't beat the big teams. Luckily, their next fixture is only against mid-table Manchester United.

I'm kidding. United have been a big team since Matt Busby arrived there at the end of the Second World War and always will be. And, for all their troubles in the first season after Sir Alex Ferguson, one thing David Moyes has to his credit is a win over Arsenal at Old Trafford.

On Wednesday he brings his team to the Emirates for yet another of these mouthwatering matches that have so liberally sprinkled this classic Premier League season.

Arsenal must win to retain serious hope of the title, United to maintain contact with the fine thread that links them to the possibility of Champions League football next season. It seems certain now that Brendan Rodgers will restore it to Liverpool.

By beating Everton 4-0 and Arsenal 5-1 they have made Anfield seem such a scary place that Bill Shankly can be imagined growling approval.

Equally evident is that the title trophy will be be draped with blue ribbons on the late afternoon of May 11.

My own fancy, which naturally swung towards Manchester City when they were beating Spurs and Chelsea being held at home by West Ham was it really only 12 days ago? has lurched south again, in the familiar direction of Jose Mourinho.

When in Spain, Mourinho had a habit of making Pep Guardiola swear. Now even Manuel Pellegrini regularly appears on the edge of a rant. In this case it's the City manager's own fault. He believes what the agents provocateurs of the press convey to him and reacts to it. But this is a sideshow; City have too strong a squad not to maintain their challenge.

So which of the top four would Spurs, Everton and as they clutch at straws United perceive as the weakest? The answer would make uncomfortable reading at London Colney and, if anyone writes it between now and Arsenal's final training session before Wednesday night, Arsene Wenger might be tempted to pin the message to the wall. …

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