Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Wenger: I Will Let Team Do Talking

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Wenger: I Will Let Team Do Talking

Article excerpt


ALTHOUGH he may be in the process of rewriting Premiership history, Arsene Wenger adopts a cautionary stance whenever Arsenal face his French countrymen in the Champions League.

This is understandable after dropping points in the past to supposedly lesser teams such as Lens and Olympique Lyonnais. But this latest Wenger vintage is surely operating on an altogether higher plane to the modest French club that tonight attempts to derail the unbeaten 'Double' champions.

Like a returning hero, Wenger was careful not to sound boastful - or overconfident - when facing the French media on arrival here in this picturesque town of Auxerre in Burgundy. He's happy to let his team do the talking.

Even the locals concede that the French League leaders Auxerre have little chance, but Wenger said today: "I believe that potentially they are the best team in France.

They're quick, physically powerful and tenacious. They try to suck you in and hit you on the break."

But Wenger knows that if Arsenal unveil the full majesty of their game against Auxerre there can be only one outcome. Another victory, like the 4-0 success against PSV in Eindhoven last week, would virtually guarantee their progress to the second phase of the Champions League.

Arsenal's only other visit to Auxerre-during their defence of the Cup Winners Cup in 1995, produced a 1-0 victory thanks largely to a spectacular Ian Wright goal.

That win came only days after the sacking of George Graham - a sensational episode in Arsenal's history that led, eventually, to the appointment of Wenger in September 1996.

Stewart Houston, Graham's coach and caretaker-manager following his sudden departure, was the man responsible for outwitting Guy Roux, still Auxerre manager, and steering Arsenal to a semi-final showdown with Sampdoria. …

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