Arsène Wenger

English dominance is over

Arsene Wenger

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Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger reviews Matchday 2 in the Champions League.

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On Manchester United's
3-3 draw with Basel at Old Trafford.

Manchester United's
draw against Basel surprised me enormously. That night I watched Bayern Munich
versus Manchester City and was switching between results. It was 2-0 for
Manchester United, then next time I looked it was 3-2 to Basel, which was
extremely surprising.

There are no easy
games for English clubs in the Champions League. The level is quite balanced in
Europe now. The easy domination of Premier League clubs, even in the group
stage, is over.

United have trouble
because every year they are in the final, the semi-finals or the
quarter-finals. They have problems being focused on the group stage because they
are so used to going further than that. From time to time, you have some disappointments
as they had against Basel.

I have to say Swiss
football is in a very good state. They are always in the final stages of youth
tournaments, and when you see their clubs they are all playing good football.
From Zurich to Basel, I always see them playing very well.

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On Kaka's brilliant
performance for Real Madrid against Ajax.

We have to confess
that everyone said Kaka's time was over! It is like that nowadays; you are
always judged on recent performances.

When somebody is
injured for as long as he was, it is extremely difficult to get back to your
highest level if you are not given enough time.

Last year I thought he
had some encouraging performances at the end of the season - today I think he
is really good.

Although he is not
playing like he did at Milan, he is showing some good signs and is in shape.
The final step for him is to play regularly.

The problem he has is
that he is in a team where Mesut Ozil is hyper-strong and young, so it will be
difficult to win a permanent place in the team.

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On Mario Gomez, who
scored both goals for Bayern Munich against Manchester City.

He is a difficult case
for a manager because he is not really involved in the build-up - but when the
ball comes into the area he becomes a lion. In a technically-skilled team that
is often in the final third - as we saw against Manchester City - he becomes an
essential player because he turns everything the other players create into
gold. He fits well into Bayern's style of player - they have always had those
kinds of players. He does not always impress everyone when he plays, but when
we look at his stats it is impressive. You have to take your hat off to it - I
think he has scored 49 goals in 51 games. Only Messi can get near to that
performance.

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On Valencia goalkeeper
Diego Alves's performance against Chelsea.

I didn't know who he
was, but the advantage for him is that today, when a player has an outstanding
performance he is quickly in the limelight. A few years ago, you would have to
play well for five years before people talked about you. However, the
disadvantage is that we sometimes make players superstars too quickly and then
they have too much pressure on them. Some players cannot live with that.

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