Champions League

Wenger defiant in defeat

2015-09-30 08:46
Arsene Wenger (Supplied)

London - Arsene Wenger refused to take the blame for Arsenal's Champions League crisis after his selection gamble backfired in a humiliating 3-2 defeat against Olympiakos.

Wenger's side had never before lost their opening two Champions League games, but they have imploded twice against Dinamo Zagreb and now Olympiakos to leave their Group F campaign in turmoil.

And it is Wenger's curious decision to make a host of changes for both European fixtures that has played a major role in the defeats which leave Arsenal in danger of failing to qualify for the knockout stages for the first time in 16 years.

After making six changes for the loss in Zagreb earlier this month, Wenger threw caution to the wind again and made another five alterations for Olympiakos's visit to the Emirates Stadium on Tuesday.

Crucially, he opted to leave Petr Cech on the bench and select David Ospina in goal instead and the move went spectacularly wrong as the Colombian's horrendous howler gifted the Greek club their second goal.

Yet Wenger remained defiant when asked if he regretted his failure to send out his strongest team.

"I make the decisions, I pick the team and I'm responsible for it," Wenger said.

"I know many things that maybe you don't know and you ignore.

"You can't select the team by making a poll before the game."

Pressed on why he had decided he could do without the experience of former Chelsea star Cech, an increasingly tetchy Wenger refused to accept he had blundered.

"I don't give you why. I don't have to sit here and give you explanations about every decision I make," he said.

"Cech had a slight (injury) alert before the Leicester game and I didn't want to take a gamble.

"It's not because of that we lost the game.

"Ospina payed 19 games and kept many clean-sheets. Last week at Tottenham he had a fantastic game.

"It (the mistake) could have happened to Cech as well."

With back to back fixtures against group leaders Bayern Munich coming next, Wenger's team could be eliminated by early November.

But the Gunners boss is convinced they can still nick a win against the Germans and find a way to sneak through.

"It leaves us in a bad positon but we are still in it," Wenger said.

Read more on:    arsenal  |  champions league  |  arsene wenger  |  soccer

 

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Fixtures
Tuesday, 26 November 2019
Lokomotiv Moscow v Bayer Leverkusen, Lokomotiv Stadium 19:55
Galatasaray v Club Brugge, Turk Telekom Arena 19:55
Juventus v Atletico Madrid, Allianz Stadium 22:00
Atalanta v Dinamo Zagreb, Atleti Azzurri d'Italia 22:00
Manchester City v Shakhtar Donetsk, Etihad Stadium 22:00
Real Madrid v Paris SG, Santiago Bernabeu 22:00
Red Star Belgrade v Bayern Munchen, Stadion Rajko Mitic 22:00
Tottenham Hotspur v Olympiacos, Tottenham Hotspur Stadium 22:00
Wednesday, 27 November 2019
Valencia v Chelsea, Mestalla 19:55
Zenit St. Petersburg v Lyon, Saint Petersburg Stadium 19:55
Liverpool v Napoli, Anfield 22:00
Barcelona v Borussia Dortmund, Camp Nou 22:00
Slavia Prague v Inter Milan, Eden Arena 22:00
Genk v Red Bull Salzburg, Luminus Arena 22:00
RB Leipzig v Benfica, Red Bull Arena 22:00
Lille v Ajax, Stade Pierre-Mauroy 22:00
Tuesday, 10 December 2019
Red Bull Salzburg v Liverpool, Red Bull Arena 19:55
Napoli v Genk, San Paolo 19:55
Ajax v Valencia, Amsterdam ArenA 22:00
Benfica v Zenit St. Petersburg, da Luz 22:00
Lyon v RB Leipzig, Groupama Stadium 22:00
Inter Milan v Barcelona, San Siro 22:00
Borussia Dortmund v Slavia Prague, Signal Iduna Park 22:00
Chelsea v Lille, Stamford Bridge 22:00
Wednesday, 11 December 2019
Dinamo Zagreb v Manchester City, Maksimir Stadium 19:55
Shakhtar Donetsk v Atalanta, Metalist Stadium 19:55
Bayern Munchen v Tottenham Hotspur, Allianz Arena 22:00
Bayer Leverkusen v Juventus, BayArena 22:00
Club Brugge v Real Madrid, Jan Breydel Stadion 22:00
Olympiacos v Red Star Belgrade, Karaiskakis Stadium 22:00
Paris SG v Galatasaray, Parc des Princes 22:00
Atletico Madrid v Lokomotiv Moscow, Wanda Metropolitano 22:00
Saturday, 30 May 2020
TBA v TBA, Ataturk Olympic Stadium 02:00
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