Arsene Wenger has had his say on Arsenal’s collapse in their Europa League final clash against Chelsea, where an Eden Hazard brace helped Maurizio Sarri’s men to a convincing 4-1 victory in Baku.
The Gunners had a lot to play for, with the chance to land their fist European title for over 20 years and the reward of gaining a place in next season’s Champions League on the line, after finishing fifth in the Premier League.
A decent first-half performance meant nothing as Chelsea came out after half time all guns blazing, grabbing an early goal which resulted in Unai Emery’s men collapsing under the pressure. An onslaught ensued and the 4-1 final score could have been worse if it weren’t for some crucial saves by veteran goalkeeper Petr Čech.
Whilst part of the punditry team at beIn SPORTS for the Champions League final, Wenger revealed his thoughts on the match. As quoted by The Mirror, the ex-Arsenal manager said: “I felt that in the first half we did quite alright but as soon as Chelsea scored the first goal we collapsed completely.
“In the second half we didn’t exist. It was a sad night for us.”
He went on to explain how he agrees with English clubs playing second string teams in the early stages of European competitions due to the extreme intensity of the Premier League. He added: “I agree that until the quarter-final in the Europa League you play with a reserve team when you play in England because the Premier League is so demanding.
“I would say even in the Champions League group stage, when you have a difficult game over the weekend, sometimes even in the group stage because you’re close to qualifying.
“The Premier League is so difficult that until the quarter-final the teams play with [players] who do not play in the Premier League.”