Wenger back on familiar ground for Group A opener

LONDON (Reuters) – Arsenal’s long-serving manager Arsene Wenger will feel at home when he takes his team to the Parc des Princes for Tuesday’s Champions League opening Group A match against Paris St Germain.

A regular visitor to the French capital, the Strasbourg-born Wenger has often been linked in the past with an executive role at PSG when he finally leaves Arsenal, the club he joined in 1996.

Since then the London side have qualified for the Champions League in every full season of his management.

For the last 16 years in succession they have reached the second stage of the competition, only to suffer the frustration of defeat in the first knockout round for six seasons in a row.

Along with PSG, they must be regarded as favourites to qualify again from a group also including Basel and Bulgarian side Ludogorets.

Arsenal, who have a good record on recent visits to France, have recovered from taking a single point from their opening two Premier League games, winning the next two to reach sixth place in the table.

They needed a disputed late penalty, however, to beat Southampton 2-1 on Saturday.

PSG were also involved in late drama in their weekend game, although it went against them. Visitors St Etienne scored in the final minute on Friday to force a 1-1 draw.

That left the champions three points behind Monaco, who had beaten them 3-1 in the previous league fixture.

New coach Unai Emery, who arrived from Sevilla to replace Laurent Blanc in the close-season, lost important players to the Premier League in Zlatan Ibrahimovic and defender David Luiz but was pleased to keep influential midfielder Blaise Matuidi.

One of those recruited will be familiar to Arsenal. Hatem Ben Arfa spent four years in England with Newcastle United and Hull City.

“It’s a squad that has won a lot and that has developed while winning,” Emery told Uefa’s official website (www.uefa.com).

“I’ve arrived at a club that want to keep on winning and to kick on to the next level. That’s the challenge and it’s a difficult one. The demands are very high.”

So they are on Wenger, who made something of a rod for his own back by winning the League and FA Cup double twice within six years of arriving at Arsenal, then went from 2005 to 2014 without a major trophy.

He must do without injured club captain Per Mertesacker on Tuesday but French international striker Olivier Giroud is back in contention for a place

Related Posts
Bournemouth stuns United to compound Van Gaal misery
BOURNEMOUTH - Bournemouth extended the greatest period in their league history by humbling Manchester United a week after winning at Chelsea. Junior Stanislas and Josh King scored either side of ...
READ MORE
European football leagues back legal action over 2022 World Cup dates
BARCELONA (Reuters) - The European Professional Football Leagues (EPFL) association would back legal action against FIFA over the scheduling of the 2022 World Cup, EPFL chairman Frederic Thiriez said on ...
READ MORE
Mar 7, 2016; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Maria Sharapova speaks to the media announcing a failed drug test after the Australian Open during a press conference today at The LA Hotel Downtown. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
Tennis great John McEnroe finds it hard to believe that Maria Sharapova was unaware she was taking a banned drug that led to her suspension, the seven-times grand slam champion ...
READ MORE
Russian official dismisses 2018 World Cup boycott suggestion
MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia will stage the 2018 soccer World Cup and will host it well, the Russian Football Union's honorary president told Reuters on Monday, dismissing calls by Ukrainian ...
READ MORE
SA opposition wants investigation of 2010 World Cup corruption
JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - South Africa's opposition Democratic Alliance wants police to investigate the president of the local soccer governing body over allegations the organisation paid a $10 million bribe to ...
READ MORE
Griezmann and Ronaldo clash in final for second time in six weeks
MARSEILLE, France (Reuters) - When France meet Portugal in Sunday's Euro 2016 final, the outcome is likely to depend on the performances of Cristiano Ronaldo and Antoine Griezmann -- the ...
READ MORE
Chelsea aiming to deplete Arsenal to defend league title
LONDON - Chelsea will make the short journey across London to the Emirates Stadium to face an Arsenal side looking to end its 12-year wait for the league title. While the ...
READ MORE
Zimbabwe shows it will be no World Cup pushover
IS former Australian batsman Dav Whatmore on the verge of another World Cup miracle? Whatmore, who led Sri Lanka to a surprise victory against Australia in the final in Pakistan in ...
READ MORE
Court dismisses Kasinauyo application again
Edzai Kasinauyo has had another application dismissed by the High Court after he sought to have his expulsion from the Zifa executive committee nullified. BY Kevin Mapasure Kasinauyo filed an urgent chamber ...
READ MORE
Arsenal back to winning ways
Arsenal will hope normal service has been resumed. Embarrassed by West Ham on the opening weekend, Arsène Wenger’s side vaulted an awkward hurdle here to kick-start their campaign proper and ...
READ MORE
Bournemouth stuns United to compound Van Gaal misery
European football leagues back legal action over 2022
McEnroe doubts Sharapova was unaware of meldonium ban
Russian official dismisses 2018 World Cup boycott suggestion
SA opposition wants investigation of 2010 World Cup
Griezmann and Ronaldo clash in final for second
Chelsea aiming to deplete Arsenal to defend league
Zimbabwe shows it will be no World Cup
Court dismisses Kasinauyo application again
Arsenal back to winning ways

Arts & Entertainment