With the group’s top spot riding on tonight’s Champions League clash between Arsenal and Paris Saint-Germain, L’Equipe in France dedicated a nice chunk of their newspaper previewing the game on Wednesday.
Among the eight pages of analysis, a few of Arsène Wenger’s former Francophone pupils were interviewed to find out how this team compares to the Arsenal that existed when they last played football at the Premier League club.
For Pascal Cygan, his former manager ‘Europeanised’ Arsenal, but in the process, also did the same to the Premier League, something Jérémie Aliadière agrees with.
He said: “English clubs weren’t really looking at the continent, but Arsène’s model meant that others started looking abroad. If the Premier League has become a huge league and a worldwide spectacle, it’s in part because of him.”
Of all the trophies Wenger has won, only one has really escaped him during his years as Arsenal manager, and that’s the Champions League.
Why? Even Robert Pirès can’t tell you.
He said: “It’s true that we can’t say Arsenal is one of the top five in Europe, but they’re just behind. What are they missing? I don’t know. Everything is there: a style, a team, a healthy balance. A bit of luck, maybe?”
However, being knocked out over and over again before reaching the latter stages of the competitions has meant expectations might not be as high as they once were, and that, according to Pascal Cygan, could work to their advantage.
Could this be their year?