Sunday, March 3, 2024

Wenger: Playing at home first isn’t ideal

Arsene Wenger admits that Arsenal would prefer to be playing the first-leg of their Europa League quarter-final against CSKA Moscow away from home, but insists the minutiae of the draw should not be an obstacle to the Gunners playing their game and going for victory tomorrow night.

Arsenal put themselves in a commanding position at the halfway point of earlier rounds of the competition by posting notable away wins against the likes of Ostersund (3-0) and AC Milan (2-0) before closing out proceedings at the Emirates.

“When you play at home in the first leg you don’t know exactly what you have to achieve,” the Frenchman told press on Wednesday.

“Usually, when you play the second leg at home you know exactly what kind of result you need. You’re a bit more in a situation where you know you have to do both well, defend well and attack well, without knowing exactly what is needed to qualify.”

He added: “The weight of away goals is important in Europe. Ideally, you don’t want to concede, but even if you do you want to win the game. You don’t stop to play if you concede a goal.

“Ideally, you want to combine both, score goals while not conceding, but the situation is not always ideal. When you play away from home you have the same advantage.

“We played the two games (Ostersund and Milan) away from home first, so we had a clear attitude to try to win the game and it went well.

“Tomorrow, we’ll try to repeat the same kind of performance. We play against a team that has done well in Europe so we certainly need a top class performance. We just need to focus on the quality of our performance.

“When you want to do well in Europe you don’t choose, you accept the problems you face and you sort them out and you solve them. That’s down to the quality teams. If you want to go far at some point you accept you have to play first at home and then away.”

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my name is bob

You know what is ideal?
Players in the last year of their contract.


Playing at home in the first leg means you need to win by 3 goals and have a clean sheet tbh.


5 would be better

Laughing Stock

Just my opinion but I’d rather play at home first leg. There’s far less chance of being bombed out of the tie early and as long as you keep a clean sheet the other team can’t go all out attack in the 2nd leg from the start. Even a 0-0 isn’t a disaster at home.


Always agreed with this. A home first leg is always a bit cagey, then that result has a huge psychological effect on how the away game is played. And with away goals counting double it’s easier to stay in the game even when you’re being outplayed. Look at how Sevilla knocked out Utd (LOL) after drawing the first leg 0-0 at home.

0-0 at home shouldn’t be a disaster, but Wenger’s concern about the second leg is probably down to our terrible record in Russia. With that in mind we really need to make the home game count.

Scott P

I think the reasoning is that if you lose your first leg at home, it’s much harder to come back, so you need to balance your mentality much more and are not able to just ‘go for it’.

If you lose the away leg first, obviously you’ve still got a hole to climb out of, but you don’t have to also overcome the away goals that count double. Still one of the most stupid rules in football, IMO.


What a load of crap. You need to win both games, home and away, plain and simple. Surely you’ll qualify then, right?


why the hell is he ranting its cska for fuks sake. not bayer or barca not that it make any difference if we play home or away against them

Anne Noyd

This is a team that finished below Basel and Manure in their CL group with -2 goal difference. There is simply no excuse.


The away goals rule is complete shite in my opinion.

But its the same for everyone so just get on with it.

Tasmanian Jesus

Absolutely complete shit. Me and just about everyone I know agree on this, and that doesnt happen too often!


Imagine Bayern thinking it’s not ideal to play arsenal in the first leg at Allianz arena.


Classic Wenger. The correct answer would be to say something to the effect of “home or away we just need to play our best football”. Our next manager needs to be less candid with the media, sorry Arseblog, and probably less of a philosopher.

A Different George

Go listen to what he actually said. It was on the lines of: no, it’s not ideal, but you can’t always have the ideal situation; if you want to win a competition like the Europa League, you will have to win some ties that start at home, whether it’s ideal or not.

So, your “correct answer” was pretty close.

89 was fine

Our home form is alright so its possible to almost kill the tie with a good home win and most importantly a clean sheet! as it’s that sucker punch of leaking goals and then needing to score 3-4 or more to go through that always kills us off.


I thought he doesn’t see any difference between home and away games?


RIP Ray Wilkins.
Nice guy of football – very sad news..


“Ideally, you want to combine both, score goals while not conceding”
Cracking idea! Give that man another 5 year contract!

Up North

Hope AW see Liverpool play first game at home tonight. Maybe something to learn…?

John bull

Something for the fans to learn as well … how to get behind the team and manager and get the team over the line …..


It’s perfectly ideal. You have a team at your disposal worth hundreds of millions – you go out and annihilate them from the first minute so the second leg is almost irrelevant. Sick of the excuses. Do it or we’ll get someone in who can.

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