December 17, 2008

Arsene Wenger Waves Goodbye To The Big Four The Gunners boss believes the time has almost arrived when the barrier between England's big guns and the

Arsenal slipped out of the Champions League places at the weekend when they failed to claim victory over Middlesbrough - but, thankfully for them, they weren't the only heavyweights who struggled.

The Premier League leaders, Liverpool, scraped a 2-2 draw against Hull City; Manchester United, the defending champs, couldn't even score against Tottenham Hotspur; and Chelsea's home woes continued as they drew 1-1 with West Ham United.

Meanwhile, Aston Villa vaulted into fourth spot by downing Bolton Wanderers, and people are starting to whisper that perhaps Martin O'Neill's men can guard their place until season's end.

Arsene Wenger, who is under real pressure for perhaps the first time in his illustrious North London career, has no doubt that the Villans - and others besides - are on the verge of tearing down the traditional powerhouses.

The French manager told The Sun: “For me the so-called ‘Big Four’ in England is about to change. It won’t last much longer.

“This year in the Premier League there have been changes which are, in reality, good for football values. Manchester United beat Sunderland only in the last minute and drew at Spurs, we were beaten by Stoke and Hull.

“That will continue until March when clubs have earned their safety for next season but won’t be fighting for European qualification. Then these clubs will let things go a little bit.

“But the technical level in our league has increased because players are being bought from all over the world and bringing new talent. The other day, for example, Wigan had Kevin Kilbane, Jason Koumas and Amr Zaki on the bench! This is impressive in my view.”

Some might accuse Wenger of attempting to deflect attention from Arsenal's worrying inconsistency. But when one sees newly promoted Hull holding sixth spot after 16 games, it's hard to rebutt the ex-Monaco gaffer on this issue.

Cecil Braun,

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