Sunday, January 25, 2009

Arsenal boss Wenger hits out at United

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has hit out at the ''unexplainable advantage'' handed to Manchester United by next week's fixtures in the Premier League.

Red Devils boss Sir Alex Ferguson has repeatedly claimed the league has been ''handicapped'' this season in a bid to stop United sauntering to a third successive title

But while Wenger had added his support to a fair schedule for all of the four Champions League teams when the issue was raised earlier this season, the Gunners manager has been left less than impressed by the arrangements for next week.

United are in action on Tuesday at West Brom, before they then have a break until the visit of Everton on the following Monday, February 2. Arsenal, meanwhile, are away at Cardiff in the FA Cup on Sunday, before they travel to Goodison Park on Wednesday night.

''I feel that next week [Liverpool manager Rafael] Benitez has a case if you look at the way the fixtures are arranged,'' said Wenger. ''You can say that Manchester United have been extremely advantaged, unexplainably advantaged.

''But that is what we have to cope with. 'It is difficult to explain why one team plays on Tuesday and the others are all on Wednesday. It is unfair competition.

''Next week the fixtures are advantaged for Manchester United, who before had a point against Liverpool - I supported them when they had a case. But this week, I think Benitez has a case.

''Manchester United play on Tuesday at West Brom, after they play against Everton who will have played on Sunday, again on Wednesday night.''

Wenger continued: ''I do not think you need to be a specialist in football to understand that in this case it is an unfair advantage for Manchester United.

''Will it have an advantage on the global season? I don't know, you would have to analyse that better. It is not Manchester United's fault, it is not Liverpool's fault. It is the organisers of the fixtures. They have a case to explain.''

The Gunners have improved their form lately, but remain outside the top four.

Wenger, though, declared: ''We have not sacrificed the league yet. It is the most important competition. What counts is the points - we are only six points from the top team at the moment.''

The Arsenal manager added: ''We have come back into a good position and the league is the most important competition for me because that tells you how strong we are after 38 games.

''Our focus is on the league, the Champions League and the FA Cup - we do not especially choose.''

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