Arsene Wenger has always been characterised by how his team plays as much as by his team's success. On the eve of his UEFA Champions League match-up versus Barcelona, Matt Hughes of the Times writes how Wenger refuses to ditch his principles in the battle of the pass masters.
With his unswerving devotion to the beautiful game, promotion of young players and disdain for financial extravagance, Wenger is often characterised as a man of unbending principle, but in some respects he is as pragmatic as they come.
The Frenchman’s favourite word when it comes to his sport is “efficiency”, an objective to which most football managers, businessmen and politicians aspire. It just so happens that the Arsenal manager believes the most efficient football involves the participants passing the ball to their team-mates.
“Is the ugly way the best way to win?” Wenger pondered yesterday when discussing his tactics for combating the balletic grace of Barcelona. “That is where you have to convince me. I believe the most efficient way is to play good football and not to kick the ball in the stand. There is no goal in the stand; the goal is on the pitch.”