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Wenger Backs England To Win

Arsene Wenger has backed England to beat Croatia 2-0 in their crucial Euro 2008 qualifier on Wednesday providing Steve McClaren is brave enough to change his system.

Wenger has studied the match closely as part of his role as ambassador for the Castrol Performance Index, a scientific system which analyses the performances and effectiveness of players in the tournament.

One of the biggest decisions facing McClaren is whether to play Frank Lampard or Gareth Barry in midfield - and whether to stick by David Beckham. And Wenger`s verdict is that England can clinch a place in Austria & Switzerland next summer by playing ALL of them alongside Steven Gerrard in a five-man midfield. He said: "I believe in this kind of games when you are a manager you are tempted to play with a little bit of security and take players who know what it means not to make a mistake.

"Therefore experience has an advantage. I personally believe he will go with Gerrard, with Lampard, AND with Barry and Beckham. He will change his formation, for sure. And it`s an important decision because I personally believe that`s the best way to be tight defensively without losing too much his potential to go forward.

"He still has players in central midfield like Gerrard and Lampard who give you hope of scoring a goal. Once England have scored then Croatia must score twice to knock them out so you must still go into the game trying to score.

"I know England have most often used 4-4-2 but I feel there could be an innovation on Wednesday. But I`m not Steve McClaren and I leave that choice to him. I personally think it will be 2-0 to England. That will put them top of the group and then you cannot say they have under-achieved!"

McClaren`s other big decision is whether to stick by out-of-form goalkeeper Paul Robinson, even though Castrol Index stats showed he was by far England`s worst player in the 2-1 defeat in Russia.

Wenger said: "He will certainly take that into consideration. But that debate is going on at the moment in England and nobody has found an obvious solution apart from Paul Robinson

"I still think he will go for continuity on that front. And the whole country has to be behind that because Robinson has delivered good games for his country as well." Having said that, Wenger believes Croatia`s statistics prove they will be a tough opponent at Wembley and should not be underestimated. He added: "From the outside it looks as if England has an easy task - but it`s not.

"There are only two factors when a team has nothing to play for: are they very easy to play or are they extremely difficult to play. I would be temped towards the second solution.

"Croatia just lost a game but are still qualified. There is no special pressure and Wembley has a special aura in the whole of Europe. Nobody wants to miss that kind of opportunity to play a good game. I think it is a very dangerous game for England.

"Also you cannot go into a game like this only trying to draw it, you cannot give that kind of message to your players. So you have to prepare the game like you want to win it but knowing that a point is enough."

If England do reach the finals Wenger believes they could even go on and win it.

He concluded: "England will be one of the favourites if they qualify and then it will depend on the form of their strikers and whether they are injured or not injured. But they have the potential. In the end you get what you deserve. We have seen many times people just sliding through and then winning tournaments."

Arsene Wenger was speaking at the HQ of Castrol, sponsors of UEFA EURO 2008 and founders of the Castrol Performance Index. Wenger is the official ambassador for the Castrol Performance Index. For more information go to .

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The Journalist

Writer: Site Staff Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Monday November 19 2007

Time: 7:02PM

Your Comments (oldest first)

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Very busy site this, gets on average 50 comments per article, article on Wenger backing England, on Vital Arsenal, into the fourth hour gone no comments, here or on the forum. Patriots one and all. <
Report Abuse
19/11/2007 22:22:00

God save the queen, The fascist regime, They made you a moron. Potential H-bomb. God save the queen, She ain't no human being, There is no future, In England's dreaming. Don't be told what you want, Don't be told what you need, There's no future, no future, No future for you God save the queen We mean it man We love our queen God saves God save the queen, 'Cause tourists are money And our figurehead Is not what she seems Oh God save history, God save your mad parade, Oh Lord God have mercy All crimes are paid When there's no future How can there be sin We're the flowers in the dustbin We're the poison in your human machine We're the future, your future God save the queen We mean it man We love our queen God saves God save the queen We mean it man And there is no future In England's dreaming No future, no future, No future for you No future, no future, No future for me No future, no future, No future for you No future, no future For you
Report Abuse
19/11/2007 23:18:00

We had a sweep stake to see which pillock made the first sarcastic comment on this article. Everybody chose you.....we all win 1p each!!!
Report Abuse
19/11/2007 23:19:00

I did'nt win..... I went for Englishspur :(
Report Abuse
19/11/2007 23:24:00

I see the Patriot Police have been goosestepping their way across our site again. Wouldn't it be something if McLaren followed Wenger's advice .....and we lost!! The laughter would be lost in the sound of jackboots scurrying here to demand the extermination of all non-english footballers.
Report Abuse
19/11/2007 23:56:00

or, Amos, if Eduardo wins the game for the Croats
Report Abuse
20/11/2007 00:25:00

which is far more likely than McClaren taking good advice from someone who knows what he's doing...
Report Abuse
20/11/2007 00:27:00

England win this game pretty easy because I dont see Croatia really up for it because they are already qualified.
Report Abuse
20/11/2007 00:38:00

Damn, I had either ES or BITC(H) to make the first sarcastic comment. I was betting ES would be post "you non-english scum fans, England don't need your support!", while BITC(H) post the same crap he always does. Anyway, if England cannot get a point against Croatia at home, then they don't deserve to qualify for Euro. I don't care if they don't have Rooney or Owen in their lineup, it's still no excuse.
Report Abuse
20/11/2007 01:29:00

an eduardo winner may cause the FA to **** Wenger
Report Abuse
20/11/2007 01:50:00

Alot of Arsenal fans want Dudu to score the winner that knocks England our of the race, but that really wouldnt be good. Just think how long everybody booed Ronaldo for playing a minor part in Englands WC defeat. If Dudu knocked england out single handily they will never forget him and everywhere we go opposing fans will boo him. This really wouldnt help him in his process to settle down in the EPL. If england fans can boo their own(Lamps) they will certainly boo Eduardo.
Report Abuse
20/11/2007 04:45:00

if england qualify then i want everyone to stop f*kn moaning bout foreign players, if they dont and dudu scores the winner then f*kn good on him and the FA can suk my ***!!!
Report Abuse
20/11/2007 05:51:00

If Dudu knocked out England, the english should get over it (I know that won't happen but still). What should he do? Play half-assed on the pitch? He's there representing his country (in this case, adopted country) and he should play the best of his ability. I don't really know why they should boo him, if he indeed scores against England and helps knocks them out of Euro. It's different from Ronaldo, who unsportingly tried and successfully got Rooney sent off.
Report Abuse
20/11/2007 05:57:00

I can't believe Arsene has recommended playing that total tosser lumpard. He's gone down a fraction in my estimation if that report is true. lumpard, the worst player ever to wear in England shirt in the history of the international game and Arsene is recommending his inclusion????? I JUST DON'T BELIEVE IT!!!!!!!
Report Abuse
20/11/2007 08:23:00

Well I reckon we'll get a decent result against Croatia, especially considering we're at home. And if Wenger backs England then we must surely have a decent chance.
Report Abuse
20/11/2007 09:25:00

what!! lamps and sir ickle stevie me mbe motd motm diy whs cant surely be allowed to play together!! jokes! the man wenger should give some managerial lessons to steve mcCLOWN, england might not be an embarrassment then
Report Abuse
20/11/2007 11:28:00

An interesting idea..,17033,8746_2892986,00.html
Little Dutch
Report Abuse
20/11/2007 12:51:00

Flamini n Diaby injured .... !!! I HATE INTERNATIONAL FOOTBALL !!!!!!!!
Report Abuse
20/11/2007 13:04:00

An interesting idea LD but totally illegal. It's one thing having a national sporting team competing with other nations using the same selection criteria but not directly employing players. It's quite another to have a commercial enterprise competing with others employing players under conditions that have to meet both employment and racial discrimination laws. You wouldn't accept it from any other employer.
Report Abuse
20/11/2007 13:09:00

When someone of Arsenes undoubted class speaks then you have got to sit up and listen. Gotta say i agree with what he is saying 100%
Report Abuse
20/11/2007 13:18:00

Didn't Christiano Ronaldo knock england out of the world cup?
Report Abuse
20/11/2007 14:36:00

Amos, I think Atletic Bilbao (or some other Spanish club) has a policy of only signing players from their region, and outsiders are not normally signed. Extend the same line of reasoning to FC England. It does sound illegal at 1st glance, but I think it could be done.
Report Abuse
20/11/2007 15:33:00

I am not sure what racial discrimination laws exist in Spain. Bilbao does have a policy of signing Basque natives but this, I believe, only means living in the region. In any event this also includes regions of France as well as Spain so I am not sure how that stands in terms of discriminating by race if Basques aren't accepted as a racial group. Maybe this policy might not be considered that different from the rule restricting the distance from the stadium from which UK clubs can recruit trainees. From the perspective of UK law it is quite clear that you cannot discriminate against an employee or potential employee by reason of race.
Report Abuse
20/11/2007 16:13:00

If I'm not mistaken, Chivas (Guadalajara) in the Mexican League have a similar policy - only signing local Mexican talent to their side. They are still a top side in the FMF, however Mexico also produces better talent that England per capita I'm sure. I say screw the foreigner quotas, and just simply force English kids to play on stone riddled dirt roads with footballs fashioned from old rags and fastened together with palm fronds....take away the glitz, glamour, egos, high priced practice facilities and promise of undeserved wealth and see what kind of talent comes out of it....probably a lot better talent
Report Abuse
20/11/2007 16:52:00

Yes, 49ers, he did score the last penalty to knock England out in the shootout, but it was his unsporting behavior by persuading the referee to sent off his own Man Utd teammate that really ***** off people.
Report Abuse
20/11/2007 23:24:00

OK so I get home, after a night of a few too many JDs, switch the box on, and by shear coincidence the ing-ger-land match happens to be on....So given my slightly inebriated stae, I watch my first ing-ger-land match since the guff the served up in the WC. Mt first overwhelming impression is how refreshing it is to genuinely not give a toss about the result... This neutralness lasted up until Croatia scored their first.... completely on reaction I found myself clapping whilst a broad grin spread across my face... It was then that I realised that I was completely in line with Mr. Johnny of Rotten's international supporting philosophy that resulted in him ridiculously getting booted of Fantasy Football for having the audacity to state he supported France because it had the most Gooners in the squad.... You can imagine my unbridled joy at the way Eduardo set up the second........ Am I a bad man???
Report Abuse
21/11/2007 22:07:00

oops soz for the typos...damn you Jack.......stae=state mt=my And....lmmfao!!
Report Abuse
21/11/2007 22:09:00


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