Wenger’s whirlwind to overwhelm Blackburn

By Myles Palmer

The more I think about Tuesday night’s 1-0 win over Moscow Spartak, and the more I watch Manchester United and Liverpool, the more I think Blackburn and Bayern will be beaten.

Manchester United were dull in Greece, apart from that Scholes wonder goal.

Porto 0 Liverpool 0 proved that Gerard Houllier is the new George Graham. An efficient, negative coach who, unlike Graham, defends the box, not the halfway line.

I prefer an attacking coach like Arsene Wenger.

Arsenal came roaring out of the blocks on Tuesday night. The crowd were up for it and played well.And the team lifted the crowd by playing at 150 m.p.h.

It was a big night, a good atmosphere and a high-energy performance. Spartak defended very well, even though good chances were missed by Vieira and Henry before the latter did his Les Ferdinand megajump to head the only goal after 82 minutes.

Lauren is a terrific modern footballer who adds a lot of pace to Arsenal’s game by playing accurate first time passes. He makes a big difference.

Lauren gets into the box so well and I fancy him to score against Blackburn or Bayern.

Graeme Souness knows a thing or two about FA Cup games and Blackburn play good football, but they cannot attack at that pace or defend against that pace.

They might be dizzied and devastated by the Arsenal whirlwind in the first half hour.

Blackburn played Bolton in a replay on Wednesday night, a nerve-jangling local battle which left them with a day less to recover before playing at Highbury.

If they had not played midweek, and Arsenal had played on Tuesday, then this game would be a lot harder. It may yet be a very tight game. Port Vale was, Palace was, West Ham was, plus a lot of other FA Cup, ties.

But something tells me this one will not be close.

March 8th 2001.