Arsene Wenger believes that Chelsea’s league win this season has been helped massively by the fact that they’ve not been in Europe.

  • Chelsea have had seven fewer games than Arsenal
  • Leicester won league under similar circumstance last season
  • Wenger believes lack of European football has helped Chelsea

Last season, Chelsea finished all the way down in 10th, meaning they not only missed out on a Champions League spot but also the Europa League as well.

It also means that when this season’s over, they’ll have only had to play 47 games.

Arsenal, who will play Chelsea in the FA Cup final on 27 May, will have had to play 54 matches.

Similarly, with Leicester City last season, the Foxes didn’t have the ‘burden’ of midweek European fixtures. Like Chelsea this year, they got a whole week of rest between league clashes while the other teams in the top four – their rivals – were playing against the best teams in Europe.

This season, Leicester have flopped after finding it almost impossible to remain competitive in the league AND play midweek games away to the likes of Sevilla.

Speaking ahead of Arsenal’s clash against Southampton, Arsene Wenger, quite rightly, pointed this out.

“In the last two seasons, teams who do not have big possession have won the league,” the manager said.

“Football is about balance. We had games this season with 70 per cent possession like West Brom where lost 3-1 and Crystal Palace where we lost 3-0 and that means our balance was not right.

“But you cannot say to youth teams we do not want the ball. You cannot buy big players and say we do not want the ball. Big players want the ball.

“Sport has to encourage initiative. If it rewards too much teams who don’t take initiative we have to rethink the whole process because people will not come forever to watch teams who do not want to take the initiative.

“Teams who were not involved in Europe at all won the league because the league is so physically difficult maybe it is very difficult to cope with both.

“We will see how Chelsea responds next season.”