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Is Arsène Wenger right about throwing away goals?

22 December 2013 by

Recently Arsène has pointed the finger at the rise and rise of television as the catalyst of the conception of the away goal rule in European competition which has led to unbalanced and potentially unfair results of a two legged match.

His argument is that although in theory the away goal rule was introduced to advantage the away team into an attacking threat in a with a view to force a more open game, thus indirectly making the spectacle more exciting for TV audiences, Arsène is adamant this is, and has been, counterproductive.

Why? Well, the Frenchman states that ‘’there is a counter-effect as teams play at home not to concede goals. At home the first thing managers say is let’s not concede a goal” usually forcing the tie into a battle of attrition. The Arsenal manager may have a point, but why mention this now, what’s the rationale behind it?

The argument posed comes off the back of the recent Champions League draw which see Arsenal and FC Bayern Munich play each other for a second consecutive year in the knock-out stages.

Arsenal, last season, had a good crack at both games with the overall result ending 3-3 with the Germans going through on away goals. Yet, le professor is convinced his side deserved to go through to the next stage just as much as Bayern, if not more.

Arsenal lost 3-1 at the Emirates but beat the eventual champions 2-0 in their back yard. Given that Bayern were imperious all last season having not been beaten there since the previous October beating them 2-0 at the Alliance Arena was no mean feat and deserved to be acknowledged and weighed up in the context of the 2 games.

Of course Wenger may not have had too much to complain about if the boot was the other foot so to speak. Had the home advantage been in Arsenals favour they, not the Bavarians, would have proceeded.

It is fair to point out though that Arsenal scored in both ties, Bayern scored in only one so it could also be argued that if the competition were a boxing match Arsenal would have gone through, they were brave and attacked scoring in both rounds.

Nevertheless, the five time competition winners had finished top of their group and had played the better football over the whole course of the completion resulting in their hard won labours being an advantage. Munich proceeded to the quarters.

Arsène has however made a good, valid point though and it deserves the chance to be discussed in more depth. The question then has to be answered hypothetically as how to an advantage or winner is identified if such circumstances arise in future.

We would love to hear your views and opinions on this and possible away goal rule replacement ideas, get in touch!

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