• Europa League

Wenger slams Arsenal’s Europa League final “collapse”

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Arsene Wenger slammed his old club Arsenal following their 4-1 Europa League final defeat to Chelsea on Wednesday.

After finishing a point outside the Premier League top-four, Arsenal headed into the final needing victory for Champions League football next season.

Instead, though, Chelsea thrashed their London rivals 4-1 in Baku. Olivier Giroud and Pedro put them two goals up before Eden Hazard’s brace wrapped things up.

Therefore, Arsenal will once again be competing in the Europa League for the third time in a row.

And the Gunners disappointed even Wenger over the way they performed after Giroud’s opener.

“I felt that in the first half we did quite alright but as soon as Chelsea scored the first goal we collapsed completely,” Wenger told beIN Sports.

“In the second half, we didn’t exist. It was a sad night for us.”

Wenger, who left Arsenal last summer after 22 years at the helm, couldn’t but feel some compassion for them. The Frenchman pointed out the strain it puts on the team while competing in the Europa League and Premier League.

“I agree that until the quarter-final in the Europa League you play with a reserve team when you play in England because the Premier League is so demanding,” he said.

“I would say that even in the Champions League group stage you rest players, when you have a difficult game over the weekend, sometimes even in the group stage because you’re close to qualifying.”

The ex-Arsenal boss added: “The Premier League is so difficult that until the quarter-final the teams play with [players] who do not play in the Premier League.

“I think in recent years it is always the team who got knocked out in the Champions League group stage who won for many, many years in the Europa League.”