Wenger warns of 'catastrophic scenario'
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger hopes the three other English teams in the Champions League will overcome their current difficulties to join the Gunners in the knockout stages of the competition, claiming it would be a 'catastrophic scenario' if they didn't.
The London side have comfortably qualified for the quarter-finals of Europe's premier competition with a game to spare in Group F, but progression has not been so straightforward for Chelsea, Manchester United and Manchester City.
The former two sides both have their future in their own hands going into the final round of group matches, but City are relying on Villarreal to do them a favour if they are to have any chance of reaching the last 16 from Group A.
But Wenger hopes all three teams progress - worrying partly that any early exits would affect the number of places English teams will get in the competition in future, and also that teams would have an advantage in domestic competition if not distracted by European concerns.
"It would be a little bit of a disadvantage in the Premier League [for Arsenal], but that is a catastrophic scenario for England and would basically harm our places in Europe for the future," Wenger said. "That is what you don't want - that you go from four to three Champions League places. Hopefully that will not happen.
"Of course the teams like Manchester United would then focus on the FA Cup and the domestic championship, but let's see - I don't think that will happen."
Amid reports that Wenger is keen to bring in some support for Robin van Persie in January, the Gunners' boss also took the time to reveal that he is not planning to make any moves.
"At the moment, I do nothing in January," he said. "I have a big squad, but if you knock at my door and say 'I have a fantastic player for you', I will not turn it down.
"If we have no injuries, we should get away with it because we have Oxlade-Chamberlain, who can play there, Park, Arshavin and Van Persie. So we still have offensive players, but we could be a bit short if we have an injury."
However, with Moroccan international Marouane Chamakh preparing to go to the African Cup of Nations in the New Year, Wenger is wary of how long it will take the striker to recover.
"It is a confidence issue [with Chamakh], but it is difficult to loan him now because of the African Nations Cup," he added. "They come back in February, usually quite tired, so it is not easy. They need to go out two weeks before the tournament starts then it lasts two and a half weeks, then they need two weeks' recovery. So it is six weeks."