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Page 79 stories Wenger slams Arsenal defending after Bayern rout Arsene Wenger offered a scathing assessment of Arsenal’s defending in the humbling 5-1 defeat to…

Page 79 stories

Wenger slams Arsenal defending after Bayern rout

Arsene Wenger offered a scathing assessment of Arsenal’s defending in the humbling 5-1 defeat to Bayern Munich in the Champions League.

The Premier League team bounced back from Group F defeats to Dinamo Zagreb and Olympiacos to secure a rousing 2-0 victory over Bayern at Emirates Stadium two weeks ago, a result that was emphatically avenged by the Bundesliga champions.

Robert Lewandowski opened the scoring in the 10th minute and, after Mesut Ozil had a goal disallowed for handball, Thomas Muller made it 2-0 before the half-hour mark.

Full-back David Alaba scored a stunning third and laid on the fourth for substitute Arjen Robben either side of half-time, with Muller grabbing his second in the final minute after Olivier Giroud netted a classy consolation.

Injuries deprived Wenger of right-back Hector Bellerin and centre-back Laurent Koscielny, but the manager had little sympathy for the players that took to the field in their absence at the Allianz Arena.

“You have to give credit to Bayern for their quality, but we made things easy for them,” said the Frenchman.

“We were extremely poor defensively, not at the races. Defensively, I did not recognise my team.”

Arsenal must win both remaining group matches to stand any chance of progressing to the knockout rounds, but Wenger is not giving up hope entirely.

“There is still a chance to qualify,” he added. “It’s a small chance, but there is still a real one.”

Klopp: I don’t need to make many changes

Jurgen Klopp does not think he needs to make many changes to bring success to Liverpool.

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp is certain he will not have to make too many changes to bring success to the Anfield club.

Klopp took charge on Merseyside in October following the firing of Brendan Rodgers and has enjoyed a promising start to his career in England, remaining unbeaten in five games and picking up a Premier League victory at champion Chelsea.

Klopp believes a squad overhaul is unnecessary, unlike when he took over at former club Borussia Dortmund.

“It is a completely different situation,” the German said. “They are all Liverpool players here. Decisions that were made in the past were not as bad as maybe some people think. It is not a coincidence they are here.

“When I saw the squad – when on my holiday – I thought, ‘good job, I can work with this.’ Yes, we have some injuries but players will come back. It’s a good squad. It’s even good for those players who can’t play in this moment to see how we work.”

Benzema charged in Valbuena sex tape case

France striker Karim Benzema was charged yesterday with conspiracy to blackmail and participating in a criminal group as part of an investigation over a sex tape involving teammate Mathieu Valbuena.

Benzema was handed preliminary charges after being brought before a judge at the Versailles court following a night spent in custody, the prosecutor’s office said. The Real Madrid forward, who has been freed pending further investigation, faces a maximum prison sentence of five years.

Preliminary charges under French law mean magistrates have strong reason to believe a crime was committed, and allow time for further investigation. The charges may later be dropped.

Benzema was also placed under judicial supervision, meaning he cannot meet with the victim or other people charged in the case.

Investigators are trying to find out if the Real Madrid forward played a role in the extortion attempt targeting Valbuena, and if he actually tried to blackmail the Lyon midfielder.

Both Benzema and Valbuena play for France’s national team. But because of the case, France coach Didier Deschamps won’t be able to use both players at the same time while the investigation goes on.

With both men being key members of the national team, Benzema’s judicial issues could also have an impact on France’s performance at next year’s European Championship, which France will host.

Deschamps left both players out of his squad for upcoming friendly games against Germany and England. Benzema is currently sidelined with an injury but Valbuena’s omission was not expected. Deschamps said the Lyon midfielder isn’t in an emotional state to play in either game.

Deschamps was bombarded with questions related to the Benzema case at the start of his news conference but refused to take most of them.

“The best thing is to let the justice system do its job,” Deschamps said.

Three other people have been handed preliminary charges over the case since October. The investigation started this year when Valbuena decided to take legal action after being contacted by a man claiming to be in possession of an incriminating sex tape.

‘Dortmund can’t compete with Bayern’

Borussia Dortmund cannot compete with Bayern Munich in the Bundesliga title race, according to the club’s chief executive Hans-Joachim Watzke.

Dortmund have been impressive since Thomas Tuchel’s arrival in the dugout and sit second in the league having lost just once all season, although that was a 5-1 thrashing at the hands of Pep Guardiola’s side.

Bayern enjoy a five-point cushion in top spot and Watzke believes the title race is already dead in the water.

“It makes no sense to talk about chasing down Bayern,” he told Bild.

“Bayern have dropped just two points so far. If they keep this up the entire season, they will spill eight points over the course of the season.

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