By Richard Clarke

Arsène Wenger believes the tough Premier League programme hampered all four English sides in the Champions League this week.

This country is arguably the strongest in Europe right now. England provided three of the four Semi-Finalists in the Champions League last term and the quartet of domestic teams have all made strong starts in their groups this season.

However, oddly, none of them won in Continental competition this week. Chelsea surprisingly went down at Serie A strugglers Roma while Manchester United and Liverpool needed late equalisers to salvage draws. Arsenal were perhaps the most comfortable but they could only manage a point against Fenerbache.

Afterwards Wenger suggested all four may have been feeling the effects of the extra round of Premier Leagues in the middle of last week.

“You can see from all of the results of the English teams that none of them had lost before tonight in the Champions League, and this week none of them have won,” he said.

“That is maybe explainable because last week everybody gave so much in the Premier League and had a little bit less resources to play in the Champions League this week.”

At least, Arsenal’s draw was a general improvement on the unsatisfactory point with Tottenham last Wednesday and the defeat to Stoke on Saturday.

“I feel we have played three different games,” continued Wenger.

“We had a big disappointment last week. We played an outstanding game last Wednesday but we still dropped points and then we had a little hangover against Stoke when we lost the game.

“But I watched Liverpool last night and they drew, I’m not really sure how. Chelsea were not sharp physically and we were not sharp physically. I don’t know how Man United played.

“But it looks as though, because the Premier League is very demanding, if you have a Champions League week afterwards it is difficult physically.”

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6 Nov 2008