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Arsene Wenger statement over his sacking, Arsenal land Ireland Premier Division-Europa League group stage

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Arsene Wenger explains why he has not been back to Arsenal since his sacking

Arsene Wenger says he has not yet returned to Arsenal since his sacking because he felt it was best to have a clean break from the club.

The Frenchman was in charge of The Gunners for 22 years, overseeing an illustrious period in their history and the move from Highbury to The Emirates.

His greatest achievement was leading Arsenal’s 2004 ‘Invincibles’ to the Premier League title without losing a match in the campaign, but that proved to be the peak of his tenure.

Wenger was eventually relieved of his duties by the Arsenal board in the summer of 2018 after failing to mount a serious challenge for the title for several seasons.

And the 70-year-old is yet to go back to the club since his exit, despite still being held in high regard there.

“I will go one day,” Wenger told The Times .

Asked if he has been invited, he responded: “Yes. But I thought it was better to cut completely. It was difficult at the start, of course, after leading my club as long as I did. But I thought it’s better to follow from a distance.”

Wenger has since thrown himself into working for FIFA as head of global football development, but admitted recently he still watches every Arsenal game on television as a fan.

Talk has also turned to the prospect of Arsenal erecting a statue in honour of his work, having won three Premier League titles and seven FA Cups under his management.

But as far as his relationship with Arsenal goes, Wenger stated he now has “no connection at all with the club”.

Long before sections of Arsenal fans begun calling for Wenger to get the axe, there were suggestions he could move upstairs into an executive role to continue his good work behind the scenes.

Wenger signed Arteta as a player and is open to a role assisting him behind the scenes

Europa League group stage draw: Arsenal land Dundalk while Tottenham take on Ludogorets

Arsenal will face Irish champions Dundalk, Rapid Vienna, Molde in the group stage of the 2020-21 Europa League, while Tottenham take on Ludogorets, LASK and Royal Antwerp.

Elsewhere, Leicester will face Braga, AEK Athens and Zorya Luhansk, while Scottish title holders Celtic have been placed alongside Serie A giants AC Milan.

Neil Lennon’s side, who failed to qualify for the Champions League, also face tough tests against Lille and Sparta Prague.

Their Old Firm rivals Rangers, who continue to work under the guidance of Liverpool legend Steven Gerrard, have fixtures lined up against Portuguese heavyweights Benfica, Standard Liege and Lech Poznan.

Roma will hope that they have enough to overcome Young Boys, Cluj and CSKA Sofia, while their domestic foes Napoli must take on Real Sociedad, AZ Alkmaar and Rijeka.

Bayer Leverkusen and Nice have been placed in the same group and PSV have meetings with Granada to come in their section of the draw.

All of the teams in the running for a prestigious prize will be looking to make their way to the final in Gdansk on May 26, 2021.

It remains to be seen whether any of those who reached the latter stages of the competition last season will come back into contention for the crown 12 months on.

All four of the semi-finalists from 2019-20 – Sevilla, Inter, Manchester United and Shakhtar Donetsk – will be competing in the group stage of the Champions League.

Sevilla landed the trophy last time out, for a sixth time in their history, but will be hoping to avoid being put in a position to defend that prize.

Plenty of others will fancy their chances of staking a serious claim for a famous piece of silverware, with Premier League hopefuls among them.

Arsenal reached the final back in 2019, when they lost to London neighbours Chelsea, while current Spurs boss Jose Mourinho guided Manchester United to Europa League glory in 2017.

2020-21 Europa League group stage draw in full:

Group A: Roma, Young Boys, Cluj, CSKA Sofia

Group B: Arsenal, Rapid Vienna, Molde, Dundalk

Group C: Bayer Leverkusen, Slavia Prague, Hapoel Beer-Sheva, Nice

Group D: Benfica, Standard Liege, Rangers, Lech Poznan

Group E: PSV, PAOK, Granada, Omonia

Group F: Napoli, Real Sociedad, AZ Alkmaar, Rijeka

Group G: Braga, Leicester, AEK Athens, Zorya Luhansk

Group H: Celtic, Sparta Prague, AC Milan, Lille

Group I: Villarreal, Qarabag, Maccabi Tel Aviv, Sivasspor

Group J: Tottenham, Ludogorets, LASK, Royal Antwerp

Group K: CSKA Moscow, Dinamo Zagreb, Feyenoord, Wolfsberg

Group L: Gent, Red Star Belgrade, Hoffenheim, Liberec

 

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