Wenger calls for outdated away goals mechanism to be shelved

Frank Dalleres
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EUROPEAN football’s away goals rule is an anachronism and should be scrapped or overhauled, according to Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger.

The Gunners and Chelsea both tumbled out of the Champions League this month after falling foul of the rule, which favours teams who have scored more goals away from home in the event of scores being level on aggregate over two legs.

Wenger dismissed suggestions that the absence of English sides in the quarter-finals of Europe’s top club competition was symptomatic of a national decline, insisting it was down to very fine margins.

“I don’t think that you can draw a general conclusion,” he said. “Two teams have gone out on away goals, which I think should be questioned because it is a rule that is outdated now and that has to be changed, and I have fought for that for a long time.

“It should count maybe after extra-time because this rule has been created in the 1960s to encourage the teams to attack away from home.

“But since that football has changed. The weight of the away goal is too big today.”

Wenger has midfielder Tomas Rosicky back from illness as Arsenal attempt to respond to their European exit in Monaco by continuing their Premier League charge at injury-hit Newcastle tomorrow.

The Gunners, who have won 20 of their last 25 games in all competitions, could climb to second in the top flight if they win and Manchester City fail to beat West Brom in the early kick-off.

Newcastle boss John Carver says he only has 13 fit outfield players for the visit of the north Londoners.