Wenger cool on Champs League play-off plans

ARSENE Wenger has voiced his opposition to Premier League proposals to introduce a play-off for the fourth Champions League spot.

League chiefs are considering an overhaul of the current system that would see teams from fourth to seventh battle it out for the lucrative place.

But Arsenal manager Wenger, whose team have qualified for the competition by finishing fourth in three of the past four years, has joined Everton’s David Moyes in criticising the plan.

“Why should you not organise play-offs for the teams who go down then? Involve the 16th, 15th and 14th teams,” said the Frenchman. “When you are fourth in the league after 38 games you do not want necessarily to do battle with a team who is 10 points behind you. That is why the table is there: to justify why teams qualify and why they don’t qualify. I’m not a big fan of the idea.”

Aston Villa manager Martin O’Neill, however, is in favour of the idea. “It’s quite interesting,” he said. “I wouldn't knock it immediately, particularly if we finish seventh in the league. I know the team who finished fourth would be galled, but if you knew the rules at the start of the season then you know the parameters.”

Arsenal finished fourth last season, nine points ahead of Moyes’s Everton, with O’Neill’s Villa a further point behind.