PAUL MERSON COLUMN: Arsenal are out the Champions League and they should be glad

I’m just glad they didn’t try to blame a fixture pile-up because the more clubs that complain about fixtures, the less sympathy they are going to get.

We all know teams in Spain have a big advantage, because they can rest players in league games which they know they’re going to win anyway.

And we all know other leagues bend over backwards to move fixtures to give their teams the best chance of being successful in Europe.

Yes, Arsenal have had to play a lot of games lately. But that isn’t why Arsenal lost. They lost because their mindset is wrong. Yes, they’ve got to play an FA Cup replay now, but so what?

We are only talking about scrapping replays to help the top clubs really, aren’t we?

How are lower-league clubs ever going to make any money if they can’t take a big Premier League team to a replay?

You can lose more games in the Champions League and still win it than you can in the Premier League at the moment.

It’s not like the old days when you had one bad result and you were out. You can lose three group games and still go through. And you can lose one of the legs in each tie in the knockout rounds as well, so long as you win the others.

If the Champions League clubs did their jobs, they wouldn’t need to send out their best team in the last two group games because they’d already have qualified.

They blame all this on the cups and the fixtures back home – but it’s their fault for not producing the goods.

And it’s nobody’s fault but Arsenal’s that they are out at this stage of the competition once again.

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