Heynckes tells Arsenal fans to lay off Wenger

Bayern Munich manager Jupp Heynckes has urged Arsenal supporters to stop criticising Arsene Wenger because the Gunners boss can no longer compete financially with English football's big spenders.

Wenger has been under increasing pressure this season and heads into Tuesday's Champions League last 16 first leg against Bayern desperately needing to win the competition after an eight-year trophy drought.

The Frenchman was already feeling the heat following Arsenal's embarrassing League Cup exit to Bradford in December and the criticism went up a notch following their shock FA Cup defeat to second-tier Blackburn on Saturday.

With their Premier League title aspirations long gone, some sections of the Gunners' support have called on Wenger to resign.

But Heynckes believes his opposite number should not shoulder the blame while the likes of Chelsea, Manchester United and Manchester City out-spend Arsenal every year.

"Arsenal are a great team and Arsene Wenger is a very good coach. You can see his team has a very great dynamic about it," Heynckes said at a pre-match press conference on Monday.

"You have to take into consideration Arsenal are competing with Chelsea, Manchester United and Manchester City.

"Over the years Arsenal have been selling their best players while these other teams get in top world stars. So I don't think it is fair to blame Arsene Wenger for that.

"Take away the recent game against Blackburn, they are fifth in the league and they have played a lot of positive football in the Champions League."

Following the Cup defeat to Blackburn, Wenger will recall several of his first-team players, with England midfielder Jack Wilshere among those who will be a key figure against Munich.

Bayern midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger says Wilshere has caught his eye after producing fine form for club and country on his return from a long spell out with injury.

"It has a lot to do with his size. The typical English player is over 1.85m," Schweinsteiger said.

"He was out for a long time, but he is very difficult to play against.

"Wilshere is very dynamic. He has a very good left foot and he has a real eye for the way he sees his players. Those are his qualities."

Bayern, who will be replacing Heynckes with former Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola at the end of the season, arrive in north London as Europe's form team.

They are 15 points clear at the top of the Bundesliga, have won their first five games back after the resumption from the winter break and have conceded just seven league goals all season.

There is also added motivation to right the wrong of last season's Champions League final penalty shootout defeat on home soil against Chelsea.

Despite Bayern being red-hot favourites to progress, Schweinsteiger, 28, is refusing to write off Arsenal's chances.

"A defeat like that, you just can't forget it," he added. "Of course if you lose a final then the motivation is there. We have shown in the league, the cup and the Champions League that we have the motivation.

"Arsenal is one of the top-10 teams in Europe. Of course the days of Tony Adams and Thierry Henry have gone and maybe they are pining for them. But they still have Wilshere.

"They are not the typical English team. They are very technical. I don't know why they have not won trophies because they the quality to win."

  • COMMENT: Xenophobia rears its ugly head in Singapore once more 17 hours ago
    COMMENT: Xenophobia rears its ugly head in Singapore once more

    Kirsten Han is a Singaporean blogger, journalist and filmmaker. She is also involved in the We Believe in Second Chances campaign for the abolishment of the death penalty. A social media junkie, she tweets at @kixes. The views expressed are … Continue reading →

  • Driving a $900,000 Porsche 918 Spyder to the future 19 hours ago
    Driving a $900,000 Porsche 918 Spyder to the future

    It’s more than just its inherent speed, or the whooshing noise that fills the cabin like a school choir jamming with James Hetfield. It’s what it represents in an industry full of skeptics. It’s a portal into the future – a time capsule left by some mad scientist born decades too soon. It’s something that shouldn’t exist. And yet it does.

  • 919 reasons to love: Flickr photo of the day 20 hours ago
    919 reasons to love: Flickr photo of the day

    We've brought you the drive video of the $900,000 Porsche 918 Spyder -- an 887-hp hybrid supercar with two electric motors working in harmony with a big 4.6-liter V-8. But how about this? Porsche's hybrid Le Mans racer -- the 919 Hybrid, sent to us by Kevin Leech. Get on board with electrification, folks. Because it's taking over the world.

  • COMMENT: Xenophobia rears its ugly head in Singapore once more
    COMMENT: Xenophobia rears its ugly head in Singapore once more

    Kirsten Han is a Singaporean blogger, journalist and filmmaker. She is also involved in the We Believe in Second Chances campaign for the abolishment of the death penalty. A social media junkie, she tweets at @kixes. The views expressed are … Continue reading →

  • Singaporeans slam NEA's $120 licence requirement for tissue sellers
    Singaporeans slam NEA's $120 licence requirement for tissue sellers

    Singaporeans on social media reacted angrily to news that tissue sellers at hawker centres and street corners are being required to pay for an annual licence.

  • Arrest warrant sought for S. Korea ferry captain
    Arrest warrant sought for S. Korea ferry captain

    South Korean prosecutors sought arrest warrants Friday for the captain and two crew members of the ferry that capsized two days before with hundreds of children on board, a coastguard official said. The captain and most of his 28 crew managed to escape the ferry, and have been criticised for abandoning the ship when so many were still trapped on board. Tracking data from the Maritime Ministry showed the ferry made a sharp turn just before sending its first distress signal on Wednesday morning. Prosecutors said Friday that preliminary investigations showed that captain Lee Joon-Seok had handed the helm to his third officer before the ferry capsized.