Arsene Wenger has questioned his own ethos at Arsenal as Chelsea look to become successive Premier League champions who do not dominate possession.
Antonio Conte’s men need to just win at West Brom on Friday night to secure their second top-flight crown in three years; this coming straight on the back of Leicester’s remarkable Premier League title glory last season.
Both sides have adopted a counter-attacking style, with more possession-oriented sides such as Arsenal and Manchester City struggling by their own standards in the meantime.
Wenger fears that this change in approach must be addressed as teams should be “encouraged” to play more.
“Over the last two seasons, teams who have not big possession have won the league,” Wenger said. “And, as well, teams who were not involved in Europe, at all, won the league. Because the league is so physically difficult, maybe it is very difficult to cope with both. We will see how Chelsea respond next season.
“Are teams who are not making the game doing well? Yes. When we analyse it in Geneva [at coaching conferences], we always analyse the Champions League and I must say, in some seasons, the team who had low possession won the Champions League. Over a longer period, it is the teams who have the most possession who win it.
“I still think sport has to encourage initiative and, if it rewards too much teams who don’t take initiative, then we have to rethink the whole process because people will not, forever, come to watch teams who do not want to take the initiative. The responsibility of people who make the rules is always to encourage teams who want to play, because that is what you want to see.
“I am convinced you still need to have the ball to create goal chances and that you cannot encourage, as well, youth teams to say: ‘We do not want the ball’,” Wenger said. “You cannot buy big players and say: ‘We do not want the ball’. Big players want the ball.”