Arsene Wenger has said Arsenal “lost our soul” when they left Highbury to move to the Emirates Stadium.
Highbury was the home of Arsenal for 93 years, with Wenger famously guiding their “Invincibles” to an unbeaten season at the ground in 2003-04, but the club have not seen the same level of success since moving home, only winning three FA Cups in the 13 seasons they’ve spent at the Emirates.
Mikel Arteta’s side are 10th in the Premier League, and with the club languishing at arguably its lowest ebb since making the move to the Emirates, Wenger has now claimed that the soul of the club was left behind when Highbury was knocked down in 2006.
“We built a new stadium but we never found our soul — we left our soul at Highbury,” Wenger told beIN Sport.
“We could never recreate it for security reasons. The distance from the pitch to the stand had to be bigger as we needed ambulances to come in.
“The inclination of the stands had to be smaller all those things together that we didn’t find to recreate the atmosphere.”
Wenger made the comments during a joint-interview with Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp, with the German looking to become only the second manager in the Premier League’s history to guide a team to an unbeaten season.
Anfield has been a fortress for Liverpool in recent years, with the side not suffering a league defeat there since being beaten by Crystal Palace back in April 2017, and Wenger believes the intimidating atmosphere is a key reason behind Liverpool’s title charge.
“[Anfield] is the best stadium in England,” Wenger said. “It’s simple because the people are so close to the pitch. People really love football in every family, they are football connoisseurs.
“I’ve been in positions there where I’ve been leading 5-1 with five minutes to go and they were chanting ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone.’ It’s one of the few cities, maybe the only city in the world where you find that.
“I moved from Highbury [with Arsenal], it was a bit similar to Anfield, if not the same.”