Arsenal are not used to hearing all this praise about them in the media as of late and it’s usually at this point in the season where the media is scrutinising the Gunners about being out of the title race already, with just 6 games gone! However this year it’s very different and we are expecting a lot of the team this year following on from our great start to the season.
Of course the fine form is largely down to the players; however one aspect of it that everyone seems to be forgetting about is the greatness of Arsene Wenger. He has been praised in recent days because of his comments about his love and passion for Arsenal, however up until that moment he had gone reasonably unnoticed.
The Arsenal fans recognise that Wenger is one of the world’s best managers, as do the players and to some extent the media too, however one place you wouldn’t expect to hear praise is an opposing manager. But ex Chelsea and Liverpool boss Rafa Benitez has changed that aspect up on its head.
Benitez said, “I am expecting a strong team, because I think Arsène Wenger is the best coach in the Premier League. Wenger is a great manager, a great person, and someone who knows the league here in England. He has experience in Europe, Arsenal is always in the top four, and he is doing a great job. Hopefully he can win [the Champions League], but another year, not this one.
“This game is different from last one against Borussia Dortmund. We play away against a team whose ball possession is one of their strengths, with the counter-attack, so we will need to change our approach.
“We probably need to control the euphoria. Now we are going to play against a top side. We must show backbone, strength and respect to a team at the top of the Premier League and at the highest level in Europe”.
Well his head must be spinning after Arsenal showed his Napoli side up last night, and they will not be looking forward to the return leg in Italy. He may have hoped that Arsenal and Wenger would relax after his words, but nothing seems to be able to stop us the minute.
Although I have doubted Wenger at times, I have always remained to my stance on thinking there is no better manager currently available to lead our team to glory and I’m now honestly quite happy that the board remained faithful to Wenger for the time being at least. Interestingly Benitez thinks we are a top class team, (which we are) but he doesn’t think Dortmund fit that bill, whilst he also thinks Wenger’s the best coach in the EPL. With Brendan Rodgers, Villas Boas and Pellegrini all on the sidelines for now, Ferguson’s retirement and Benitez’s and Mourinho’s heated relationship, I’m not surprised he thinks this of Wenger.