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Wenger the pioneer battles on within his own legacy

In the aftermath of Arsenal’s comprehensive 3-0 derby win over Chelsea last weekend, Arsene Wenger did not sound like a man simply content with overcoming regular tormentors who soiled a previous landmark for him two-and-a-half years ago.

Basel were subsequently dispatched 2-0 in the Champions League in midweek and on Saturday the 66-year-old Frenchman will mark 20 years in charge of the north London club.

“I’m hungrier now than I was because I know I have not got 20 more years in front of me,” he said after beating the club who dished out a 6-0 thumping at Stamford Bridge in 2014, turning his 1000th match in charge into a vicious nightmare.

“I also feel a responsibility. You can’t be 20 years somewhere and not care, so I’m more conscious now about what Arsenal is all about, and I feel the weight of keeping people happy.” 

It is not a weight his spindly frame has borne too well over recent years, with petulant fan outcry and the “Wenger Out” brigade a guaranteed presence whenever Arsenal falter.

The narrative arc of Wenger’s time at Arsenal seems unlikely to deviate now – those glorious, swashbuckling early years where “Boring, Boring Arsenal” were recalibrated by Dennis Bergkamp, Robert Pires, Thierry Henry and the “va va voom” of invincibility, unfortunately giving way to unwavering style without the substance of regular major honours.

Fri 30 Sep, 2016
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