Football

Wenger will be surprised if he stays in EPL

EPL
MAN UNITED ARSENAL
2 1
(Paul Pogba 16, Marouane Fellaini 90+1) (Henrikh Mkhitaryan 51)

Outgoing Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger was warmly greeted by the Manchester United fans and presented with a gift by former United boss Alex Ferguson on his final visit to Old Trafford as Gunners’ boss on Sunday (April 29).

Wenger and Ferguson were fierce rivals for many years as Arsenal and United battled for Premier League supremacy in Wenger’s first decade of a 22-year reign in charge.

However, the tension between the two has since eased, and Ferguson greeted Wenger on the touchline before the game, which Manchester United won 2-1, before presenting him with a glass momento alongside current United manager Jose Mourinho.

Mourinho has also had his spats with Wenger, most famously decribing the Frenchman as a “specialist in failure” for his inability to win the EPL since 2003/04.

It was all smiles as the Portuguese and Wenger enjoyed a warm embrace before kick-off while Wenger was applauded by the United support.

“There are some great clubs and some fantastic competition in the Premier League now, but United against Arsenal was great for the game. It made the Premier League,” Ferguson told the United website.

“Virtually every game we played against Arsenal, there was a real edge to the match. There were confrontations, because there were two teams and two managers battling for one award: the Premier League.

“In my time, we had a few arguments but I always did really respect the man because he did a fantastic job at his club.” 

Wenger, meanwhile, says he will be “surprised” if he is working in the EPL next season, although he has yet to consider his options following his departure from the London club.

Asked whether he expected to come up against Mourinho again, as a manager, Wenger said: “I don’t know, honestly. He will be at Manchester United next year certainly and I don’t know where I will be.

“I have worked at a top level for 35 years without any interruption and I think I am the only one who has done that. I am in unknown territory. Will I take a break? I will be surprised if I meet him next year,” he said.

Wenger said he was looking forward to a post-match glass of red wine with Ferguson and he also appreciated the warm reception he was given by the United fans.

“Once you are not a danger any more, people love you,” he added with a grin. “I am thankful to Manchester United because they had a nice gesture. It is the first time I get a trophy before a game. It is very classy from them.”

The Frenchman is hoping to add one final trophy to his honours list at Arsenal and his first in European competition with the Gunners playing the second leg of their Europa League semi-final against Atletico Madrid in Spain on Friday morning (Singapore time).

The first game, at the Emirates on Thursday (April 26) , ended 1-1 and although Wenger protected most of his regulars by playing a young, experimental side, he still picked up one injury worry with Henrikh Mkhitaryan going off injured in the second half.

Wenger described the Armenian winger’s injury as a “knock on the knee” but said it was too early to say if he, or goalkeeper David Ospina and midfielder Alex Iwobi, who also picked up injuries, are at risk of missing the game in Madrid. – REUTERS, AFP

arsene wengerarsenalManchester United