Wenger a Winner Again at Long Last

Arsène Wenger’s FA Cup win should have pleased all football purists.

Arsène Wenger’s FA Cup win should have pleased all football purists.

Arsenal certainly made their manager sweat for it, but Arsène Wenger may well have relished Saturday’s FA Cup win more than any trophy he previously hoisted during his illustrious Gunners reign.

After a season in which his team led the Premier League for longer than any other side, and with a missed penalty altering the destiny of their Champions League clash with Bayern Munich, Arsenal required success more urgently than unlucky Hull.

Nine years after their spot-kick FA Cup win over Manchester United, during which time Liverpool, United and Chelsea have all won the Champions League, coupled with Manchester City’s emergence, Wenger set about remoulding Arsenal Football Club.

The move from Highbury to Ashburton Grove meant Wenger couldn’t splash the cash as his contemporaries did, and while he’s brought in some astute signings for relatively modest money, that notion of fragility within Arsenal ranks persists.

However, as John Giles pointed out in advance of Saturday’s dramatic victory, Champions League qualifi cation and an FA Cup certainly constitutes a successful campaign.

And in ensuring a 17th successive season in Europe’s premier competition, Wenger remains a competitive force and certainly not the failure that the tiresome Jose Mourinho described him as.

Wenger ranks as the last of his breed in top level English football given his Napoleonic control of the club in its entirety.

Should he bring in at least one new defender, add some steel to midfield and find someone to assist Olivier Giroud upfront, further trophies are not beyond one of the few truly great figures still in football management.

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