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Wenger finds support from an unlikely source ahead of Bayern clash

SoccerBy Sunday World
Ancelotti with Alex Ferguson and Wenger and a UEFA coaching forum
Ancelotti with Alex Ferguson and Wenger and a UEFA coaching forum

Bayern Munich coach Carlo Ancelotti has hailed Arsene Wenger as ‘a legend’ ahead of his latest meeting with the Arsenal manager this Wednesday – as he leapt to the defence of the under-fire Gunners boss.

The demise of Arsenal’s latest push to win the Premier League title after back-to-back defeats against Watford and Chelsea has sparked a fresh round of speculation over Wenger’s future.

This time we could be witnessing the end of the game’s last great managerial dynasty.

With his contract expiring at the end of this season and Wenger reluctant to sign the new deal that has been offered to him, a fire-storm of anger from Arsenal fans continues to be blasted in his direction in recent weeks.

A Champions League last-16 clash against an in-form Bayern side may not be the ideal tonic for Wenger in the current toxic climate, yet former Chelsea boss Ancelotti believes Wenger’s achievements at Arsenal should to be respected, not dismissed.

“What Wenger has done is close to being impossible in the modern game, he is a legend,” says Ancelotti.

“To be at a club for more than three years is a great achievement ,and when Wenger goes, we will not see this happen again.

“Only Alex Ferguson at Manchester United did something similar and you have to say it is an amazing achievement.

“I have been fortunate to manage some of the biggest clubs in the world, but staying in these jobs is not so easy.

“It would be interesting to stay at a club for two or three years because then you build some relationships with players, with owners, with the fans.

“Wenger has done that at Arsenal and even if it is easy to criticise when they don’t win trophies, you have to look at the bigger picture.

“They built a new stadium, they stayed in the Champions League every year and in this respect, Wenger did a fantastic job

“It’s not all about the results, there are other things, and for this Wenger deserves credit in the way he has managed the situation at Arsenal.”

Ancelotti reminded Wenger what success was all about when he won a Premier League and FA Cup double in his first season at Chelsea, back in 201, but his sacking a year later provided evidence of the different bars for success at London's most power two clubs.

This will be Arsenal’s fourth Champions League assignment in Bayern’s magnificent Allianz Arena since 2013, with the 5-1 drubbing they received on their last visit there two seasons ago a painful reminder of what may lie in wait this time.

Ancelotti’s eagerness to tweak rather than completely overhaul the wonderful Bayern side he inherited from Pep Guardiola last summer has ensured this transition of power has been smooth, yet the big debate in Germany over recent months has focused on the wayward form of their star man Thomas Muller.

The German World Cup winner has struggled for goals this season and Ancelotti has been forced to leap to his defence after he was left out of a key game against surprise title challengers RB Leipzig in December.

“This guy is a winner and a champion, so I have no doubts about him,” added Ancelotti of Muller.

“He has huge intelligence and you don’t always see these qualities in a striker.

“Muller can do so many things to influence a game and this is why he is a special player. I have  no doubts about him.”