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Wenger, Pellegrini in battle of the beautiful game


WengerTwo of the Premier League’s heavyweight squads go toe to toe at the Emirates today as Arsenal and Manchester City squabble over the right to spend Christmas one place below surprise leaders, Leicester.

And of the three teams heading up the Premier League, Blues boss Manuel Pellegrini sees a reflection of his own squad in Arsene Wenger’s talented set-up.

He is far too gracious to say it but, the implication might be that Leicester, who have been a breath of fresh air, might lack the experience to keep their amazing form going.

When it was suggested that City have plenty of winners in their dressing room, Pellegrini suggested that might give the Blues and the Gunners the edge in the long run.

“I don’t think it is exactly the same at Leicester but at Arsenal, Arsene has a lot of important players in the dressing room that have won important titles,” he said.

“Alexis Sanchez, Santi Cazorla, Mesut Ozil, a lot of players that have won important things, like Per Mertesacker. They have a big squad, the same as our squad and Manchester United.

“Leicester maybe don’t have the same experience but the motivation is so high and the experience of Claudio Ranieri is also very important. Of course, when there are more players having titles I their career, the job is easier.”

There are many similarities between Wenger and Pellegrini – both are intelligent, thoughtful managers, who have plenty of fire burning away underneath placid exteriors.

And both believe emphatically that, while winning is important, the style in which you achieve it also matters.
That is why today’s showdown is being relished as

One area where they differ is that Pellegrini has absolutely no plans to stay at City for 20 years!

“If you ask me if I’d like to be here in 20 years I’d say no!” was Pellegrini’s response. But the Chilean clearly thinks that Arsenal’s faith in the Frenchman – who took the reins in 1996 -has been a good thing.

• Culled from manchester evening

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