Darren Bent and Matthew Upson agreed on The Debate that Mauricio Pochettino's time at Tottenham is reminiscent of Arsene Wenger's early years at Arsenal
Mauricio Pochettino’s spell at Tottenham is reminiscent of Arsene Wenger’s early years at Arsenal, Darren Bent and Matthew Upson agreed on The Debate.
Saturday’s north London derby, live on Sky Sports Premier League, sees Arsenal host a Tottenham side who finished above them for the first time in Wenger’s tenure last season.
Arsenal vs Tottenham
November 18, 2017, 11:30am
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While Wenger faces increased scrutiny as Arsenal manager, Pochettino’s stock continues to rise at Spurs with the club third in the Premier League and thriving in the Champions League.
Former Spurs striker Bent said that while there are concerns Pochettino could be poached by another club, the Argentine appears to be laying the foundations similar to that of Wenger when he took charge of Arsenal in 1996.
“The biggest worry for Spurs is someone taking Pochettino, because he does look like he’s laying the same foundations that Wenger did,” said Bent.
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“He’s got a young English side with a lot of talent and I think they’re going in the right direction. The way they’re playing at the moment, it’s similar to the way Wenger had been playing when he first went to Arsenal.”
Wenger has been at the Arsenal helm for 21 years, and the Frenchman guided them to three league titles and four FA Cup trophies in his first nine years.
The 68-year-old was instrumental in transforming the football club, and former Arsenal defender Upson believes there are signs Pochettino is doing the same at Spurs.
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“You can draw comparisons. When you listen to Mauricio, he mentions the project. When you’re part of that, it’s exciting to see it through,” Upson said.
“The clubs are in a different moment for me. Spurs are in that building phase, like Arsenal were when Wenger came in and changed the way they played. Pochettino has the backing of the club to make those changes.
“In the modern game, you’re more on the short-term future, but Spurs are delivering an amazing stadium and the infrastructure will be on par with Arsenal.
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“He will be able to manage a club with a great vision, so that must be exciting for him.
“He also understands the psychology of the players. What Wenger did in his early years at the club was recruit amazingly well, and Pochettino has emulated that at Spurs.
“It’s a different story recruiting for 20 years, and sometimes there will be signings which don’t work out. Wenger has always had that talent for picking a talent out of nowhere.”