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Arsene Wenger: Premier League manager of 2013

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Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger doesn't have any silverware to show for a remarkable turnaround in 2013, but has served notice to the whole of Europe that he is not finished eating at the Premier League's top table just yet.

Rewind 12 months and Wenger looked to be swimming against an insurmountable tide, with Arsenal slipping to eighth in the table following a 2-0 defeat to Swansea City.

Wenger left the Emirates to a chorus of boors and perhaps for the first time a significant portion of Gunners fans calling for his head, tired of an eight-year trophy drought that showed no signs of ending.

The Frenchman must have looked deep within himself to decide he was still the man to take the club forward, after watching a succession of star players turn their backs on the boss who brought their talents to the fore.

Things hadn't improved as late as March 2013, but without radically changing personnel Arsenal managed to mount a quite remarkable response and snatch fourth place from their arch rivals Tottenham Hotspur.

A 16th successive Champions League campaign was secured by a 10-match unbeaten run, but still Arsenal fans were absolutely desperate for reinforcements during the close season.

Fast forward to the opening day of the current campaign and an injury-ravaged squad were humbled 3-1 at home by Aston Villa, but once again Wenger refused to panic.

The £42.4m deadline-day of arrival of Mesut Ozil from Real Madrid may have looked like a desperate late move at other clubs, but Wenger had secured one of the world's best players and a target he had coveted for a sustained period of time.

From there the Gunners are yet to look back, winning 10 of their first 13 matches to build a four-point lead at the top of the Premier League summit.

The most striking change in Arsenal's recent resurgence has been their new-found defensive solidity, marshalled by figures such as Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny, who have been met with such derision by Gunners fans in the past.

Aaron Ramsey's stunning form in midfield has also been a shining example of Wenger's faith in a lambasted squad being vindicated.

Whether Arsenal go on to match their fine start with trophies next May remains to be seen, but the Premier League's oldest and wisest coach deserves to be considered the top flight's standout manager of the calendar year by quite some distance.

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Topics:
Football
Premier League
Arsenal

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