Saturday 21 January 2017

Eamon Dunphy: Arsene Wenger is turning into Al Pacino from Any Given Sunday

Published 11/04/2016 | 12:32

It was another disappointing day for Arsenal last Saturday as Arsene Wenger's side could only manage a 3-3 draw with West Ham as their main rivals all won around them.

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The sequence of results likely means that the Premier League title is beyond Arsenal's grasp this season, which is a damning failure considering how the campaign played out. Arsenal came into the season as title contenders after the acquisition of goalkeeper Petr Cech, and their chance seemed to increase as Chelsea capitulated, soon to be followed by Manchester City and United.s

But since beating table-toppers Leicester 2-1 at the Emirates back in February, they have slipped off the pace after a series of mediocre results and are now 13 points behind the Foxes, albeit with a game in hand.

Almost all football pundits have been savaging both Wenger and his players after letting such a promising position slip, and in his column in today's Star, Eamon Dunphy went off the board in using an analogy to describe the Arsenal manager's performance.

Dunphy likened Wenger to Al Pacino in Oliver Stone's Any Given Sunday, launching into a succinct synopsis of the film and it's protagonist, Tony D'Amato, a once great American football coach who struggles to adapt to the modern game.

Dunphy feels there are many similarities between the two coaches.

"I thought Arsenal were still in the title race but they're gone now," Dunphy said.

"You can make a case for Wenger being a Premier League version of D'Amato. A hugely successful coach who lost his touch and keeps making the same mistakes... rings a bell, doesn't it?

"If Arsenal - as looks increasingly likely - aren't crowned champions this season, it is an indictment of Wenger's methods. This should have been a great opportunity for the Gunners, given the troubles of both Manchester clubs, Chelsea and Liverpool. Instead, Arsenal have done what they have always done in the last decade."

An unusual comparison but given the detail Dunphy goes into in his piece, we don't doubt that he really did do his research and sit down with a bowl of popcorn to watch the drama.

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