Saturday, June 5, 2010

Benitez Demise Testifies to Wenger's Admirable Achievement

Liverpool lost arguably their most important player, in Xabi Alonso, last summer. Now they have lost their manager. Everything in between was a farce.

Benitez is a cheque book manager who doesn't spend well, doesn't improve players.

He has his strengths- he is clearly a good man measured next to the likes of Ferguson and Mourinho- but while he does excell in tactical battles at times, his time at Liverpool has seen as much mediocrity and confusion as it has glory. Remember that the season of their surreal Champions League victory, Liverpool finished behind Everton in 5th. Then, Benitez was forced to work with sub-par players that Gerard Houllier had signed, but he has since presided over the purchases and sales of countless players in an effort to stamp his signature on the club, and in the season past they finished 7th.

I often bemoan the lack of obvious progress for Arsenal, but at least there is stability. Liverpool have always been erratic under Benitez.

He will gain sympathy from the unfortunate situation he found himself in under the American owners, but ultimately the friction there was allowed to become an excuse for the travails onfield. Benitez constantly bemoaned the lack of available funds, but when one considers that he spent 20 million or so on Alberto Aquilani, a man whose injury record always suggested that he could never be worth the fee, it is no surprise that the Americans were reluctant to allow him to stay on and spend more.

All of which puts Wenger's recent conduct in a rather more positive light, especially if he is actually working under similar constraints to those that Benitez could not handle.

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