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Wenger surprised Benitez accepted Chelsea job

Rafael Benitez. Photo credit: Neal Simpson/EMPICS Rafael Benitez. Photo credit: Neal Simpson/EMPICS

Thursday, November 22, 2012
7:44 AM

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger was shocked to see former Champions League-winning Liverpool boss Rafael Benitez accept a short-term contract to be interim Chelsea manager.

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Wenger, who was left stunned by Roberto Di Matteo’s sacking, was surprised that a manager of Benitez’ ‘stature’ was willing to accept a temporary deal to take charge at Stamford Bridge.

“[The appointment and deal] is a surprise because Rafael Benitez is a guy who has a record,” said the Arsenal boss.

“He is a manager of stature and it is a surprise he is appointed for such a short time. I am surprised as well he accepted that.”

Benitez’s first game at the Chelsea helm will be Sunday’s clash with Manchester City, which comes a day after Wenger takes his side to Aston Villa.

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Arsenal

Nickname: The Gunners.

Ground: Emirates Stadium (capacity 60,361).

Founded: 1886.

Honours: First Division (until 1992) and Premier League: 1931, 1933, 1934, 1935, 1938, 1948, 1953, 1971, 1989, 1991, 1998, 2002, 2004.

FA Cup: 1930, 1936, 1950, 1971, 1989, 1991, 1998, 2002, 2003, 2005.

League Cup: 1987, 1993.

Fairs Cup: 1970.

Cup Winners’ Cup: 1994.

Leading goalscorer: Thierry Henry, 228.

Leading appearances: David O’Leary, 722.