Arsene Wenger has revealed his surprise at old friend Gerard Houllier's return to frontline management as the pair prepare to go head to head for the first time in more than six years.
Wenger, who takes Arsenal to Villa Park today, said of Houllier's return: “I wasn't surprised that Aston Villa took him but I was surprised — because he was in a position as director of the French Football Federation — that he chose to leave his job and come again into a hotseat after what he has gone through.”
While he may have been taken aback by Houllier's Villa move, Wenger was not surprised to see his friend bring Robert Pires to the midlands club last week.
“I saw what he has been doing in training,” he said. “He is the type of player who can help any team in the Premier League.”