Remi Garde acknowledges Arsene Wenger's longevity in demanding Premier League
Aston Villa boss Remi Garde has paid tribute to Arsene Wenger for the way he has managed to remain at the top of club football for almost two decades.
It will be the apprentice against the master on Sunday when Villa host Arsenal in the Barclays Premier League - 19 years on from Garde becoming Wenger's first signing as Gunners manager.
During a week in which Garry Monk became the latest managerial casualty following his sacking by Swansea, Garde believes Wenger's reign deserves huge credit.
On Wednesday Arsenal qualified for the knock-out stages of the Champions League for the 16th successive season and they will arrive at Villa Park with the opportunity to go top of the Premier League, and Garde believes Wenger is as hungry for success now as he was when he played under his fellow Frenchman.
"I've got a lot of admiration because I realise how tough this job is in the Premier League, how difficult it is to keep a job and get results,"said Garde.
"This is the first side (of the job) and then I remember the club at Arsenal 20 years ago without training facilities without a modern stadium like they have today. All this has to be credited to Arsene.
"A football club is not only the results you get today but also how you will build for the future for yourself or for another manager for or another chairman or owner.
"It's part of the credit you have to be given to see where was the club when you got the job and where is it now. Not only in terms of trophies. Of course trophies are the main target all the managers have but also to get trophies in the long term and to build a solid club you have to build other stuff. For that Arsene has done brilliantly.
"I think you have to dedicate all your life to football and I'm not sure that Arsene had long holidays or many days off since he took the job at Arsenal. And then you have to be completely focused and more than focused, you have to live for football and your football club.
"For some characters and personalities it is more difficult than for others. Arsene has always lived for football and he has been rewarded for that.
"For me he still has the spirit to get trophies and he probably still feels strong enough to get trophies."
Jack Grealish will be back in the Villa squad against Arsenal after t he 20-year-old midfielder was overlooked for first-team duty against Watford and Southampton following a breach of club discipline.
Leandro Bacuna and Rudy Gestede came off injured against Saints but will be fit for Sunday, although captain Micah Richards is still struggling with the knee problem which ruled him out at St Mary's.