Claudio Ranieri was the first Chelsea manager in the Roman Abramovich era, and was in charge at Stamford Bridge when the Blues finished runners-up to Arsene Wenger’s Invincibles. Back in those days Arsenal had nearly total domination over our London rivals and Ranieri only managed one surprise win in 14 games against the Gunners.
Eleven years later Ranieri has returned to the Premiership with Leicester City and the Italian is very surprised that Wenger has not won the title since those heady days. “When they were the Invincibles that was an unbelievable achievement and I don’t know why they have to wait so long,” he said in the Telegraph.
“I was surprised because Arsene is a good manager and every time he chooses very good players. But maybe it is not easy to play without Thierry Henry, Dennis Bergkamp, Freddie Ljungberg and all the defenders. That is not easy.
“They are definitely ready to be title contenders again this season, the Champions League maybe not yet, but with a little luck, why not?
“It’s not my problem, my problem is to try and beat Arsenal now. My record against them is bad and if I remember well I didn’t win for 13 matches – but I won the last.”
Let us hope that Wenger can continue his great record against Ranieri, but at this moment Leicester are the only unbeaten team in the top flight and will not be a pushover, especially at the King Power Stadium where they are unbeaten since April. Ranieri has his feet on the ground and realises that this run is bound to end at some point.
“For us it is important to try and stay there and maintain the start – not to think about what we can do. Our fans can dream but we have to stay very calm and work very hard because a defeat is around the corner,” he continued.
“Now we are in good condition and that is good for us. We will try to beat them in this moment.”
If Ranieri is right that Arsenal could be in the race for the title this season, then we can only prove it by winning tough games like this on tomorrow….