Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger will sit among the Chelsea fans for Wednesday’s League Cup semi-final first-leg clash but he will be fortunate to be sitting beside his gardener as he did last season — although he admitted he did not recognise him.
The cerebral 68-year-old Frenchman, whose side will bid to bounce back after crashing out of the FA Cup to second-tier Nottingham Forest, is serving another touchline ban just as he did last February when the two sides met in the league.
Wenger is obliged to sit with the home supporters at Stamford Bridge, although he will be protected by two security guards.
However, Wenger received an unexpectedly warm welcome when he took his seat beside the corporate area in February last year and was offered a handshake by a Gunners supporter.
“I said ‘Good afternoon’ and he replied, ‘I’m your gardener at your house’,” Wenger was quoted as saying in The Times.
“I didn’t even know him. I do have a big garden,” added Wenger.
That was as good as it got for Wenger as his side slumped to a 3-1 defeat to the eventual champions, leading to taunting from gloating Chelsea fans sitting with him.
“I must tell you that was a bad experience,” said Wenger.
“Very uncomfortable. I felt awkward, yes.
“It was not a pleasant experience.”