By Chris Harris

Arsène Wenger will come face to face with an old acquaintance on Saturday – and it’s a reunion he wasn’t expecting.

The Arsenal manager has known Gerard Houllier since they started their coaching careers in the 1980s and the two Frenchmen will meet again when Aston Villa host Wenger’s side this weekend.

Houllier took the reins at Villa Park in September following Martin O’Neill’s departure. At his pre-match press conference, Wenger admitted that his compatriot’s appointment took him by surprise.

“I know him quite well; we started together years ago,” said Wenger.

“I wasn’t surprised that Aston Villa took him but I was surprised [that Houllier went to Villa] because he was in a position as technical director of the French Football Federation.

“[I was surprised] that he chose to leave his job and come again into a hot seat after what he has gone through.”

Copyright 2014 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source 25 Nov 2010