Arsenal manager faces his compatriot in the Premier League on Wednesday night
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger says his Southampton counterpart Claude Puel has done a fine job in his first year at the club.
The sides meet in the Premier League tonight with Arsenal looking to move up to fifth in the table.
Southampton could end the night as high as eighth.
Wenger says that speaks volumes of the work his fellow Frenchman has done in his debut season at St Mary's after succeeding now Everton boss Ronald Koeman who had guided Southampton to sixth in the Premier League last season.
"They take initiative in every single game," said Wenger of Puel's Southampton.
"They have been doing well against the big teams in the league and overall they got to the League Cup final. For Southampton, they put in a very convincing performance on the day. Overall he has done well."
Puel, who previously managed Monaco, Lille, Lyon and Nice in his homeland, also led Southampton to this season's EFL Cup final which they lost 3-2 to Manchester United in the final.
Puel had previously worked with Wenger when he was a player at Monaco where he spent his entire playing career. Wenger was his manager there from 1987 and 1994, with Puel telling Sky Sports News in November: "Arsene Wenger was very important for me. I learned from him during seven years at Monaco, it's a long time and now it's interesting to see all the great trainers to develop what I can do."