“Arsène Knows” – a celebration of 999 games.

AV1A

Arsène Wenger’s 1st game on Oct.12th 1996 – a 2-0 away victory over Blackburn Rovers

In August 1996, Arsenal dismissed manager Bruce Rioch and former Barcelona player and manager Johan Cruyff was the odds on favourite to take over; however Arsenal appointed a relative unknown named Arsène Wenger.

He officially took over the reigns on October 1st 1996. Arsène was a close friend of club vice-chairman David Dein, whom he first met during a match between Arsenal and Queens Park Rangers in 1988. The Evening Standard greeted his appointment with the headline “Arsène Who?” Arsenal finished third in his first season and missed out on a Champions League qualification place to Newcastle United who was in second place based on goal difference.

In his second season, Arsenal won the Premier League and FA Cup to complete the second league and cup double in the club’s history. Arsenal had to overcome a 12-point deficit on league leaders Manchester United in the final few weeks of the season. Arsenal’s success was built on an already stalwart defence which consisted of Tony Adams, Steve Bould, Nigel Winterburn, Lee Dixon and Martin Keown with David Seaman in goal. The defenders contributed to a run of eight consecutive clean sheets between January and March 1998.

Arsène thought of striker Dennis Bergkamp as the catalyst of the team plus the new signings of Petit and Vieira along with winger Marc Overmars and striker Nicolas Anelka all provided the core and benefited from Arsene’s attack-minded principles. The beginnings of “Wenger Ball” had officially arrived at Highbury!

The following seasons were a series of close calls, in 1998–99 the club finished second behind Manchester United who also defeated Arsenal in a FA Cup semi-final replay.

One year later, Arsenal lost the 2000 UEFA Cup Final to Galatasaray on penalties and in 2001, was beaten by Liverpool in the 2001 FA Cup Final, even though they dominated the match. During this period both Overmars and Petit left to join Barcelona.

Arsène then surprised everyone by signing a new four-year contract in July 2001.

Arsenal made several signings in the summer, including the controversial arrival of defender Sol Campbell, on a free transfer, from Tottenham Hotspur and midfielder Giovanni van Bronckhorst from Rangers – they along with Fredrik Ljungberg, Thierry Henry and Robert Pirès who were brought in during previous transfer windows, now created the bedrock of the first team.

2001- 2002 was another double season and, for Arsenal fans, the ultimate moment arrived when Sylvain Wiltord scored the winning goal against Manchester United at Old Trafford in the penultimate game of the season to secure the club’s 12th league championship and third double; four days earlier Arsenal had beaten Chelsea 2–0 in the 2002 FA Cup Final.

That same season Arsenal scored in every single league fixture and was unbeaten away from home. Arsenal extended their good form into the 2002–03 season; they overhauled Nottingham Forest’s top-flight record of 22 away league matches without defeat and surpassed Manchester United’s Premier League total of 29 matches unbeaten. They ended up second to Manchester United in the league after giving up an eight point lead, however they gained some consolation by winning their ninth FA Cup defeating Southampton 1-0.

In the 2003–04 season, Arsenal made history by winning the Premier League without a single defeat – an accomplishment last achieved by Preston North End over 115 years earlier. The team became known as “The Invincibles” and they clinched the League Championship in front of Tottenham’s supporters at White Hart Lane with a 2-2 draw on April 25th 2004 – eventually their undefeated run ended at 49 league games.

AV2

“We won the league at White Hart Lane”

That Arsenal chant must gnaw away at Tottenham fans who have suffered the indignity of watching our Gunners clinch the title on their ground not once, but twice.

Arsenal enjoyed another comparatively strong campaign in 2004–05, but finished second to Chelsea. Consolation again came in the 2005 FA Cup; Arsenal defeated Manchester United on penalties, after a goalless final with Patrick Vieira scoring the winning penalty with his last kick as an Arsenal player.

In the 2005–06 and 2006–07 seasons Arsenal finished fourth in the Premier League on both occasions and outside of the top two for the first time in Arsene’s tenure. The club reached their first Champions League final in May 2006, but ended the competition as runners-up to Barcelona in a 2-1 loss.

In the summer of 2006, Arsenal relocated to the Emirates Stadium; Wenger believed the increased capacity was “vital” to the club’s financial future. Arsenal has not won any trophies since the 2005 FA Cup but has continued to win qualification to the Champions League and under Arsene’s guidance they have qualified in the last seventeen seasons.

This brings us to the current season where with nine games left to play we look to be assured of another CL qualification spot and have a shot at winning the EPL Championship and we play Wigan in the semi final of the FA Cup.

Saturday March 22nd will be an epic day in Arsène Wenger’s tenure as the Arsenal Manager will take his Arsenal side to Stamford Bridge to play against Chelsea in his 1,000th game in charge of the club.

Arsenal accomplishments for Arsene Wenger

• FA Premier League: 1997–98, 2001–02, 2003–04

• FA Cup: 1997–98, 2001–02, 2002–03, 2004–05

• FA Community Shield: 1998, 1999, 2002, 2004

Individual accomplishments for Arsene Wenger

• French Manager of the Year: 2008

• J. League Manager of the Year: 1995

• Officer of the British Empire: 2003[206]

• Onze d’Or Coach of The Year: 2000, 2002, 2003, 2004

• Premier League Manager of the Season: 1998, 2002, 2004

• LMA Manager of the Year: 2001–02, 2003–04

• BBC Sports Personality of the Year Coach Award: 2002, 2004

• Freedom of Islington: 2004

• FWA Tribute Award: 2005

• English Football Hall of Fame: 2006[207]

• Premier League Manager of the Month:

March 1998, April 1998, October 2000, April 2002, September 2002, August 2003, February 2004, August 2004, September 2007, December 2007, February 2011, February 2012, September 2013

• World Coach of the Decade: 2001–2010

Top ten Arsenal Managers with the longest tenure.

AW1

Arsene Wenger’s Record at Arsenal

AV4

Written by GunnerN5

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67 Responses to “Arsène Knows” – a celebration of 999 games.

  1. RC78 says:

    Excellent post. The only thing missing from Arsenal and AW’s trophy cabinet is European Success. The loss to Barcelona was heartbreaking and the one to Galatasaray was just dumb! I hope that AW will bring an EPL and a CL to our cabinet in the near future as both he and the club deserve it! Thanks for the goood work Mr. Wenger!

  2. RC78 says:

    Let us look at his transfer successes and failures:

    – Top 5 Transfers accomplished:
    – Worse 5 transfers completed:

    – Top 5 – players sold (it was a good decision to let them go)
    – Worse 5 – players sold (mistake to let them go)

  3. Big Raddy says:

    Gn5. Another excellent post. Thank you

    RC78. 9.51 Why not write a post stating who you think are contenders?

  4. Norfolk Gooner says:

    ” Let us look at his transfer successes and failures” No thanks RC78, let’s celebrate what having a manager who has done so much for our club by winning us trophies and seeing us through the lean years of the Emirates Stadium construction. A manager who has brought stability and scintilating Wengerball through the nine hundred and ninety-nine games he has overseen.

    Save the gripes for another day.!

  5. Norfolk Gooner says:

    Oh! I forgot to say, great post GN5, Arsenal Arsenal’s official Arsenal historian.

  6. Rasp says:

    Great work GN5. We’ve often said on here that statistics lie – but when a record is sustained across 18 seasons I think we can safely draw the conclusion that AW’s 1,000th game is a landmark in a highly successful and productive career.

    I know your stats encompass all competitions, but its fascinating to see that the win % in 2007/08 was 62.1% and 60% in 2009/10 – supposedly during our dark year without a trophy 🙂

  7. Vintage Gooner says:

    Great post GN5. At first I did not intend to comment but I can’t get over that we currently have our second highest win % and yet are third in the league and probably only not fourth because the team immediately below us has two games in hand.

    This evidences better than any words just how much harder the league has become. Yes it is true that any Premier game is a potential banana skin but the quality that has been bought in has meant that for top place there are very few teams really able to compete over a whole season.

    The truth is that this is the real recent achievement of Arsene Wenger is to have kept us in this mix to the extent that this season we are genuine challengers.

    Well done boss.

  8. Big Raddy says:

    Vintage. Excellent point about the league.

  9. GunnerN5 says:

    Hi folks,

    I’ve been tied up today and have been unable to comment. Our site, along with some other Arsenal sites is extremely quiet these days.

    But thank you for your comments.

    I attempted to only use AW’s record, because I’m very biased in his favour and I didn’t want to influence the post with my personal opinions.

    His record stands as a personal testament to what he has brought to Arsenal. I will be devastated if he does not re-new his contract as he is an irreplaceable one off. Those who want him out will only recognize the level of his contribution once he has left – then they will realize just how good he was – and they will be sorry!

    We can see with Man U what its like to replace a legend, although AW would be leaving Arsenal in far better shape than Fergie left Man U.

    I sincerely hope that before our game with Chelsea we get a splashy announcement saying that he has re-signed for another 3/4 seasons.

    I’ve witnessed the teams of every manager from Tom Whittaker forward and AW stands alone at the top……..

  10. RC78 says:

    AW is a legend 🙂 Our winning rate this year has been very interesting but it seems that it will not be enough to snatch the league. Basically, you need to be above 67%, at least to be really challenging for the EPL…Tough league to win

  11. RedMJ says:

    Is anyone able to find and publish the stats for winning % of the last 10 EPL Champions. It appears that chelski hold the record with 76% for 05 & 06 – boooo! (purile I know)

  12. GunnerN5 says:

    RC78,

    In the last 8 out of the last 9 EPL seasons the % of games won has been over 70% the last 2 were 73.7%. The lowest during those 9 games was in 2010/11 when Man U won with a record of W23, D11, L4 with a % of 60.5.

  13. GunnerN5 says:

    RedMJ

    Here are the games winning % for the past 10 EPL seasons.

    3/4 – Arsenal – 68.4
    4/5 – Chelsea – 76.3
    5/6 – Chelsea – 76.3
    6/7 – Man U – 73.7
    7/8 – Man U – 71.1
    8/9 – Man U – 73.7
    9/10 – Chelsea – 71.1
    10/11 – Man U – 60.5
    11/12 – Man C – 73.7
    12/13 – Man U – 73.7

  14. RC78 says:

    Wow – over 70% for the Champion – that is quite a high percentage, indeed! All I was saying is that you need to be at least at 67% to hold a realistic chance to win it…

    Except when City won, the EPL was not so firecely contested in the past 4-5 years and the Champ usually ran away with the league with quite a few games in hand…

    Let us do the maths here…To reach around 70-71% of wins by the end of the EPL, which results shall we have in the last nine games? Does anyone know or shall I look into it?

    Alan Smith just posted his best XI under Wenger (with only players that Wenger brought in the mix so no Seaman, Parlour or Bergkamp…):
    Lehmann – Sagna, Sol, Kos, Cole – Walcott, Vieira, Fab, Pires – RVP, Henry

    Mine would be until now:

    Lehmann – Lauren, Sol, Kos, Cole – Ljunberg, Vieira, Gilberto, Pires – Walcott, Henry

    The worse XI:

    Mannone – Jenkinson, Squilacci, Cygan, Sylvestre – Arshavine, Diaby (too injured!), Inamoto – Reyes, Bendtner, Jeffers

  15. RC78 says:

    Sorry – Richard Wright for Mannone and Luzhny for Jenkinson

  16. RockyLives says:

    Stunningly good Post Gn5 – well played, Sir!

    How lucky we have been and continue to be.

  17. RockyLives says:

    I would expect the win % to be lower than 70% this season, given there are four teams “in it” as we head into the final stretch.

  18. RC78 says:

    9 games left…we need 8 wins to be at 72% winning rate…

    If you look at your fixture, it would make sense to win at least 8 games to win the league as that would mean beating either Chelsea or City…

    Do you think that our Gunners can win 8 of the remaining games?

  19. GunnerN5 says:

    Here are our last 9 games.

    Chelsea – A
    Swansea – H
    Man C – H
    Everton – A
    West Ham – H
    Hull – A
    Newcastle – H
    WBA – H
    Norwich – A

    The two biggest nuts to crack will be Chelsea and Everton away, I’m always quietly optimistic and feel that we can get 23/27 points. That will give us 85/89 points which in turn will us a % of 74.5 to 78.1 a really tall order – but that’s what it takes to win the EPL.

  20. RC78 says:

    wow – you are indeed optimistic 🙂 I see 20 points or 23 at most…I hope that Ramsey comes back to the fold in great shape as we need him strong until the end of the season…

    Szecesny – Sagna, BFG, Kos, Gibbs – Ramsey, Flam, Rosicky – Ox, Giroud, Santi

    It s not the prettiest side but I think it is resilient, gritty and good enough to get us to 20-23 points…

  21. RedMJ says:

    Current win % of the contenders

    AFC – 65.5%
    Liv – 65.5%
    Chelski – 66.6%
    Mancs – 70.4%
    (and just because its funny – Spuds – 53.3%)

    All to play for and ours if we want it bad enough.

  22. GunnerN5 says:

    RedMJ.

    If you want a really good laugh (in fact a rib breaker) – Man U’s % is a massive 48.3%

  23. Big Raddy says:

    RC78 3.33

    It’s possible ……

    But I do not think we will need to. The fixtures will allow us to make a couple of slip-ups as the other teams drop points, AV beating the Chavs is a case in point.

    It would be extraordinary if L’pool won it but they have the easiest run-in

  24. GunnerN5 says:

    That’s true BR however they still have to play Spurs, Chelsea and Man C but they are all played at Anfield and their other 6 games are all winnable.

  25. GoonerB says:

    Gn5, marvellous. I am starting to think that Gn stands for godfather (of) nostalgia. I think ecl qualification is in the bag but we can still win the league. We will need to pull out the big results though. We need to win the next 3 basically so for me we dont have to wait long to find out. If we win those i think we could get away with a draw at everton and i think there are still some head to heads for the chavs and citeh with pool. If it is within our grasp after the next 3 i think the teams new found steel will push us over the line.

    I will not be disappointed if we dont end up with the title but the fa cup is ours to lose so would be disappointed if we dont get that one.

  26. RC78 says:

    Liver-poo has the easiest run but I do believe that they will not win against City and that Chelsea will manage a draw there…Still, they have an easy run and can well create a big upset…That said, they only have one trophy to play for since a couple of weeks whereas the other teams are still in the hunt for two trophies…

    Man-shitty – well, they are the co-favorites to win the EPL. If they win their two games in hand, it will be hard to snatch the league away from them but then again, if we beat them, the race would remain open

    Chel-ski – They struggled at Villa and you can sense that some of their players are tensing up, especially Ramires, Oscar and Torres and Hazard is FINALLY having a dip in form…They have the steel and the frit to win the League and they will also fight until the end so they are co-favorites for me.

    Our squad – if we were in full power (Walcott, Ramsey, Ozil, Wilshere and a fresh Ollie), I would not bet against us but we look tired and jaded and I am not sure our batteries can last much longer without our key creative players…It is going to be down to Szecesny – BFG-Kos – Flamini – Ox, Rosicky – and Ollie to bring the crown to us but I do not believe that they will have energy left in them to do so by Mid-April…Let us see…

    Most likely Top 4: City/Chelsea, Liverpool, Arsenal

  27. GunnerN5 says:

    That’s a realistic choice for top 4 RC78 – but I still like our (outside) chance to pull off a major upset. That being said our current and any future injuries may be our downfall.

  28. RC78 says:

    We have our chances but it is an outside bet, indeed…Let us hope that our boyz can pull it off…I do not even care if it is in style or not 🙂

    Agreed about the FA-Cup, it is ours to lose…

  29. Big Raddy says:

    I saw Inamoto play for the first team – did anyone else or is it a ghost memory?

  30. We have to win the FA Cup and hopefully win give the league a good go. I’ve written a blog about the premier league title race. Give it a read and let me know who you think will win it in the comments!
    http://lukehastings.wordpress.com/2014/03/18/thetitleracethefourcontenders/

  31. arnie says:

    Fantastic stuff, GN5. 😀 😀 😀 I had to come in today, no way I was missing this post! 😀

    As far as I am concerned, tough times, literally fell over the edge and trying to climb back. 😛 Micky you well know what it is like, apold for yesterday, but there we go. 😦

  32. arnie says:

    Wee, let us enjoy while it still lasts. I feel that a transition stage is being put in place at the moment, and I daresay I also share this belief with some others in this space. So, let us enjoy and celebrate while it lasts. What a man, what a career, what a legacy!!!! 😀

  33. arnie says:

    About teh current season, the devil I think is in the detail. After peering at GN5’s stats long and hard, I have convinced myself that it is the losses that have hit us hard.

    Here is the list:
    Premier League Arsenal 1-3 Aston Villa Sat 17 Aug
    Champions League – Group F Arsenal 1-2 Borussia Dortmund Tue 22 Oct
    League Cup – Fourth Round Arsenal 0-2 Chelsea Tue 29 Oct
    Premier League Man Utd 1-0 Arsenal Sun 10 Nov
    Champions League – Group F Napoli 2-0 Arsenal Wed 11 Dec
    Premier League Man City 6-3 Arsenal Sat 14 Dec
    Premier League Liverpool 5-1 Arsenal Sat 8 Feb
    Champions League – Round of 16 Arsenal 0-2 Bayern Munich Wed 19 Feb
    Premier League Stoke 1-0 Arsenal Sat 1 Mar

    9 in total, 4 at home. 5 in the League, 1 at home.

    Let us say we put in a big effort and win against Shitty at home. That leaves us with GN5’s cluster, Chavs and Everton away. Let us say we draw these two, though I think we will win one of the two. That leaves us there or thereabouts. It then depends on Shitty. Their form is scary at the moment (Barca does not count), but who knows! Chavs will drop more points, I think. And Liverpool as well.

    Onwards and upwards!!!!! 😀 😀

  34. RockyLives says:

    Just seen that Liverpool and Man City are playing the two bottom teams this weekend…

    Not that it will matter when we beat the Chavs 🙂

  35. chas says:

    Superb post, GN5.
    So much to digest. The season by season stats are awesome.

    Here’s Wrighty scoring in Wenger’s first game at Blackburn.

  36. arnie says:

    Rocky, perfect time for Shitty to drop points, then. At least Fulham will try to park the bus. Pool away at Cardiff may not be an easy game. In any case, as you say, does not matter because we will defeat the Chavs. 😛

    I also note, not with negligible pleasure, that Benfica are ahead against Spuds. 😛

  37. RockyLives says:

    arnie
    yes – agent Sherwood continues to succeed with his mission 🙂

    chas
    what would we give for a young Ian Wright in the team now? What a player! Wengerball would have suited him just as well as the tactics we played under GG.

  38. arnie says:

    yes, we need to reinforce our campaign for agent Sherwood!!!! 😛

  39. Big Raddy says:

    The Hapless Hotspurs season is over. Soon be St Totteringham’s Day

  40. Big Raddy says:

    Pleat (let us recall an ex-Spurs manager) “all of sudden in the last few mins they looked a threat.””

    Says it all

  41. Shard says:

    Thank you GN5. A fantastic read and a great way to celebrate a great Arsenal manager’s career with us (and long may that continue)

    I love Arsene Wenger. Not in a Terry Transplant way mind you, but all the same, I do love Wenger. Not just for what he has brought the club in terms of trophies, or a chance to join the real elite of world football, but also for what he hasn’t taken away or lost while achieving that. He hasn’t lost the traditions of Arsenal. He’s always professional, humble, and puts the club first. He proclaims that winning can never be at all costs. He’s endured abuse from the media, rival managers, and fans (lately Arsenal fans too) which is highly unfair, undeserved and sometimes disgraceful, but he’s dealt with it all with far more grace than could reasonably be expected. He’s brought us beautiful football, great players have been made under his reign, and the disappointments only highlight how much joy he’s brought to the fans of this club. In a word, he’s classy. Exactly the sort of manager a club like Arsenal (at least my Arsenal) should have, and we are lucky to have him.

    I must admit, I am afraid of a time when Wenger leaves. He’s the only manager I have known since I started following Arsenal, and I’m sometimes amazed that certain clubs have changed managers every season or so. I’ve never known that and it scares me. But am I for Wenger staying only for that reason. Not a chance, despite what the likes of Le Grove say. And although I am afraid, I am confident Wenger will leave our club – his club- in a position that can only help the next manager achieve even more. Wenger will have a statue outside the new stadium one day, and it wouldn’t be gratitude enough.

  42. GunnerN5 says:

    Shard a beautifully written comment and I totally agree.

  43. Gööner In Exile says:

    Well played GN5, don’t think it’ll surprise many I have a lot of respect for Wenger I may not always agree with team decisions but the way he has conducted himself as our Manager, the way we have played football and most importantly the knowledge he shows about the game. We are very lucky .

  44. neamman says:

    Being one of the few here who remember the Wright years… I truly appreciate Wenger. That being said Billy Wright did sign most of the 7-0-71 Double team as youngsters. He may not have been the best first team manager but he knew his youth players.

  45. arnie says:

    Lovely comment, Shard. 😀

    GN5: I am getting a bit worried, are the 100% agreement proclamations not becoming a bit too frequent? 😛

  46. MickyDidIt89 says:

    GN5

    Sorry again not to be around, as back late, and off again in an hour.

    The Blog World must be dead indeed if a post like this didn’t bring out an army of Sniffers 🙂

    My question is this. Would a GN5 exists without the aid computers? Reckon he probably would, but the worlds’ rainforests would be a whole lot smaller.

  47. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Mmm, 4:28. Am I in someone else’s time zone?

  48. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Wow, just went onto Sky website to see who Spurs were losing to last night, and to tie in with Arsene’s 1000, that weird talking brainbox Alan Smith has named his best ever Arsenal XI.

    Question is, how many do you disagree with? 🙂

    …………Jens
    Sagna Sol Kos Cole
    Theo Paddy Cesc Bobby
    ……..TH RvP

  49. chas says:

    Micky
    I think smith’s XI had to be Wenger bought, hence no Bergkamp. Hard to disagree with any.

  50. chas says:

    You’ve probably gone by now, DidIt, but worth a look for anyone.

  51. Gööner In Exile says:

    I’d put Freddie in that team instead of Theo.

  52. Gööner In Exile says:

    Morning Chas, assume ticket still there for Swansea before I start booking travel arrangements?

  53. chas says:

    It sure is, GIE.

  54. chas says:

    Yeah, but we’ve seen the maximum Freddie could become, Theo has yet to hit his peak. 🙂

  55. Gööner In Exile says:

    Very arty view of the power of the sea.

  56. chas says:

  57. Gööner In Exile says:

    Excellent thanks Chas.

    True about Theo, could say the same about Szczesny, Ox and Rambo. As I was thinking about that team I wondered whether purchases in the last few seasons could compete for a place in that side. Koz already in there as is Theo, could BFG oust Sol, or Gibbs Cole etc? Could anyone ever replace Paddy?

  58. chas says:

  59. chas says:

  60. Big Raddy says:

    Chas. Awe inspiring film.

    You earlybirds get up seriously early!

    Like Shard’s AW comment, particularly this “but also for what he hasn’t taken away or lost while achieving that. He hasn’t lost the traditions of Arsenal. He’s always professional, humble, and puts the club first. He proclaims that winning can never be at all costs.”

    Arsene would be a proud man were he to read that truth.

  61. LB says:

    Love that sea clip from Chas.

    Great way to start the day.

  62. arnie says:

    motning all.

    lovely clip, Chas

  63. arnie says:

    about Gibbs overtaking Cole I dont know, but BFG overtaking Sol is a distinct possibility, Particularly because BFG is a good target in the box during corners, and also gives us some important goals. 😀

  64. Morning all

    We have a New Post ………………

  65. What an amazing story! Surely Arsene Wenger is not a specialist in failure.

  66. Wonderful blog! I found it while browsing on Yahoo News.

    Do you have any tips on how to get listed in Yahoo News?
    I’ve been trying for a while but I never seem to get there!
    Cheers

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