Arsene Wenger – 1,000 Not Out

Arsene Wenger

Arsene Wenger’s 1,000th game in charge of Arsenal may have been one of his most disappointing, losing 6-0 to Chelsea but he has had some great successes.

Here we take a look back at some of the highs & lows of Wenger’s Arsenal career.

Wenger was appointed as Arsenal manager on the 30th September 1996 and earned the nickname “The Professor” due to his very thoughtful approach to the game.

Throughout his Arsenal career Wenger has religiously stuck to his principles and played football the way he believes it to be played.

In his first full season on charge Arsenal won the League, beating Manchester United into second place, and FA Cup, defeating Newcastle 2-0 in the final to win the double.

Arsenal finished second in the table behind Manchester United for the next three seasons as the rivalry between the two clubs, managers (Wenger & Ferguson) and captains (Vierra & Keane) intensified.

During this period Wenger made a number of signings, including Ljungberg, Henry, Pires and Wiltord as he attempted to build a side capable of winning the League and playing football his way.

The 2001-02 season proved to be one of Wenger’s most successful at the club and also saw the arrival of Sol Campbell on a free transfer from North London rivals Tottenham.

They comfortably won the League, scoring in every game, as they finished seven points clear of Liverpool and 10 points clear of rivals Manchester United. The title was won at Old Trafford, with Wiltord scoring the only goal in a 1-0 victory, making the league success even sweeter for both Wenger and the clubs supporters.

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They also won the FA Cup, defeating Chelsea 2-0 in the final, to claim the double for the second time in four years.

The 2002-03 season saw Manchester United win back the title as they finished five points above The Gunners who had led the race for large parts of the season.

Wenger’s Arsenal side did retain the FA Cup, the first team to do so since Tottenham in 1982, defeating Southampton 1-0 in the final.

The 2003-04 campaign was arguably the greatest under Arsene Wenger’s management despite losing in the semi-finals of both the FA Cup and League Cup and quarter-final of the Champions League.

The Premier League campaign saw Wenger’s team create history as they became the first side to go unbeaten in a 38 game season and only the second to achieve this in the top flight (Preston being the first in 1888-89).

With a record of 26 victories and 12 draws the team became known as “The Invincibles” and won the title finishing 11 points clear of second placed Chelsea.

Arsenal won their fourth FA Cup trophy under the management of Arsene Wenger in the 2004-05 season, defeating Manchester United 6-5 on penalties in the final.

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This victory came shortly before Arsene Wenger’s 500th game in charge of the club.

Wenger’s next 500 games have not proved to be as successful with the club failing to win any major trophies despite coming close on a number of occasions, most notably when finishing runners-up to Barcelona in the Champions League final.

Kieran Gibbs red card in Wenger’s 1000th game was Arsenal’s 101st under Wenger’s stewardship but arguably the most costly was Jens Lehmann’s in the Champions League final.

There are many pundits and fans that put Arsenal’s failure to win any silverware in the last nine years down to Wenger’s reluctance to compete in the transfer market and Arsenal’s inability to hold onto their best players.

Since the 2005 FA Cup victory Arsenal have reluctantly sold Patrick Vierra, Ashley Cole, Thierry Henry, Alexander Hleb, Mathieu Flamini, Emmanuel Adebayor, Kolo Toure, Gael Clichy, Cesc Fabreras, Samir Nasri, Robin van Persie and Alex Song.

With Arsenal now out of the 2013-14 title race after 1,000 games and nearly 18 years in charge is it now time for Arsenal to say thank you Mr Wenger but we would like a new manager to take things from here?

 

By: Jane C Brooke

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