Arsene Wenger, the man with the record of managing the most Premier League matches in history during his long stint at Arsenal, has gone.
Other teams, most recently Manchester United, have suffered a downturn after a long-serving Manager departed. No doubt the Arsenal FC Board have taken this into account and have already supported player purchases for incoming Manager Unai Emery, although this young Spaniard does have a pedigree of winning. He has already accumulated an impressive eight trophies in his thirteen year coaching career. Certainly, he had a wealth of talent at his disposal when he won the French Ligue with PSG, and prior to that his three Europa League wins with Sevilla, so his building a team to suit his style could see several changes at the London based club.
Refreshing the team encourages supporters keen to again see some success. One concern though is the familiarity and football style that Arsenal fans are so used to is now at risk, as Emery is believed to favour a counter-attacking style. He is a meticulous planner, spending at least twelve hours doing video analysis prior to each game. This means Arsenal will be more organised, more structured and probably less adventurous.
Wenger’s detractors in recent times focussed on his inability to compete for the Premier League title. However, he leaves with a track record over his 22-year spell with Arsenal of three Premier League titles, and seven, yes seven, FA Cup wins, although success in European competitions proved more elusive.
A win percentage of over 57% covering that span of time is impressive and a tribute to his ability to rebuild his team, without drastically changing the style of play. No doubt all Arsenal supporters are excited about the future, but maybe it’s time the detractors reflected on the great stint they had under Wenger.
Managers at big clubs are judged on their record in the Champions League. Under Wenger, Arsenal played in 19 successive Champions League campaigns, only Real Madrid can beat that. And Wenger is second on the all-time list of Champions League matches won, behind only Sir Alex Ferguson. That’s some record. On the domestic scene, his 2003/04 team became the Invincibles, winning the Premier League without losing a game (W26 D12 L0). This made them the only side in the modern era to achieve this feat. It was way back in 1888/89 that Preston North End also claimed the English title undefeated.
A quiet, unassuming man with a relatively low profile, he played at a lower level after studying medicine and economics at Strasburg University. After a stint at Monaco he was picked out of obscurity from Japanese side Nagoya Grampus Eight, in what was a real shock at the time. He was the first person in England to introduce some alternative thinking around eating, drinking and lifestyle habits that are now adopted in all professional clubs. Wenger gave the Arsenal supporters a style of play, an ethos and a track record that they should be proud of. His stint at Arsenal should be remembered with pride.
All Gunners fans should grab one of the team signed jerseys, which include Arsene Wenger’s signature, as a tribute to the legacy he leaves behind.
Click here to score yourself one of these fantastic pieces of memorabilia.