My Greatest Ever Arsene Wenger Moments – Number 10

Arsene Wenger has given us Arsenal fans so much happiness over the last 20 years. We’ve also had some lows, such as the Champions League Final in 2006 and the FA Cup Semi Final in 1999 (I never cry but I did on those occasions) but overall, we haven’t had it too bad considering. Yes, we’ve had some barren spells in the second half of Arsene’s double decade but it shouldn’t take anything away from the great achievements he has managed to bring to the club.

So to celebrate his amazing reign at the club, I every day I will be posting my greatest Arsene Wenger moments, counting down today with number ten.

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[ Credit: Mark L / Flickr ]

10. Thierry Henry’s Return To The Emirates

This is one of those special moments you know most football supporters will never see in their lifetime.

How many football fans would get to see one of their greatest ever players, return and make an impact like that? It would be like Eric Cantona going back to Old Trafford, Kenny Dalglish going back to Anfield or David Bentley going back to White Hart Lane. When a legend like that returns to the club, it’s a special moment – but when they come on in front of a packed crowd and score the winner? It’s truly magical.

Thierry Henry trained with Arsenal (like so many former players have done to maintain their fitness) over the winter period while New York Red Bulls were having a mid-season break. He signed a 2 month loan deal, partly due to the participation of Gervinho and Chamakh in that seasons African Cup of Nations.

Against Leeds United in the FA Cup in his second “debut”, Henry came on as substitute and shortly after coming on scored a typical Henry-esque goal, which proved to be the winner. The crowd at The Emirates went insane and rightly so – what a moment! Arguably Arsenal’s greatest ever player, who we thought we’d never see at the club again, came back to win another game for Arsenal. To top it all off, he scored in the league against Blackburn (I think it was) and then on his last ever game for us, against Sunderland in the league.

You couldn’t have written the script for this and it was one of those moments in Arsene Wenger’s reign which re-wrote history books and gave Arsenal fans a truly unique memory to savour.

The man who smashed all kinds of goal-scoring records somehow managed to add to that tally, and the goalscoring record at Arsenal stands at an unbelievable 228 goals.

Thierry Henry holds the following records in the Arsenal history books:

  • Most goals overall: 228
  • Most Premier League goals: 175
  • Most European goals: 42
  • Most Champions League goals: 35
  • Most Premier League goals in a season: 30 (2003/2004)

So thank you Thierry Henry and Arsene Wenger, for that little bit of nostalgia and history!

Why Wenger Is Here to Stay

Sometimes we witness things that we have thought to be impossible. It doesn’t happen too often, but it does happen. Many would tell you that believing that something ‘impossible’ will happen is the first step. Of course, the belief alone isn’t going to make anything happen, but it will make you remain dedicated to the goal, whatever it may be.

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Who Would’ve Thought?!

Speaking of things that aren’t very likely to happen, is there anyone who believed that Wenger will remain at Arsenal for 20 years back in 1996?! It is highly doubtful as the odds that he will remain Arsenal’s manager for two decades were staggering 5,000/1, same as the odds for Leicester City to win the league last season. Yet somehow, both things happened. Arsenal have changed their stadium, but not their coach in the last twenty years.

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Wenger’s Amazing Achievements

Many have been criticising Arsène, especially in the past few years, but the truth is that the things he managed to achieve with Arsenal are more than remarkable.

  • Arsenal won the double only two years after Wenger became manager, in 1998;
  • Arsenal have never finished outside the top 4 in the past two decades;
  • In the 2003/04 season Arsenal won the title without losing a single game;
  • Arsenal won another double under Wenger in 2002;
  • The club reached the Champions League Final for the first time in history.

And that is just a fraction of his achievements. Should we mention the fact that he also brought financial stability?! Let’s not forget that he has a degree in economy and under his rule the club has been financially stable throughout the whole 20-year period, despite the fact that it isn’t owned by capricious multi-billionaires like Chelsea or Manchester City.

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A True Player Developer

Wenger has been able to discover and develop young talent like no other manager. Let us name just a few of the players that blossomed under his leadership:

  • Nicolas Anelka;
  • Cesc Fabregas;
  • Robin Van Persie;
  • Jack Wilshere;
  • Samir Nasri;
  • Patrick Vieira;
  • Yaya Toure;
  • Ashley Cole;

Wenger has truly made his mark not only on Arsenal, but on English football and football in general in the last 20 years and that is exactly why he is here to stay.

A Proper Gentleman

On top of being a great manager, Arsène has the attitude of a true gentleman. Always polite, well-behaved and thoughtful, that’s Wenger for you. No matter what someone says of him, he won’t stoop to their level. Pure class. It is a well-known and obvious fact that Mourinho can’t Wenger. The Portuguese has uttered mean things about Arsène on so many occasions. Wenger, on the other hand, refuses to do the same.

His Contribution Has Been Immeasurable

So far we’ve been talking about Wenger’s past achievements and his character. What about the future? – You may ask. The truth is that Arsenal wouldn’t have had even a perspective for a bright future if it wasn’t for Wenger. He made this club what it is today. Sure, the Gunners haven’t won a title in 12 years, but who knows if they would’ve won one in the past 20 if it wasn’t for Arsène?!

It would be more than shameful to sack him after all he has done. That is not how great clubs do business. Sacking a coach of 20 years is something suitable for club with no history, no principles and no values. And Arsenal isn’t such a club. Wenger will remain until he chooses to retire and that’s the way it should be. He could’ve joined another club, and he still can, but he simply loves Arsenal.

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Fortunately for those who are looking for a change of management, Wenger is already 66 and this is the last season under his current contract. It is likely that he will stay for few more seasons, if he wants to, but after that he’ll surely want to retire.

Would You Have Arsene Wenger For Another 20 Years?

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Obviously it’s hypothetical but answer me this, would you have Arsene Wenger for another 20 years?

Arsene Wenger has been at Arsenal for 20 years and marked his anniversary with a fantastic win over Chelsea. In a game where Arsenal were rampant for the first 45 minutes, Arsenal went into the break 3-0 up and it wasn’t the first time Arsenal have been irresistible for the first half of a match.

In recent seasons, we’ve swept aside Manchester City, Liverpool, Manchester United, Napoli and other big sides after starting the match right out of the blocks. And that kind of swashbuckling football is thanks to Arsene Wenger.

I could do into detail about the achievements but you already know them – the first double in 1998, the second in 2002, the Invincibles season in 2004, the FA Cups in between. The style of football he has produced at times has been the best in the country by far and although we’ve had some barren spells in terms of trophies, but that can be related to the expensive stadium move to The Emirates.

You will all have your opinions of Arsene – some of you think he needs to leave and his methods are outdated, others think he is the only man to move us forward considering everything he has done for the club.

But what do you think? Would you take another 20 years of Arsene Wenger (if it was possible?). Leave your comments below and cast your vote now!

Arsene Wenger Has A Lot To Answer For After Snubbing Cesc Fabregas

I was furious yesterday after news broke that Arsenal had opted out of re-signing Cesc Fabregas. It makes no sense whatsoever. We need to build a world class squad if we want to really compete in Europe and in the Premier League instead of being also-rans in both. Next season will see another fourth spot finish (if we’re lucky with United and Liverpool strengthening) and possibly a last 16 finish in the Champions League.

When we went the whole season unbeaten our midfield consisted of Patrick Vieira, Gilberto Silva, Edu, Ray Parlour, Robert Pires, Freddie Ljungberg and Jose Antonio Reyes.  We also had David Bentley coming through the ranks as well as a very young Cesc Fabregas, who would become more of a regular the season after.

In 2004 we had 7 really top midfielders, most of which you could consider world class – and three of them were World Cup winners. Arsene Wenger (seemingly knew) that we needed an extremely strong midfield to compete at the very top. 10 years later however, it’s a different story.

Currently our midfield consists of Aaron Ramsey, Jack Wilshere, Mikel Arteta, Mathieu Flamini, Tomas Rosicky, Santi Cazorla, Mesut Özil and er… Abou Diaby. Whereas in 2004 we had 7 really excellent midfielders, today we have probably three? Mesut Özil, Santi Cazorla and Aaron Ramsey are the only ones you could consider top drawer. Wilshere is injury prone, and Rosicky and Arteta are getting on a bit.

If you put the 2004 and 2014 midfields against each other there is absolutely no contest.

So not strengthening and bringing Cesc Fabregas back is criminal. How often is the signing of a world class midfielder handed to you on a plate? And for good measure, he actually wants to return to us!

I mean honestly, it is completely f*cked up.

Unless Arsene Wenger has a trick up his sleeve and has two world class players lined up to appease the fans, then I can’t see how Arsenal fans will forgive him for snubbing the chance to bring back one of Arsenal’s most popular and inspirational players.

One Question About The Whole Cesc Fabregas Affair

Most Arsenal fans are furious (myself included) about Arsene Wenger’s decision to “opt out” of re-signing Cesc Fabregas, a player who is world class, would improve ANY team in Europe and also has invaluable Premier League experience.

Not forgetting the fact that new players need time to settle at a new club – and with Cesc there would be no such problems. He could literally walk back into the club and continue where he left off.

You have some Arsenal supporters who are saying not signing Cesc is the right call – and most of these fans seem to be in the Arsene Knows Brigade. For those fans, my simple question is this:

If we didn’t want him back, then why the hell did we have a first refusal clause in the first place?