The Wenger Era

On 1st October 2014 by Kieran

Wenger will look to (hopefully) celebrate his 18th year in charge of Arsenal with a victory at home to Galatasaray.

Over his 18 year stretch at Arsenal Wenger has seen 186 Premier League managers come and go. His reign as manager has seen him win 3 Premier League titles, 5 FA Cup’s two of which were doubles as well as 5 Community Shields.

Wenger’s been through his fair shares of highs and lows at the club, with the longest being the 9 year trophy-less misery that Arsenal players and fans had been put through.  Wenger has brought a significant amount of change to Arsenal and here are just some of them:

The double… Of doubles:

Within his first year, Arsene had already made his dominant mark at the club with Arsenal making history. After and inconsistent start to the year, Arsenal managed to pull their performances around, winning the 1997/98 title. Their first title in 7 years. Just a fortnight later Arsenal bagged themselves another trophy for the collection. The Arsenal side were too strong for Newcastle with  Pistone giving Arsenal the lead in the first half and Anelka sealing the deal in the second. This was only Arsenal’s 7th FA Cup.

2001/2002 saw Arsenal securing their third double, Wenger’s second. Having scored in every single league game, Arsenal secured the then called “Premiership” with football that had left other teams astounded. Arsenal had secured the FA Cup before the league with a 2-0 victory over Chelsea at the Millennium Stadium. Just 4 days later Arsenal found themselves at Old Trafford, with only a point needed to clinch the title, without key men Thierry Henry, Dennis Bergkamp and Robert Pires. But Wiltord was the key figure for Arsenal, slotting home a save from Barthez to secure Arsenal the league. This was Wenger’s second double (Arsenal’s third) which he obtained in just his 5th season at the club. Remarkable.

Goodbye Highbury, Hello Emirates Stadium:

Having spent 93 years at Highbury, Arsenal moved to their state-of-the-art new 60,000 seat stadium overseen by Wenger himself. Whilst helping design and budget for the stadium during it’s building stages Arsene reportedly turned down management offers from both PSG and Real Madrid, showing his true loyalty to Arsenal. Having paid off all money owed for the Emirates Stadium Wenger has overseen the completion of both building and budget and is now looking to bring world-class players to the club with the net profit now being made due to the stadium.

The Invincibles:

In the 2003–2004 season Arsenal finished unbeaten through the season whilst taking the Premier League title becoming the second team to do so since Preston in the 19th century. That season was a season of legends for Arsenal, with names such as Thierry Henry, Robert Pires, Dennis Bergkamp and Freddie Ljungberg featuring heavily throughout the season. Their form in the league carried over into the next season with Arsenal matching Nottingham Forest’s 42 league match unbeaten run in a thrilling 5-3 victory. Wenger’s success carried on with him making the record books as manager of the ‘Invincibles’ who went 49 league games unbeaten. A record that is yet to be beaten.

The Champions League Final:

Wenger took Arsenal to the  2006 Champions League final in Paris. Having gone 1-0 up from a Sol Campbell header the hopes of winning the European title had been raised. But with only 10 men on the field the hopes of winning the title came crashing to the ground. With only 13 minutes remaining Barcelona equalised through Eto’o and only 4 minutes later found the title out of their grasp with Juliano Belletti  slotting home a winner past Manuel Almunia. Although an absolute misery for Arsenal fans, Wenger’s achievement of reaching the Champions League final is still a memorable one.

The Quality of Football:

Arsenal used to play some blatantly boring football. Since the arrival of Wenger they had soon became true entertainers. Scoring world-class goals, along with quick, precise passing saw Arsenal change totally as a club. Wenger brought in many foreign players to the club which were of high quality within his early stages at the club. But since then Arsene has now began to grow faith in homegrown players and developed many into the first team. Behind the scenes Arsene threw out the old and brought in the new, with all new dieting plans and training ideas. His vigorous training methods helping towards the new found play-style introduced to the club.

Nobody knows how certain the future at Arsenal is for Wenger, but in his time served so far Wenger has brought a lot more to the club than just trophies his tactics, ideas and creations are just some features he has brought  to the future of the club and may quite possibly be regarded as one of Arsenal’s legendary managers in the future, no matter what his fate may be.

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