Arsene Wenger

1000 Games – Arsène Wenger’s Arsenal Milestone

Arsène Wenger was appointed in 1996 immediately after Premier League finishes of 10th, 4th, 12th and 5th positions. He brought in the stability (not seen since World War II) at the top four of the Premier League ever since he took over. It’s a big milestone to manage 1,000 competitive games with a single club and Wenger joins elite few comprising of Sir Matt Busby, Dario Gradi and Sir Alex Ferguson. At this juncture, let’s look at how he has built Arsenal castle with these 1000 bricks.

1. Season wise performance – Stable throughout

Season wise Win-Draw-Loss percentage of Arsene Wenger

Season wise Win-Draw-Loss percentage of Arsene Wenger

Apart from the initial season, he has managed a minimum of 50% wins every season and he has never lost more than 25% of games every season. The split up of wins, draws and losses along all seasons haven’t changed drastically. He has achieved a stable split over seasons.

2. Opponent wise analysis: High success rate against Small clubs, Low success rate against Big clubs

Teams Wenger has faced more are Manchester United (51 games), Chelsea (49 games), Liverpool (45 games) and Tottenham Hotspur (43 games). Taking teams whom he has faced more than 10 games:

  • He has never lost against Portsmouth (15 games – 10 wins, 5 draws) and Wolverhampton Wanderers (12 games – 11 wins, 1 draws)
  • He has lost almost half the matches against Manchester United (51 games – 16 wins, 11 draws, 24 losses). This is followed by Chelsea (35%), Liverpool (31%) and Manchester City (29%).
Arsene Wenger has lost almost half the matches against Manchester United

Arsene Wenger has lost almost half the matches against Manchester United

  • Top 5 win percentage against Wolverhampton Wanderers (92%), Wigan Athletic (75%), Charlton Athletic (75%), Derby County (75%) and West Bromwich Albion (74%)
  • Apart from Manchester United (31%), Chelsea (39%), Liverpool (40%) and Tottenham Hotspur (49%), he has managed to keep a win percentage of minimum 50%.

3. Opponent Manager wise analysis: High loss percentage against managers with strong personality

Managers whom he has played against most number of times are Sir Alex Ferguson (51 games – 16 wins, 11 draws, 24 losses), Harry Redknapp (32 games – 15 wins, 13 draws, 4 losses), David Moyes (27 games – 18 wins, 6 draws, 3 losses), Sam Allardyce (25 games – 13 wins, 7 draws, 5 losses) and Rafael Benitez (22 games – 9 wins, 6 draws, 7 losses). Considering managers whom he has faced more than 5 games,

Arsene Wenger has never won against Jose Mourinho

Arsene Wenger has never won against Jose Mourinho

  • Never lost against Kevin Keegan, Dave Jones, Glenn Hoddle, Steve Coppell, Mick McCarthy, Glenn Roeder, Ruud Gullit and Gary Megson.
  • Highest loss percentage against Jose Mourinho, Josep Guadiola, Carlo Ancelotti, Sir Alex Ferguson and Roberto Mancini
  • Among current Premier League managers, he has high win percentage against David Moyes (67%), Roberto Martinez (64%), Tony Pulis (62%), Brendan Rodgers (57%) and Mark Hughes (52%)

4. Competition wise analysis: FA Cup is Wenger’s strong battle ground

FA Cup is Arsene's strong battle ground

FA Cup is Arsene’s strong battle ground

In FA Community Shield, FA Cup and League Cup matches, Wenger has managed to keep a win percentage of more than 60%. When it came to meeting Europe’s elite clubs, Wenger hadn’t made a big impact since he has won just half the games in Champions League.

Arsene has won FA Cup 4 times

Arsene has won FA Cup 4 times

In the home games, he has won 69% of games whereas he has won just 46% of away games. In the neutral games, he has won 54% of games, but the loss percentage is also high at 42%.

5. Arsene Wenger (57.2%) has a higher win percentage than Sir Alex Ferguson (56.4%) in the first 1000 games with their respective clubs, but Arsene inherited a much better squad than Fergie.

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Premier League Analysis: Big Clubs have high Player Longevity

Attrition (Rate of employees leaving an organization) is always low at the bigger organizations and institutions. This fits the scenario for Football players in the Premier League Clubs too. The table here shows the average years spent in the same club by its top 11 appearance making players. Observations from this analysis are as follows:

Average Years Spent at Club by top 11 appearance making players (2013-14 season)
Average Years Spent at Club by top 11 appearance making players (2013-14 season)

1. Longer the players stick around, Better the team performs

Top 5 clubs in retaining their main (Starting XI) players (Manchester United, Chelsea, Everton, Arsenal and Liverpool) are placed in Top 7 in the league table. In fact, none of the top 10 teams in the top half of the league table are in the bottom 6 in this list. Reverse is also true: Big and successful clubs retain their main men.

2. David Moyes didn’t stamp his mark in the club yet (whereas his peers did at their respective clubs)

Manchester United, Chelsea and Everton are the clubs with high average player longevity. All these clubs had a managerial change this season too. None of the players signed by David Moyes played regularly enough whereas Jose Mourinho had Willian break into the starting XI and Martinez had Barry, McCarthy and Lukaku break into the starting XI. Considering the recent 5 players from the main squad, the average time spent in the club is still very high for United at 3.4 years whereas for Chelsea and Everton its just 1.8 years. Hence, Chelsea and Everton are fresh teams with very old stalwarts supporting them whereas Manchester United is only a old team which needs fresh faces.

Top 11 appearance making players in United, Chelsea and Everton
Top 11 appearance making players in United, Chelsea and Everton

3. Arsenal is neither a young team nor a fresh new team anymore

Arsenal’s main XI has been sticking together for a long time too. Szczesny, Sagna, Gibbs, Ramsey and Wilshere have been in the club for around 6 years or more. And the average age of the club is also at 26.5 which is higher than 8 other clubs (notable among them where Liverpool and Tottenham). Arsene Wenger can’t use that as an excuse for not winning anymore, but on the same hand Jose Mourinho is wrong in saying his side is young as well. Chelsea main XI’s average age is 27.5 which is lesser than only 6 other clubs. Both Arsenal and Chelsea have a well balanced side with young, old, new and experienced players.

Arsenal Main XI Average Years Spent at club
Arsenal Main XI Average Years Spent at club

4. Longer a club stays in the league, more the club retains its players

There are 7 clubs (Manchester United, Chelsea, Everton, Arsenal, Liverpool, Aston Villa and Tottenham) which have never been relegated in Premier League and 6 of them have the main XI stick together for more years than the other league clubs. The clubs which are recently promoted are the ones to have more new players playing for the team and they are clubs which are predominantly in the bottom half of the table.

PL Clubs - Player Longevity and Current Spell
PL Clubs – Player Longevity and Current Spell

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100 Jose Mourinho’s Premier League wins – An analysis

Jose Mourinho became the 15th Premier League manager to record 100 Premier League wins with 3-1 win against Manchester United. He is the first manager who has managed Chelsea to have achieved this feet. Sir Alex Ferguson, Arsene Wenger, Rafael Benitez and Jose Mourinho are the only Fantastic Four to hold this record by managing a single club in Premier League.

Managers with 100 Premier League wins

Managers with 100 Premier League wins

Trying to analyze these 100 wins, the following intriguing observations have been noticed:

1. Saturday is better than Sunday: Mourinho has had 78% wins and 8% losses in Saturday league games whereas he has had just 55% wins and 13% losses in Sunday league games. This is predominantly due to scheduling of tough and interesting fixtures on Sundays.

2. Stamford Bridge is Fortress: His formidable unbeaten home league game record of 71 matches is widely known. He has 79% wins and no losses at home whereas has 62% wins and 18% losses away from home.

3. One-Goal-More is enough for a Win: 31% of Jose’s league matches were won by 1 goal difference. He has drawn One out of every Five games.

League Games split by Goal Difference

League Games split by Goal Difference

4. Avoiding Defeat against Big Teams is his style: Against Arsenal, Liverpool, Manchester City and Manchester United he has lost only 3 out of 30 matches. He has 56% wins and 33% draws against these four teams in the League.

5. Defense is his Forte: His teams have kept clean sheets in 54% of the league matches. His teams have conceded more than 2 goals only in 3 occasions. The only 3 clubs to scored 3 goals against his teams are Sunderland, Middlesbrough and Stoke City.

6. Jose Mourinho is the master of 1-0 victories: One out of every Five games, Jose has won by 1-0. One out of every Three games, he has won by either 1-0 or 2-0.

7. Stoke City is so far Special: There are 29 teams that he has played in Premier League so far. Stoke City is the only team he hasn’t won so far in league. Only Newcastle United and Middlesbrough have won two league matches against him. Against 12 teams, he has 100% win percentage.

Jose Mourinho 100 Premier League wins Club-by-Club

Jose Mourinho 100 Premier League wins Club-by-Club

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Current Arsene Wenger versus Past Sir Alex Ferguson

Current Arsene Wenger versus Past Sir Alex Ferguson

Current Arsene Wenger versus Past Sir Alex Ferguson

Manchester united under Sir Alex Ferguson have never scored more than 31 points in first 13 Barclays Premier League games in the last 6 seasons. Do you think Arsenal would still be number one if SAF still manages United this season?


The real boss

The world sees Chelsea FC as a Football Club, whereas the owner Roman Abramovich sees Chelsea FC as his new costly toy. In particular, the managers of Chelsea FC. When he gets bored of a manager, he throws him out. Almost everyone who follows Football knows this by now. As a fan of Chelsea FC, I see Manchester United, Arsenal, and Everton with envy. How it works for these clubs to have a consistent manager even though the managers of these clubs don’t add trophy to the club every year? Manchester United and Sir Alex Ferguson are almost synonymous. But to create such a legacy is not what Chelsea needs now. A stint of three reasonable years isn’t asking for much. Also the fans of Chelsea FC needs to understand that even Fergie was very close under the axe four years into his tenure. Had they not won the FA cup third round against Nottingham Forest, thanks to the goal from Mark Robins, their history over the past 22 years would have been altogether different for Manchester United. And Manchester United finished thirteenth that season (1989-90). It took a long seven years for even the mighty Fergie to win the league title. Persistence with the same manager is the key to set up a world class football club. Injecting the cash from oil well into the club might win trophies in the short term but it is not a sustainable mechanism.

Arsene Wenger’s story is more than just a case of Football Management. He is one manager who earns profits to the management rather than spending millions freely. Not many football coaches will be ready to carry the financial debt stress due to building a stadium on his shoulders. After their Emirates stadium project, the period saw very less but futuristic signings from the `professor` which helped Arsenal to post a 56 million pounds profit before tax during the year 2010-11. Though this resulted in Arsenal not being in a position to compete for the league title, they always qualified for the Champions League. Support from the board and the fans are crucial as winning trophies alone does not define the success of a club. Sustainable presence, pride and growth does.

Everton’s manager David Moyes is another commendable manager who has had a tenure of more than ten years now with the club. Before he took charge of the club, the club hasn’t finished in the top 10 of the league table for six years. And after he took over, the club has finished below top 10 only in 3 of the 10 years. They qualified for UEFA champions league once and qualified for UEFA cup thrice. A manager with a record of just over 40% wins has made a statement on sustainable presence and development in the premier league. This is not possible without the support of the owner and the fans. 

It is very much a possibility of building a club by dropping into the mid table in the early years. The owner just needs some patience to give the manager a minimum of three year spell to form a stable squad when the dressing room is so powerful with experienced players. These experienced players are stuck in some system they have followed over years. In my honorable opinion, Andre Villas Boas is not a manager who should have been sacked but who should have been given full support. Had the owner supported the manager instead of the aging players, he would have turned the club’s fortune in two or three years. Finally, I envy Inter for the support shown by Moratti on Ranieri even after the Champions League exit. I am hoping that the mentality of Roman and the Chelsea fans change.