How good was Arsene Wenger?

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How good was Arsene Wenger? One would think that a haul of 21 major trophies across four different clubs would render such a question unnecessary, but in football, there are always skeptics. And as such, we have endeavored to break down the managerial career of the man dubbed “Le Professeur” by football fans and media.

Arsene Wenger, Nicknamed “Le Professeur” for his studious demeanor. Image Credits: Life Beyond Sport.
Arsene Wenger, Nicknamed “Le Professeur” for his studious demeanor. Image Credits: Life Beyond Sport.
Arsene Wenger looking studious pitchside. (Image Credits: Getty Images)

How good was Arsene Wenger’s early managerial career.

Arsene Wenger’s first job as a manager was in charge of French Ligue 1 side Nancy. He guided a sub-standard Nancy squad to a 12th place finish in his first season at the club. An 18th position finish in his second season at the club put their league status at risk, but he ensured that they avoided relegation by winning the playoff games against Mulhouse. However, Wenger could not keep Nancy up in the 1986-87 season, his final season at the club; he wasn’t given financial backing, and Nancy also sold most of their best players. A 19th position finish meant relegation to Ligue 2 and the end of Wenger’s stint at the club by mutual consent.

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Arsene Wenger shows how good he is during his early managerial years.

Arsene Wenger’s first job as a manager was in charge of French Ligue 1 side Nancy. He guided a sub-standard Nancy squad to a 12th place finish in his first season at the club. An 18th position finish in his second season at the club put their league status at risk, but he ensured that they avoided relegation by winning the playoff games against Mulhouse. However, Wenger could not keep Nancy up in the 1986-87 season, his final season at the club; he wasn’t given financial backing, and Nancy also sold most of their best players. A 19th position finish meant relegation to Ligue 2 and the end of Wenger’s stint at the club by mutual consent.

Arsene Wenger led Monaco to the French League championship in his debut season, finishing six points ahead of runners-up Bordeaux. His honors at the club also included a Coupe de France win and a European Cup Winners’ Cup.

Arsene Wenger at Monaco. Image Source: GetFootballNewsFrance

Following his dismissal by Monaco in 1994, Wenger took charge of the Japanese club Nagoya Grampus. He won the Emperor’s Cup and the Japanese Super Cup with the club, a club that had finished bottom of the J League the season before his arrival.

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The glory years at Arsenal.

In 1997/98, Arsene Wenger led Arsenal to a Premier League and FA Cup double in his first full season at the club, winning the league with two games left to play. He led the club to another double in the 2001/02 season, finishing ahead of Manchester United in the League and beating Chelsea in the FA Cup final. The following season, the league title eluded him, but Arsenal still won silverware with an FA Cup triumph.

Arsene Wenger with the Premier League FA Cup double. (Image Credit: REX/Shutterstock)

Arsene Wenger’s Magnum Opus came in the 2003/04 season. He led Arsenal through an unbeaten campaign, winning the league title without defeat. They were the “Invincibles.” The unbeaten run extended into the following season. They had played 49 games, won 36 of them, drawn 13, and lost none. The invincible season would, however, be Arsenal’s last league title to date.

Arsene Wenger lifts his gift of a gold replica of the 2003/04 Premier League trophy awarded for going unbeaten for a full league season at the Emirates in May 2018 as he prepared to step down as manager. (Image: IAN KINGTON/AFP/Getty Images)

The professor still had a knack for winning silverware and led Arsenal to four more FA Cup triumphs in 2004/05, 2013/14, 2014/15, and 2016/17. During his time at the club, he also won the EFL Community Shield seven Times.

A single blemish on his resume.

Under Arsene Wenger, Arsenal took part in 19 consecutive UEFA Champions League campaigns from 1998/99 to 2016/17. Only Real Madrid at 21 has a better record. The glory of lifting the Champions League trophy is the one thing that has eluded the French manager.

Nonetheless, Arsene Wenger had a very distinguished managerial career that can only be rivaled by a handful of his peers.

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