Bon Anniversaire Arsene Wenger (several days late…)

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This has been in my drafts folder for ages. It was originally meant to be posted for Wenger’s 13th anniversary at Arsenal a few weeks ago. It was then meant to be put up on his birthday last week. As you can see neither happened but better late than never. It was Wenger’s 60th birthday and what better reason for a few lists? 15 great signings, 15 poor signings, 15 memorable games and 15 great goals (plus a few extra chucked in). Enjoy!

arsene-wenger-1996

Arsene Who?

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15 Great Signings:

1. Patrick VieiraA relatively unknown player before he joined from AC Milan, Wenger got Arsenal to sign him before he joined himself. A decade of midfield dominance, spats with Roy Keane and the Neviller and countless trophies followed. Managed to get £14 million from Juve once his knees were knackered too.

2. Thierry Henry369 games, 226 goals. Best player in the Premier League for about five years.

3. Freddie LjungbergHis red hair, his run of form in the 2001/02 season after Pires got injured, his debut goal against Man Utd, those underwear ads. A great player until his hip injury.

ljungberg-red-hair

It gave him his power.

4. Nicolas AnelkaHe left on bad terms but the money received bought Henry and Pires. The first example of Wenger buying cheap and making ridiculous profit. £22.5million profit in this case.

5. Marc Overmars - He was almost too good for Arsenal while he was there and it was no surprise to see Barcelona snap him up for £25million. Scored the winner at Old Trafford in 1998 that helped overcome a 12 point deficit and was generally very, very quick.

6. Robert PiresHis form in 2001/02 earnt him Footballer of the Year honours and he was arguably just as good in 2003/04. Scored a silly amount of goals from the wing, ran oddly, had a cool goatee strip thing  and apparently knew the French for va va voom. Always felt he left too early as Wenger wouldn’t give him a two year deal. Still doing the business at Villarreal.

7. Cesc FabregasPinched from Barcelona, and will probably head back there one day but for now has developed into one of the best midfielders in the world. Perhaps the prime example of Wenger buying a young player and making him world class. Club captain at 22, the best is yet to come.

8. Andrey ArshavinProbably the first current world class player Wenger has bought. Has already made a significant impact in his short time at the Emirates, even if he can be a right lazy bugger sometimes.

9. Jens LehmannHe was immense in 2005/06 when battling to be ahead of Kahn for Germany. Also provided much hilarity as well as the odd moment of madness in his five years at the club.

10. Emmanuel Petit‘He’s blond, he’s quick, his name’s a porno flick. Emmanuel, Emmanuel.’ Had one of the funnier chants of recent times. Signed as a centre back, made a midfielder – he formed a fearsome partnership with Patrick Vieira for three short seasons.

11. Sol Campbell - You can’t beat signing your local rival’s captain on a free transfer.

12. LaurenHard. As. Nails. An ice cool penalty taker too.

13. Kolo Toure - Bought for £150K. Sold after seven years for £16million. Was fantastic at centre back until he got malaria and developed a fat arse.

14. KanuRidiculous skills. Could do things with a ball you never thought possible.

15. Robin van PersieAbsolutely loves to blast it. As a result has scored some brilliant goals in his time at Arsenal.

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15 Not So Great Signings:

1. Alberto MendezBought from the mighty FC Feucht. I remember reading Wenger could have bought the whole club for the £250K he paid for Mendez. Made no impact.

2. Nelson VivasCost Arsenal the title in 1999 with his mistake for Hasselbaink’s  winner vs Leeds late on in the season. Always got booked too.

3. Igors StepanovsMan Utd 6-1 Arsenal is all you need to know.

4. Francis JeffersThe supposed fox in the box managed four league goals from 2001-04, a time when Arsenal scored by the bucketload. It would have helped if he’d played more than 22 times. £8million he cost!

5. Pascal CyganWasn’t that bad but I remember how I used to shudder every time I saw his name on the team sheet. If you though Vidic had a slow turning circle…

6. Mickael SilvestreWhy? What purpose does he serve? He won’t even get a link.

silvestre

Just retire already...

7. Tomas DanileviciusA headbutt in a pre-season seems to ring a bell but that might have been after he left for Dunfermline. Played twice, didn’t score. The kind of random Wenger gamble where you wish we’d just saved the £1m.

8. Jeremie Aliadiere - Still only 26, he pissed about at Arsenal for eight long years, never learning from any of the amazing strikers at the club and scoring one league goal in his time. You always knew Wenger was basically giving away a game when Aliadiere started up front.

9. Jose ReyesA bit dim, which meant he was the victim of many a prank. Involved in the Aragones ‘black shit’ saga too which meant his Arsenal career was over before it began given that Henry hated him. Scored a great debut goal against Chelsea though.

10. Amaury BischoffNormally Arsenal sign midfielders and then injure them. They tried the opposite and bought someone already injured. Needless to say he left after a year. He did play a game apparently.

11. Christopher WrehGeorge Weah’s cousin. The family talent had obviously been diluted. Did score a couple of important goals in the 1997/98 season to be fair.

12. Kaba DiawaraAll I remember was that he never scored, hit the post several times and was then still sold back to France for half a million profit.

13. Richard WrightBig ears, crap goalkeeper.

14. Abou DiabyThere has to be someone current. Possibly the most frustrating player I’ve seen. could be excellent. Isn’t.

15. Rami ShaabanJust where does he find these keepers from?!

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15 Memorable Games (not all good):

1. Arsenal 1-2 Man Utd 14/04/99The one with everything, but especially the Arsenal missed penalty that would give Man Utd the momentum for the treble.

giggs-fa-cup-arsenal

A good but overrated goal. Also, I didn't want to inflict the Giggs rug on you.

2. Man Utd 0-0 Arsenal 21/09/03 - The one where Ruud missed a penalty and Arsenal started their 49 game unbeaten run.

keown-van-nistelrooy

Rarrrrr.

3. Barcelona 2-1 Arsenal 17/05/06The one where they were 14 minutes from being Champions of Europe.

4. Arsenal 2-1 Leicester 15/05/04The one where they went the season undefeated.

5. Real Madrid 0-1 Arsenal 21/02/06The one were they beat Real Madrid on their own patch.

6. Liverpool 4-2 Arsenal 08/04/08The one where they were robbed in the Champions League.

7. Arsenal 1-2 Chelsea 06/04/04The one where they dominated three of the four halves but still got knocked out.

8. Arsenal 2-0 Chelsea 04/05/02The one where they won their second double in four years.

9. Man Utd 0-1 Arsenal 08/05/02The one where they won the league in Manchester.

10. Inter 1-5 Arsenal 25/11/03The one where they produced the most unexpected scoreline I’d seen in years.

11. Leicester 3-3 Arsenal 27/08/97The one with the Bergkamp hat-trick.

12. Tottenham 4-5 Arsenal 13/11/04The one where we’ll score one more than you.

13. Arsenal 1-2 Liverpool 12/05/01 - The one where Michael Owen stole the FA Cup.

14. Arsenal 7-0 Everton 11/05/05 – The one with the biggest league win under Wenger.

15. Arsenal 0-0 Man Utd 21/05/05 – The one where Arsenal stole the FA Cup.

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15 Memorable Goals (in no particular order):

1. Thierry Henry vs Man Utd 30/09/00. Probably the first classic Henry Arsenal goal. He was just on the cusp of dominating the Premier League when he scored this.

2. Tony Adams vs Everton 03/05/98. Conclusive proof that Arsenal had shed their boring tag. Steve Bould chipped, yes chipped a through ball to Tony Adams who chested it before smashing a left foot volley home. The goal that sealed Wenger’s first title.

3. Dennis Bergkamp vs Newcastle 02/03/02. I remember people at the time saying he didn’t mean this. Fools.

4. Robert Pires vs Southampton 07/05/03. I think this gets underrated as it was a meaningless game before the 2003 Cup Final but few players could have done such a lob with three touches let alone one.

5. Ray Parlour vs Chelsea 04/05/02. Romford Pele scored few but when he did they were usually special. Tim Lovejoy gets slated to this day for saying ‘Oh, it’s only Ray Parlour’ just before he scored.

6. Dennis Bergkamp vs Sunderland 15/01/97. The non-flying Dutchman scored many an amazing goal for Arsenal but his trademark was opening up his body and curling one round the keeper into the top corner from about 25 yards. Like this.

7. Robert Pires vs Aston Villa 17/03/02. Any goal that makes Peter Schmeichel look silly gets the thumbs up from me. Pires was quite possibly the best player in Europe in the spring of 2002.

8. Freddie Ljungberg vs Juventus 04/12/01. I remember being at work during this match and trying to check my phone for text updates. Little did I know what a special goal I’d see when I got home. Just watch Bergkamp’s skill again and again and again…

9. Eduardo vs Burnley 08/03/09. Out for a year and he comes back with this. Quite recent but no less special for it.

10. Thierry Henry vs Spurs 16/11/02. Hmm how to wind up your rivals? I know, run 75 yards, dribbling past half the team before scoring, and then run all the way back and celebrate in front of the Spurs fans. Nice.

11. Dennis Bergkamp vs Leicester 27/08/97. One third of the greatest hat-trick in Premier League history.

12. Robin Van Persie vs Charlton 30/09/06. Trust me, he didn’t shin it. Well not on purpose anyway.

13. Ray Parlour vs Valencia 04/04/01. Back when Valencia and John Carew used to screw Arsenal over every couple of years there were many a disappointing night in Europe. This special from Ray Parlour however resulted in one of the most mental celebrations I’ve ever witnessed in pub.

14. Emmanuel Adebayor vs Villarreal 07/04/09. Yes he’s a prick but there’s no denying this was a great goal. The last good thing he did in an Arsenal shirt.

15. Thierry Henry vs Liverpool 09/04/04. Dumped out of the FA Cup and Champions League in consecutive games to Man Utd and Chelsea of all teams, Arsenal were 2-1 down at half-time at home to Liverpool with an unbeaten record to protect. Pires quickly equalised, before Henry gave Carragher the runaround for an amazing third. He’d complete his hat-trick later on and Arsenal went on to win the league unbeaten.

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Want a few more? Ok then. Pires vs Liverpool, Henry vs Inter, Fabregas vs Spurs, Henry vs Real MadridKanu vs Chelsea & Henry vs Charlton.

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T.

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5 Responses to “Bon Anniversaire Arsene Wenger (several days late…)”

  1. Tim Says:

    Probably the best encapsulation of Wenger’s tenure at Arsenal that I have read.

    Thanks for doing this!

    • thesportboys Says:

      Ah no problem, glad you liked it. It was fun to do the research/watch the clips, I just wish youtube wasn’t dominated by Fifa/Pro Evo goals instead of the real thing – would have been much quicker!

  2. Arsenal v. Liverpool, Kids Love the Milk Cup « 7amkickoff Says:

    […] passed a lot of milestones these last few weeks (Sportsboys has an awesome breakdown of Wenger’s tenure) and so why not throw one more on to the pile: today will be his 750th match in charge. We all know […]

  3. Football Guy Says:

    There a few to many defeats in the “memorable games” section for my liking.

    But other than that good work!

  4. Sportboy P Says:

    Bergkamp versus Juventus. Forgot how awesome that was.
    Well done on what is undoubtedly the best Sportboys post. Must have taken ages!

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