Wednesday, December 1, 2021

Arsene Wenger at 1000 in stats and quotes

It’s Arsene’s 1000th competitive game tomorrow, so here’s a look back at that time in stats (provided, as usual, by @7amkickoff), and some of the boss’s best quotes.


The two halves of Arsene Wenger’s Arsenal

497 – Game number in which Arsene Wenger last won a trophy at Arsenal (FA Cup 2005)

502 – Games Arsene Wenger has managed since he last won a trophy

Using figures from¹, Wenger has only spent £61.66m on player transfers in his 18 year career at Arsenal. However, that number is hugely front-loaded with his total spend in the first 9 years coming in at £55.5m and his spend for the last 9 years at just £6.16m. Wenger was actually in the black for the last nine years until he stumped up £40m to land Mesut Özil this summer. £33m in the black.

In contrast, during the same 18 years, Sir Alex Ferguson spent £377.5m a figure which was pretty evenly split between the first half (£166.7m) and the second half (£210.8m) of Wenger’s reign. Liverpool have a similar number (£333m) as does Tottenham (£275.7m). Still, each of those clubs has outspent Arsene Wenger by at least a factor of 4 to 1. For every £1m Wenger has spent in the last 18 years Spurs and Liverpool have spent at least £4m to finish consistently behind him.

It will be no surprise to learn that the team who have most outspent Arsene Wenger is Chelsea; according to Transfermarkt they have spent £787m on transfers during Arsene Wenger’s tenure. And their numbers are pretty evenly split among the first (£385m) and second (£402m) halves of Wenger’s reign. Wenger has been outspent by Chelsea at a £7/1 (millions) ratio in the first half of his Arsenal career and a £67/1 (millions) ratio in this second half.

Manchester City’s spending spree didn’t start until 2008. But since then they have spent like a teenager trying to play “catch-up” with his drunk friends at a party. £555m in the transfer market since 2008. Effectively, Manchester City has spent nearly £100 to 1 (millions) that Arsenal have spent in Wenger’s last 9 years.

In the second half of his tenure at Arsenal, Arsene Wenger spent just £6.16m in transfers and did so while his competitors (Chelsea, City, United, Liverpool, and Tottenham) have combined to spend £1.52 billion. That’s £252m for every million pounds Arsene Wenger spent in the market.



And lest you think that these teams give a jot about Financial Fair Play or that it has played any part in their transfer dealings, Arsenal have spent £19m in the last three years while Chelsea have spent £191.4, City £164.8, United £158.5, and Liverpool £110m.

You can sort of understand the touch of venom in his voice when he says: “I went for a challenge that I knew would be difficult because we had to fight with clubs who lose £150 million per year and we had to make £30 million. On top of that we had to stand up with people telling us we had to beat them.”

The difference in spend has made a difference in team performance as Arsenal fans are well aware. Points are often the measure of how strong a team is but it is possible for a team to win the League and not really be the best team and for the best team to lose the League, we all know that as fans.

Instead of points, another way to measure a team’s relative strength is in goal difference (WARNING: serious stats). The team with the best goal difference has won all but 3 of the last 17 League titles during Wenger’s tenure — one was in 2008/2009 when Rafa Benitez let the title slip from his grasp, the other was in 2002/2003 when Arsenal fell away to Leeds United (the thought of Mark Veruca still gives me shivers), and the third was when the Tony Adams captained Arsenal side won the League in 1997/1998 despite being 12 goals worse off than Man U.

In Arsene’s first 9 seasons, Arsenal had three seasons where they had the best goal difference in the land (01/02, 02/03, and 03/04) and one season (98/99) where they were just 1 goal off the top team. In 2004/05 Arsenal began to slip away a bit and they were -6 goals off the eventual winners, Chelsea. The strength of that 01-05 team was such that Arsenal won two League trophies and three FA Cups. They also won the Community Shield twice in that period.

In the first half of Wenger’s tenure at Arsenal, his teams averaged just -10 GD off the eventual winners (two seasons of -22 and -23 are dragging the average way down) but in the last 9 seasons that number has doubled to -20. In fact, the closest Arsenal have been in term of goal difference was last season when the Gunners finished just -8 off Man U.

But the rules have changed dramatically in the last 9 years. In the first 8 full seasons of Wenger’s tenure at Arsenal, the team with the best goal difference topped +50 just twice. In the 8 years since, it has happened 6 times and two teams have gone +64 (Man City) and +71 (Chelsea) in a season.

The number of wins and losses is yet another measure of the strength of Wenger’s squad. In the first half of his tenure he never once had fewer than 20 wins in a season and maintained above 22 wins in all but one season. In the last 9 years Arsene has only pushed his team on to more than 22 wins twice, 07/08 (24) and 09/10 (23).

This season, Arsenal’s goal difference is only +25 and Man City have the best goal difference in the League with a +44. It’s no wonder, then, that everyone is tipping City to win the League. Wenger is also already on 19 wins with 9 games left in the season, and considering the opposition, my money is solidly on at least getting close to the 24 wins mark. Wenger could pull that off despite having one of his lowest scoring teams in his entire tenure. In his 1000 games for Arsenal he’s averaged 1.85 goals per game and in League games he’s averaged 1.89 goals per game. This season in Premier League play Arsenal are scoring just 1.82 goals per game.

But the League leaders right now are Chelsea and they have just four points, a +8 goal difference over Arsenal, and the Gunners have a game in hand. What better way to celebrate Wenger’s 1000th game in charge than to close all those gaps and hand the Special Onesie his first ever League home defeat at Stamford Bridge?

Two-nil to the Arsenal anyone?

¹Transfermarkt is often criticized for lack of perfectly accurate transfer numbers. For example, they list Reyes’ transfer at £17.6m which is the number that Arsenal would have paid had they forked out all of his bonuses. However, actual transfer costs are almost always hidden and while some sites like to claim they have accurate numbers I have no problem using transfermarkt because I find them to be relatively accurate.


“I realised when I joined Arsenal that the back four were all university graduates in the art of defending and Tony Adams was the doctor of defence.”

Arsene Wenger reflects on the brilliance of the famous back five.

“I tried to watch the Tottenham match on television in my hotel yesterday, but I fell asleep.”

Arsene on our less than entertaining North London neighbours.

“If you eat caviar every day it’s difficult to return to sausages.”

Arsene Wenger reflects on Arsenal fans booing a 1-1 draw with Middlesbrough in November 1998.

“We live a society where everybody knows everything and it looks like it is a shame to say I don’t know.”

Arsene Wenger hits out at the constant sniping in the media.

“We didn’t think he would play on Sunday because he was suspended – that makes me think he has all the qualities to join Arsenal.”

Arsene Wenger talks the arrival of signing Jose Antonio Reyes from Sevilla.

“I think in England you eat too much sugar and meat and not enough vegetables.”

Arsene makes clear what he thinks of Les Rosbifs’ diet.

“A football team is like a beautiful woman. When you do not tell her, she forgets she is beautiful.”

Arsene channels his inner Swiss Tony.

“Everyone thinks they have the prettiest wife at home.”

Arsene Wenger responds to Sir Alex Ferguson’s 2002 claim that Manchester United had been the best side in the Premier League since Christmas that season.

“We do not buy superstars. We make them.”

An Arsene maxim to live and die by.

“What I don’t understand is that he does what he wants and you are all at his feet.”

Arsene takes a swipe at the Fergie fawning of Fleet Street’s finest.

“To remain unbeaten in a championship like the English championship now is really unbelievable. I want to win the Champions’ League but, really, this is more important. It is something amazing, something special. How can you do it?”

Even Arsene Wenger struggled to comprehend how his side avoided defeat for 38 games in 2003/04.

“Sometimes I see it [a foul by an Arsenal player], but I say that I didn’t see it to protect the players and because I could not find any rational explanation for what they did.”

Arsene reveals that sometimes he does see what he says he didn’t.

“He can only cheat.”

Arsene on Van Nistelrooy.

“It looks like you are burned in the village quicker now than before. And the fire is always raging.”

Arsene Wenger reacts to the cutthroat nature of managing at the highest level.

“I don’t kick dressing room doors or the cat or even football journalists.”

Although sometimes you suspect Arsene wouldn’t mind a go at the latter.

“If I go into a season and I say, ‘For fuck’s sake, if we don’t win anything, they will all leave,’ I have already lost. The problem of the media is always to imagine the worst. The problem of the manager is always to imagine the best.”

Arsene Wenger – Ever the optimist, despite the doom and gloom of the last six years.

“When I arrive at the gates of Heaven the Good Lord will ask ‘what did you do in your life?’ I will respond ‘I tried to win football matches.’ He will say: ‘Are you certain that’s all?’ But, well, that’s the story of my life.”

An ageing Wenger turns his mind to more pressing conversations ahead.

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Arteta's hair

Seriously, beating Chelsea tomorrow would be so sweet in so many ways.


but in contrast losing it would be so painful in so many ways… we gotta win this! #COYG

FReezin gooner

How come it says AW has only spent £61.66m on player transfers in his 18 year career at Arsenal, and his spend for the last 9 years at just £6.16m. When ozil alone was £42.5m last year, dont understand someone pls explain this figures to me. Need to clear my head b4 we sunk chelsea today.


I think those are net numbers. Look for blog’s post on Arsene’s bargain XI. We have made a tidy profit on a lot of our players, and that offset a lot of the cost.

FReezin gooner

Thanks for the reply phelan, way better than giving me a thumbdown, that was one post I failed to read 2days ago for no fuckin real reason, it’ll never happen again, read every post and you’ll never be found wanting when it comes to arsenal facts and figures, Now unto da next one, chelseas ass kicking.


From the official site: ‘I had six great years at Arsenal under Arsène’s management. It was nice to have him as a coach and learn the way he think about football in all aspects. His knowledge is fantastic and the way he work with the players and for the club is something special. He works 24 hours a day looking after the growth of the club and development of the players, and has participated in the new Arsenal stadium development and helped many big players at the club. I feel happy for him that he is reaching his 1,000 games… Read more »

FReezin gooner

How can anyone thumb this down, are u sure we don’t have chelsea fans here…… Pls we dnt need u.


What we have in Arsene is something so rare in football: a civilised, cultured and educated gentleman. It seems like everyone in the ‘meedya’ and the new breed of Facebook football fans want managers to act like spoiled, petulant children (cough, Mourinho, cough, Ferguson, cough, Redknapp, cough) and yet surely if there were any sense in the world then Monsieur Wenger would be the lauded as the man everyone should look up to? I knew he had had to put up with a lot with the rise of clubs prostituting themselves to sugar daddies, but seeing the numbers in print… Read more »


I found this gem of a quote reportedly said by Wenger during his speech when receiving the 1000th game award. It really does not need any explaining:

“I’ve shown loyalty and turned many things down and agreed to work with restricted potential. I could rate what I had at this club.”


Wow, I’m not sure there is a fan among us who hasn’t lost a degree of patience with Arsene over the last nearly two decades. But those transfer stats are just incredible and really highlights how incredible it is to even be in the mill with these rediculous spending leviathans that we stay abreast with for the majority of time. It’s literally like a tank with amesome homing devices and lasers and stuff fighting a fat guy in underpants. Mind you if that man was Flamini, my money would be on him. I’m in my mid twenties so don’t know… Read more »


talk for yourself greek tragedy…i dont understand why you have to paint us all with the same brush…we are not all thick and stupid to moan about titles during the clubs toughest and most difficult transition in its entire history…nor are we sheep to get manipulated by media and rivals tauntings. perhaps if the arsenal fan had half this man’s class and strength we wouldnt experience the embarassments of having clueless folk telling Arsene how to run his football club. we had to repay our stadium, we were playing with kids and people were giving us shit for not winning… Read more »


Ok, I’m not quite sure what point you’re making as you seem particularly inarticulate but my guess is that you are stating that you have never quivered in your full hearted support of Arsene Wenger. Now, I quite agree that he has done a wonderful job with limited resources, something I state in my previous point that obviously you haven’t understood, but we’ve been through stuff that other football fans have not and some of it has had a lot to do with managerial miscalculations. Conceding 8 at Old Trafford and then shipping them our best player, being knocked out… Read more »


Some of my favourite Arsene quotes:

“He (Mourinho) is out of order, disconnected with reality and disrespectful. When you give success to stupid people, it makes them more stupid sometimes and not more intelligent.”

And of course:

[Upon being asked if he had received the apology that Sir Alex had announced he had sent to Wenger] “No. Perhaps he sent it by horse.”


Had lasagna for breakfast with some coffee

I feel like I’m about to shit myself


Jermaine Defoe?


I am a loyal follower of The Arsenal sir.

I’m eating this ceremonial dish on the eve of the big game for luck (not really, left over from last night).


FReezin gooner



Don’t forget he has an engineering degree and also a masters in economics. What a legend.




still want one though.


They had to recall the Utd one as they worked well for years then just fell apart in August.


just ordered one.


Fuck you, Sky!


Loving all the Wenger love. The only man who is being a fool is Mourinho, and we play him tomorrow!! Starting goon XI, do the right thing and play the best you’ve ever played…


~£62M in his time @arsenal – this man is a genius. I feel ashamed for doubting him. With all the figures from other clubs and in comparison… woof!


For those quotes this has been added to bookmarks alongside ‘Some things I like about Arsenal’ from Oct 2011


There’s only one Arsene Wenger ! ! !


Arsene is just such a great man and I pine for those rare times when he speaks philosophically about other issues. I’m disappointed he has said he won’t write a biography, because I’d love to hear his thoughts on so many topics beyond football.


Agree totally.

Though strictly if AW wrote a biography it would be about someone else than AW.


True but I figured he’d use a professional writer to pen it for him, like most do. Would that still be an autobiography? I actually don’t know


It would be an autobiography if it has AW’s name on the cover.

New Haven Gooner

There is literally no other manager I’d rather have at Arsenal. A beacon of class who represents Arsenal Football Club with the utmost professionalism and dedication. Looking forward to seeing his statue outside of the Emirates in the coming years.


AW has integrity and dignity. He even manages to rise above those disgusting chants the lowlifes hurl at him. I mean if I read that any other manager had been outed as a kiddie fiddler I’d believe it but Arsene? A real gentleman.


“I tried to watch the Tottenham match on television in my hotel yesterday, but I fell asleep.”
Respect sir!

I also tried to watch Chelsea, but fell asleep too..


The Van Nistlerooy quote is poetry.

Burn Baby Burn

One of my favorites Arsene quotes. “I watched it when I got home and it looked very bad. You ask 100 people, 99 will say it’s very bad and the hundredth will be Mark Hughes.”

Petit's Handbag

If ever there was a day a team talk wouldn’t be needed. If any player isn’t motivated enough for this great man tomorrow, he’s playing for the wrong team in North London.
Thank you Arsene


The Wenger quote which most sticks in my mind is: “I would be happy to finish second for the next 20 years.” That’s what gave Stan Kroenke a massive hard on. And that’s when Wenger let slip exactly what the “new” Arsenal are all about: making money. Who cares if you finish first? Second place guarantees all that lovely Champions’ League money. You don’t have to be successful on the pitch in order to make shitloads of cash. And that’s why Wenger is about to “celebrate” 1000 games in charge at Arsenal: he doesn’t have to win anything, just keep… Read more »


You just don’t get it do you? Please, please go away


lmao you dickhead…..surely the purpose of every business is to make money…just saying…

unless you want to be a high class whore and spread your legs to tycoons to get by ……..

arsenal chose to work for its success and its going to take time…deal with it like aman and stop crying like a tenyear old labout titles

titles were never on the menu , especially for the years it would take you to repay you 450m effing shithead…..


Will you PLEASE just shut up and go away, you troll? Absolutely no-one believes you support Arsenal.


Fatgooner you are basing your argument on the incorrect premise that 2nd place means that you are not successful on the pitch. That is being contradictory: to finish anywhere near the 2nd place you MUST be successful on the pitch. You might not beat the team that finishes first, but you must beat every single other team to get second.

Your complaint is thus rendered baseless.


so say a thank you perhaps every now and again that even in those restrains he kept you at a level not only respectable but also of over-achievement.

what did you want ? to beat drogba with cesc and denilson? or to beat the best barcelona ever with clichy and nasri ?

get real.

The Iceman

Had these saved on a file, pardon me for the repititions 1) [Upon being asked what he does with his spare time] “I watch football.” 2) “I tried to watch the Tottenham match on television in my hotel yesterday, but I fell asleep.” 3) “When I first came to Arsenal, I realised the back four were all university graduates in the art of defending. As for Tony Adams, I consider him to be a doctor of defence. He is simply outstanding.” … 4) [On the qualities of Dennis Bergkamp] “Intelligence and class. Class is of course, most of the time… Read more »


Theories as to why fatgooner is like this. 1) he had a trial at Arsenal when he was thingooner, but Wenger turned him down. 2) he is actually Bruce Rioch and pissed at Wenger for taking his job. 3) he supported sp*rs up until 03/04, changed to Arsenal after the invincibles, got shit loads of stick for it from his mates, who now don’t talk to him, and the only thing he got for all that was the FA Cup in 05. 4) he is actually Neil Ashton 5) he used to be called thingooner, but this awful trophy drought… Read more »


Lmao .. That made my day. 😀


Wenger is the most masterful, knowledgeable man in football and we as gooners should be eternally grateful for the service he has given to The Arsenal.

Hope our brilliant away fans sing his name constantly tomorrow and I really hope we beat that lot as can see big momentum building if that happens.


1000 games more!!!

bergkamp's hooped sock

A football manager and a gentleman. Somebody, buy the movie rights now!!


My favourite, and one I’ve never seen before, ties in nicely with the spending stats above.
‘We don’t buy superstars. We make them’. Should put that on the visitors dressing room door!

Saint Pat Rice

Am I just stupid or did he actually say ‘for fuck’s sake’ in public? Is that an actual quote? Brilliant, if so. Gotta love Le Professeur.


You just have to respect this man… Seeing the stats just crystallizes how much of an achievement it was just to stay up there with the top 4. We went through a rough patch and the discipline and determination not to put the club in debt in the midst of the largesse of his counterparts AND STILL KEEP UP WITH THE PACK, Outstanding! I hope he stays, just off the top of my head I cant think of any top manager now that would have taken up that challenge. Viva Wenger!!! Viva Arsenal!!


Excellent article, thanks. More quotes from Le Prof. Football is an art, like dancing is an art – but only when it’s well done does it become an art. I believe in work, in connections between the players, I think what makes football great is that it is a team sport. You can win in different ways, by being more of a team, or by having better individual players. It is the team ethic that interests me, always. I believe one of the best things about managing people is that we can influence lives in a positive way. That’s basically… Read more »


For me the thing that sums up Wenger isn’t a quote, it’s an action… …offering to replay that FA Cup tie against Sheffield United. He didn’t have to, and nobody would have honestly expected him to. He could have hidden behind the rules, but he did the right thing. It made me proud to be a Gooner then, and still does now. Fans almost always think their club is morally superior to others. They try to justify the unjustifiable. Become hypocrites because a player was wearing their team’s shirt. But sometimes, on very rare occasions, we actually are superior. Thank… Read more »


The stats are quality.

67/1 ratio of money spent by Chelshit compared to us in the last 9 years.

Stick that up your arse Mourinho.
And your oil soaked mafia twat of a club owner.


Great article! It’s anyone’s right to be pro-Wenger or anti-Wenger. I personally am a big fan, think he is the last of a certain breed and will lament his eventual departure. He is a wonderful coach yet reassuringly fallible (even in 03/04 when the CL should have been secured). So when people complain about the ‘failure’ since 2005, I recall the runners up of 1999/ 2000 UEFA Cup/ 2001 FA Cup Final and say “so what, at least we always compete and put ourselves in the frame!” Mourinho doesn’t understand the adulation heaped on Wenger and is ultimately green with… Read more »

The Öwl

Favorite Wenger quote: “When eventually I go to hell, it’ll be easier for me than for you, because I’m used to suffering.”

99 problems but being GOONER aint one

Interesting stats

Wenger’s 999 games v Sir Alex Ferguson’s first 1,000.

Arsene Wenger Sir Alex Ferguson
Games 999 1000
Wins 572 564
Draws 235 248
Losses 192 188
Goals For 1845 1784
Goals Against 961 944
Win % 57.3% 56.4%


Arsene won’t fit in hell.

Once Mourinho’s ego gets there, there will be no room left for anything.

Although it might flex enough for John Terry!


Lads. You’ve got to win today, for our title hopes and for Wenger. You’ve worked hard all season to get here, don’t give it up now. If we lose to a dodgy ref or pure bad luck, I’ll forgive you. Even if Chelsea play like an on form Brazil team of ’82 (how unlikely is that?) and we lose…meh what can you do? I’m only asking one thing. You give fucking everything today. Cliche alert and all that, but leave nothing on the pitch. I want you to come off vomiting with exhauastion. Anything less in unncceptable! In fact, I… Read more »


You are adorable.


He’s one of the biggest purists of the beautiful game.


This is great, feeling all giddy and “Arsenal-ly” inside.

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