Arsene Wenger: By the Numbers

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Wenger career Stats

(All competitions)

1235 – Matches managed by Arsene Wenger at Arsenal
1000 – Matches managed by Arsenal’s 2nd longest serving manager, Bertie Mee (540 matches), and 3rd longest serving manager, George Graham (460), combined

2298 – Total goals scored by Arsenal under Wenger
104 – Goals per season average at Arsenal
1.86 – Goals per match average at Arsenal

1227 – Total goals against Arsenal under Arsene Wenger
55.7 – Goals against per season
1 – Goal per match

This is why it felt so familiar to see Arsenal concede goals, we saw nearly 56 per season. By the way that’s comparable to Sir Alex Ferguson at Man U. Fergie managed 1240 matches and Man U conceded 1154 goals, 0.93 goal per match. And his team scored a similar 1.93 goals per match. While that doesn’t seem like much difference between the two managers at the very top it’s small margins which count.

707 – Wins for Arsenal under Arsene (reminder, this is all competitions)
32 – Wins per season (all competitions)
280 – Draws for Arsenal under Arsene (I’m not saying it again)
12.7 – Draws per season
248 – Losses for Arsenal under Arsene
11 – Losses per season

57 – Percent of all matches Arsene Wenger’s Arsenal side won during his tenure
93 – Percent win rate in Champions League qualifying (13-1-0)
67 – Percent win rate in the FA Cup (73-22-14)
57 – Percent wins in Premier League (475-199-153)
56 – Percent wins in Uefa Cup/Europa League (14-6-5)
47 – Percent wins in the Champions League (83-41-53)

132 – Years that Arsenal Football Club have been around
22 – Years that Arsene Wenger managed Arsenal Football Club (17% of their total)
45 – Trophies Arsenal have won in their history
17 – Trophies Arsenal won during Wengers 22 years at Arsenal (38% of their total)
13 – League titles for Arsenal
3 – League titles during Wenger’s tenure (23%)
13 – FA Cup wins for Arsenal (record)
7 – FA Cup wins during Wenger’s tenure (out of 8 appearances in the final)
54 – Percent of Arsenal’s FA Cup trophies which have been won by Arsene Wenger
1 – Record for the most FA Cup wins by any manager (7)
14 – Number of times Arsenal won the Community Shield
7 – Number of times Arsenal won the Community Shield during Wenger’s tenure (50%)
2 – League Cups for Arsenal
0 – League Cups during Wenger’s tenure (0%)
2 – European trophies for Arsenal
0 – European trophies during Wenger’s tenure (0%)
1 – Seasons Arsenal went unbeaten
1 – Seasons Arsenal went unbeaten during Wenger’s tenure (100%)

118 – Red cards for Arsenal under Arsene Wenger (all competitions)
8 – Red cards for Patrick Vieira in Premier League play only (tied with Duncan Ferguson and Richard Dunne for the most in Premier League history, though, really Roy Keane should probably have had 40 red cards and only got 7)

(Premier League only)

828 – Premier League matches managed by Arsene Wenger (record)
475 – Premier League wins by Arsene Wenger (If you only count Premier League this is a record but Fergie has the record for most wins in the top flight at 528 – both records, plus Wenger’s longevity record, seem unlikely to ever fall.)
1,561 – Goals scored by Arsenal in the Premier League during Wenger’s tenure (2nd to Fergie)
807 – Goals scored against Arsenal in that same time
754 – Positive goal difference for Arsenal during Wenger’s tenure
1.89 – Goals scored per game (this is the average for Arsene’s Arsenal in Premier League play)
0.97 – Goals against per game

Then she leaned close and whispered in my ear “tell me about net spend”

201 – Millions of pounds Arsene Wenger spent on transfers (net) since joining Arsenal in 1996 (source: https://www.arsenalreport.com/transfercentre/history)
180 – Millions of pounds Wenger spent (net) since the club loosed the purse strings in 2013/14
21 – Millions of pounds Wenger spent (net) in the 17 previous seasons
200 – Millions of pounds Man City spent (net) in the 2017/18 season (source: transfermarkt.co.uk)
1,123 – Millions of pounds (net) Man City have spent since 2007/08 (yeah, that’s a billion)

Net Spend League Table 2013/14 to 2017/18

 

Net Spend £ Table Last 5 Seasons
Tottenham -21
Liverpool -105
Chelsea -118
Arsenal -180
United -510
City -640

Something tells me the next manager isn’t going to get £1bn to throw around.
(All non-Arsenal transfer fees from transfermarkt.co.uk)

The Players Under Wenger

86 – Record for most European appearances at Arsenal, 86, Thierry Henry
16 years 177 days – Youngest overall player to appear for Arsenal (Cesc Fabregas)
Jack Wilshere also holds the records for youngest Arsenal player in the League, in Europe and in the FA Cup
41 years 151 days – Record for the oldest player to play in the Premier League, Jens Lehmann
39 years 311 day – Oldest player in Europe, John Lukic
227 – Different players to play under Wenger at Arsenal (that’s a prime number, by the way)
229 – Goals scored by Thierry Henry for Arsenal (this is also a prime number, and uhh… no.. we are not awarding that own goal to Scott Dann that the Premier League took away from Henry because they hate Arsenal, maybe we can get Harry Kane to petition the FA to have this goal added to Henry’s total.)

 

Most goals for Arsenal under Wenger
Player Goals
Thierry Henry 228
Robin van Persie 132
Theo Walcott 108
Olivier Giroud 105
Dennis Bergkamp 102
Robert Pires 84
Alexis Sanchez 80
Freddie Ljungberg 72
Emmanuel Adebayor 62
Aaron Ramsey 58

(source: Opta)

If we look just at most goals for Arsenal under Wenger, Olivier Giroud comes up fourth of all time and one of just five players to score 100+ goals for Arsenal under Wenger.  

The Invincibles

W-W-W-W-W-W-D-D-W-W
W-D-W-W-W-D-D-W-D-W
W-D-W-W-W-W-W-W-W-W
W-D-W-D-W-D-D-D-W-W
W-W-W-W-W-D-W-W-W-L*
*Rooney Dive

49 – Games played
36 – Games won
13 – Drawn
0 – Lost
112 – Goals for (2.29 per game)
35 – Goals against (0.71 per game)
25 – Home games in this streak
20 – Home wins
63 – Home goals
21 – Goals conceded at home (0.84 per game)
14 – Goals conceded in 24 away games (0.58 per game)
48 – Starts for Thierry Henry (led all players)
39 – Goals for Thierry Henry (led all players)

Wenger’s Remarkably Consistent 22 Years

 

This chart shows how consistent Wenger has been in terms of points per season in the Premier League over his 20 years at the club. On the left is his first full season with the club where he won the title with just 78 points. You can also see his other two title winning sides in 01/02 and 03/04 (the blue dots that poke above all the other clubs). Since then, the closest Arsenal came to winning the League was 07/08 and 2015/16 (when there is a great sag in all points among the top teams).   

Wenger averaged 75.7 points per season over his career at Arsenal. That’s third highest behind Man U (80) and Chelsea (76) and well above Man City, Liverpool, and especially Tottenham with just 58.7 points per season. To give that some context, if Arsenal had just hit Wenger’s average in his final season, they would have finished tied for 4th with Liverpool:

Club Points avg

1998-2018

Man U 80.0
Chelsea 76.0
Arsenal 75.7
Liverpool 67.3
Man City 60.9
Tottenham 58.7

That said, Wenger’s points average over his career is a bit misleading as it is bifurcated by a first 10 v. last 10 split. In his first 10 seasons at Arsenal Wenger averaged 77 points per season, 2nd best behind only Fergie and leaving small clubs like Tottenham and Man City in his dust:

Club Points avg 1998-2008
Man U 81.6
Arsenal 77.7
Chelsea 75.3
Liverpool 67.5
Tottenham 51.0
Man City 45.4

But in the years since the move to the Emirates stadium, Arsene’s Arsenal dropped off 7 points per season and went from 2nd to 4th average, with Tottenham and Liverpool jumping massively from mid-table clubs to top four challengers. This is the effect of Chelsea (the purple line above), Man U (the red line) and the fact that Arsenal became a selling club when Man City entered the fray. City is the team that usurped Arsenal in the top six:

Club Points avg 2009-2018
Man U 78
Chelsea 76.1
Man City 75.4
Arsenal 71.8
Tottenham 68.7
Liverpool 67.4

 

This shows the relative strength of the Premier League now. When Wenger won his three League titles, the average was 30.6 points difference between Man U and Tottenham. But there are no longer two or three clubs clearly at the top of the table, there are now six clubs within 10 points of each other on average every season for the last decade.

In that context it’s incredible that Wenger was able to maintain Champions League football until the 2016/17 season.

My suspicion as to how Wenger accomplished this was to prioritize attack. He had one season, in 1998/99, where Arsenal had an incredible defensive record, allowing just 17 goals in a single season. The closest he would ever come to this record again was the 2003/04 invincibles season with 26 goals. Below is a visual representation of Wenger’s Arsenal in the Premier League in terms of goals for per game and goals against per game:

Wenger’s attacking philosophy produced a remarkable 72 goals per season average across his career with little variation between the first ten (73.88) and the last ten (72.40). But what we see in the second half of his Arsenal career are a number of seasons where his team were wrecked defensively. In the first half of his career he had two truly outstanding defensive teams and in the second half he had none. As a result, Arsene averaged 33.45 goals allowed per Premier League season in the first half of his Arsenal career and 40.44 goals per season in the second half of his Arsenal career.

This is what his Premier League career looks like in goal difference per game. Up to 2001, Wenger’s problem was generating enough offence. After the Invincibles, Wenger’s Arsenal went into a steady decline because he prioritized attack over defense.

Big Clubs

Arsene Wenger – Top Four Clubs Faced With Arsenal
Opponent Played W D L F A Win %
Chelsea 62 23 18 21 79 88 37.1%
Manchester United 60 18 15 27 69 85 30.0%
Liverpool 53 19 17 17 83 88 35.8%
Tottenham Hotspur 52 23 20 9 94 65 44.2%

(Source: Opta)

The four teams Arsene Wenger faced most were Chelsea, Man U, Liverpool, and Tottenham. Among these so-called “traditional top teams” Arsenal were most successful against Tottenham, winning 44% of their matches compared to Sp*rs winning just 17%. Wenger also had a superior goal difference against Tottenham at +29. Unfortunately, that’s where the fun stops. Wenger won just 37% against Chelsea and had a negative goal difference of -8. He also only won 36% of his matches against Liverpool and had a -5 goal difference. But it was United which was always Arsene’s nemesis. He won 30% of his games there and they won 45%.

Manager Played W D L F A Win %
Alex Ferguson 49 15 12 22 55 71 30.6%
Sam Allardyce 34 20 8 6 69 36 58.8%
David Moyes 34 22 8 4 69 28 64.7%
Harry Redknapp 33 16 13 4 67 34 48.5%
Mark Hughes 29 16 4 9 51 31 55.2%
Steve Bruce 27 19 6 2 52 13 70.4%
Rafael Benitez 24 10 6 8 40 35 41.7%
Martin O’Neill 21 10 9 2 31 16 47.6%
Tony Pulis 19 12 2 5 33 19 63.2%
José Mourinho 19 2 7 10 12 29 10.5%
Steve McClaren 18 15 0 3 46 11 83.3%
Alan Curbishley 17 12 2 3 33 12 70.6%
Claudio Ranieri 17 10 6 1 33 19 58.8%
Gerard Houllier 16 7 4 5 22 21 43.8%
Gordon Strachan 16 11 3 2 30 12 68.8%
Roberto Martinez 16 10 3 3 36 16 62.5%
Alan Pardew 16 9 5 2 33 16 56.3%
Graeme Souness 15 10 1 4 25 15 66.7%

(Source: Opta)

It was Fergie who was the main problem at United. Wenger could only manage 15 wins over the old man in 49 attempts and lost 22 times to the former United Manager. But Wenger’s record against Jose Mourinho was almost certainly lodestone. Arsene’s Arsenal won just twice in 19 matches against Mourinho, losing 10 times, and conceding -17 goals.

In case you’re curious, Wenger won 50% of his matches against Man City, but most of those wins came before they slipped in a puddle of oil. Wenger has only won 21% (3-3-8) against their current manager, Pep Guardiola. Wenger has also only won 27% (3-5-3) against Pochettino and 30% (3-3-4) against Klopp.

Away

It’s not a coincidence that Arsenal won the League at both Old Trafford and White Hart Lane. Wenger’s away teams were typically the best in the land. He had the first team to go undefeated away an entire season – the year we won the League at Old Trafford – and followed that up with the Invincibles in 2003/04 who similarly went undefeated away all season and won the League at the home of a heated rival.

That 2001/02 team was quite special. They won 47 points away from home and just 40 at home. They also scored 37 and allowed just 11. It’s a record that should get more mention and would but for the fact that Chelsea took 48 points in 04/05. Man City also topped the pre-Invincibles with 50 points this season but neither City nor Chelsea went undefeated in those away seasons.

It was Arsenal’s away record in his final two seasons which undid Arsene. In 2015/16 Arsenal were 3rd in the “Away League” with 31 points but this season Arsenal finished in 11th place on the away table with just 16 points. And only took three total points in their final 8 away games giving Arsenal the third worst away record in the Premier League since the new year.

We all knew it would end eventually, even Arsene Wenger himself saying; “I always say that a manager has a love story with a club and he has to behave like it will be a love story forever but not be stupid enough to believe that it will never end. It could end at any minute, but you have to behave like it will last forever.” So, while this post seems to end on a sour note, like his Arsenal career in a way, I’m not sad to see that his Arsenal career came to an end in such a way. Rather I focus on all of the great things that he gave Arsenal and Arsenal supporters: three League titles (each one more unbelievable than the next), seven FA Cups (including one where John Terry ate grass and another in which Aaron Ramsey scored an incredible winner), 229 goals from one of the most beautiful strikers I’ve ever seen play the game, the Invincibles, the youth team with Captain Cesc Fabregas, my first ever Arsenal game which was a 2-0 win over Charlton at Highbury (Hleb scored), so many so-close moments in Europe, and a 60,000 seat arena in the heart of the most beautiful city in England, right next door to the most beautiful stadium in the land, still standing, Highbury.

For all of that and 22 years of love and loyal service to my beloved Arsenal, I simply say, Merci Arsene.

Qq

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Dino
Dino

Great post Tim. Its staggering when read in the numbers the influence of city in the premier league. I am following Arsenal only since 2008. No glory years for me.. But looking at his achievements, the latter half barring the last two seasons on a shoestring budget will be the most difficult to replicate by any manager ever! More you read and know more you appreciate this great man! #MerciArsène

1993
1993

Money wasn’t the problem in my opinion. We missed out on some fantastic players because we weren’t ruthless enough in the transfer market.

1993
1993

Mislintat and Arsene could’ve been great together. Too bad it had to end.

Georgie
Georgie

Awesome as always, Tim!

James
James

Great post, thanks for the stats.

No wonder Souness always savages Wenger and hates Arsenal. We fucking smashed him in the head to head stats.

Bould's Eyeliner
Bould's Eyeliner

No wonder Lee Dixon always looks at him like he’s full of shite you mean.

Arsenal23Q
Arsenal23Q

Are the draws and losses in the first section in all competitions though?

Matt
Matt

Thanks Arsene. Goodbye.

BigArse
BigArse

Over to you Ivan. Good Luck.

shokim
shokim

Great work, Tim! Lots of numbers to break down, must have taken you some time to compile – respect! Sad that Arsene couldn’t have won more against old Red Nose and the c***y one.

Glad that Wenger holds some records that are pretty hard to break. Still hard to believe this is the end of an era. Once again, thanks for the 22 years of service, Le Prof! There were some great times!

Gooner49
Gooner49

The net spend table for the past 5 years and seeing we’ve spent quite a bit more than Chelsea, Liverpool and Sp*rs actually makes me quite sad. During secondary school when we weren’t winning anything but stayed in the top 4 this used to be my pride and joy, I would dig out the net spend tables with relish in staunch defence of Arsene in long lunch debates with my two best friends who were unfortunately sp*rs fans, hence my deep-rooted affection for those stats. To see we have started to underperform in terms of net spend to position correlation is worrying and gives an indication of why it was sadly time for Arsene to move on.
I think it also confirms what I’ve thought about Arsene recently, that he was and is a great manager but just doesn’t belong in this more recent era of the PL, with its desperation for instant success at all costs, fans demanding immoral transfer fees and clubs/players that are so PR managed fans can no longer relate.
Thank you Arsene – I’m sure you will do an amazing job in another country with a fresh start (just don’t join PSG, I want to properly to support you!). As for us, I’m afraid it was a case of ‘if you can’t beat them, join them’ in regards to the manager mad house.
Ps thanks for the great stats!

DB's first touch
DB's first touch

The net spend table is tricky to interpret…Liverpool’s net spend is heavily influenced by the Coutinho sale last January. And i believe that the Gareth Bale sale (summer 2013) is still included in the numbers above, therefore in a few short months it is very likely that sp*rs will have the same net spend as us over the past 5 years, and infinitely fewer trophies over that same time span!

machononreal
machononreal

I don’t know if that net spent table alone tell the full story. Chelsea, thanks to their years of astronomical spending prior to the last 5 seasons, simply meant that some of their high profile outgoing names in the last few seasons would have fetch sizable transfer fees (e.g. Oscar, Matic, Costa, David Luiz, Lukaku etc.) to offset the transfer fees of incoming players. And Liverpool? Just 3 names alone – Coutinho, Sterling and Suarez – would be sufficient to put their net spent in surplus.

Gooner49
Gooner49

True net spend never tells the full story and can be misleading, especially with Chelsea and Liverpool. I think in this case though it does highlight a third era in Wengers time at Arsenal which people don’t often highlight, they’re too quick to divide his era into a trophy laden first half and a less successful but competitive second half on a tight budget. There’s clearly a third chapter from 2013 onwards demonstrated by this net spend and sadly it has been his inability to fully capitalise (despite some wonderful days at Wembley) in this time period that has led to his departure.

GraeB
GraeB

Great stats work. It does go to show just how much Wenger’s defensive myopia has harmed our competiveness. Mind you the comparative spend of Wenger in his time versus Citeh just last season is astounding.

Now let’s just get someone appointed quickly to get the transition moving.

Big Cheese
Big Cheese

Great fricking article man. Must have been some hard work to put together all those stats, thank you.

Dirk Diggler
Dirk Diggler

Incredible piece.
I have no words (or numbers) to add!

Xxxrob
Xxxrob

Only one I would add would be if it was signed off with

1 – Arsene Wenger

MaritalMonk
MaritalMonk

Will be interesting to compare the Fergie numbers along two eras. Pre-Emirates and Post- Emirates. I believe Fergie only started gaining the upper hand the moment Arsene could not compete again.

MaritalMonk
MaritalMonk

Win/Games – I never really liked this ratio because it completely dismisses drowses irrelevant. Imagine the 0-0 draws against Juventus, Real Madrid and Villarreal in that champions league run. That draw against Spuds @ Shite Hart Lane was a championship winning point.

If we did Points Gained/Max Points Available, then Wenger would have had 62% of MPA against Martin O’neill for instance and 50% over Benitez for instance. Not that it counts for anything when all is said and done – it’s just a stat I prefer.

Lord Bendnter
Lord Bendnter

Merci Arsene!
And thanx 7amkickoff! Reading this article was a pleasure to my heart. I am so glad I read it and loved it!!