In this week's Behind the Numbers, our statistician analyses Arsène Wenger's 17-year tenure as Arsenal manager.
Arsène Wenger - Arsenal’s longest-serving and most successful manager - celebrates 17 years in charge of the Club on Tuesday, October 1.
Sunday’s match against Swansea was his 964th in charge of Arsenal, and his 558th victory.
His win percentage is therefore 57.9, and the team have scored 1,786 goals in that time, at a rate of 1.85 per game. The overall goal difference is +857.
Arsène Wenger - full record
It all means he has taken charge of more games and recorded more victories (and indeed more draws and defeats) than any other Arsenal manager. He has also led the team to more major trophies (11, including Charity/Community Shields) and has a higher win ratio than any of his 17 predecessors.
His team have scored more goals (more than twice as many as the next manager), and he has overseen the most league matches, FA Cup matches, League Cup matches, European fixtures and Community Shield games of any Arsenal boss in history.
Appointed in 1996, Wenger officially became an Arsenal employee on October 1, having been announced as Bruce Rioch’s successor in August while he was still in charge of Grampus Eight. After being released from his contract in Japan, Arsène eventually took charge of his first game for his new club on October 12, 1996 - a 2-0 win away to Blackburn Rovers in the Premier League.
Since then his full career stats are as follows:
Arsène Wenger - full record
* games on pens counted as wins or losses
Wenger became the Club’s longest-serving manager four years ago, surpassing George Allison’s 13-year tenure, which straddled the Second World War.
Even if he lost each of his next 130 games in charge, he would still have the highest win ratio of any Arsenal manager in history
Wenger is one of six men to win the league for the Club, and the only one to have lifted the FA Cup more than once. Arsenal’s 27 major honours so far have been shared between seven different managers (Chapman, Allison, Whittaker, Mee, Graham, Neill and Wenger).
In terms of win percentage, Wenger’s 57.9 puts him far ahead of his peers, and he’s the only post-war Gunners manager to win more than half of his games.
In fact, even if he lost each of his next 130 games in charge, he would still have the highest win ratio of any Arsenal manager in history.
Wenger has taken charge of 78.9 per cent of all Arsenal's Premier League games (644), and has won 83.2 per cent of Arsenal's Premier League total points tally (1,279).
In addition he has overseen 68.7 per cent of all of Arsenal's games in European competition (169).
Top 10 longest serving Arsenal managers
|Arsène Wenger||Oct 1, 1996 - present day||17 years+|
|George Allison||May 28, 1934 - May 31, 1947||13 years, 3 days|
|Bertie Mee||June 20, 1966 - May 4, 1976||9 years, 316 days|
|Tom Whittaker||June 2, 1947 - Oct 24, 1956||9 years, 144 days|
|George Graham||May 14, 1986 - Feb 21, 1995||8 years, 283 days|
|Herbert Chapman||June 11, 1925 - Jan 6, 1934||8 years, 210 days|
|Terry Neill||July 9, 1976 - Dec 16, 1983||7 years, 160 days|
|George Morrell||Feb 10, 1908 - Apr 13, 1915||7 years, 63 days|
|Harry Bradshaw||May 1899 - May 1904||4 years, 355 days|
|Billy Wright||May 1, 1962 - Jun 13, 1966||4 years, 43 days|
Wenger won the domestic Double in his first full season (becoming the first overseas manager to win the English league) and he repeated the feat four years later. That 2001/02 Double season remains his most successful in terms of win percentage, with 65 per cent of the 60 games ending in victory.
The first three times Wenger recorded a win percentage in excess of 60 per cent, Arsenal won the league (1997/98, 2001/02 and 2003/04). However, the numbers would suggest that it’s become much harder to win silverware since the manager’s third league title in 2004.
The following season Arsenal’s win percentage was a hefty 64.9 (the second best of the Wenger era), but the team missed out on the title. Twice more since then the win percentage has been 60 or greater (2007/08 and 2009/10) yet both times the team remained trophyless. In fact the 2007/08 record was better than that of the 1997/98 Double campaign.
Arsène Wenger, season by season records
In each of Wenger's seasons in charge, Arsenal finished no lower than fourth. That's 17 consecutive top four finishes now under the Frenchman - the Club's previous longest run was five (1930/31 to 1934/35).
Arsène has called upon 187 different players
In fact, 42.5 per cent of all Arsenal's top-four finishes in history have come under Wenger.
This consistency is highlighted when comparing the manager’s record at Highbury (1996 to 2006) with that at Emirates Stadium (2006 to current day). Arsenal have not won silverware since moving into Emirates Stadium at the beginning of the 2006/07 season, but the team has a very similar record here compared to Wenger’s time at our previous home.
The win ratio at Highbury was 70.6 per cent as opposed to 68.2 per cent at Emirates, while the side have scored at the same rate per game (2.16 at Emirates, 2.16 at Highbury) and conceded fewer (0.77 at Emirates, 0.82 at Highbury) since the move.
Arsène Wenger home records
During the 17 years, Wenger has called upon 187 different players - that represents 22.9 per cent of all players who have ever appeared for the Arsenal first team.
Patrick Vieira played more than anyone else for the manager (402 games, 41.7 per cent of the total) and Dennis Bergkamp played most out of those players who were already at the Club when Wenger took over (376 games).
Theo Walcott is the only player from the current squad to appear in the top 10 appearances list, he's played 270 games so far.
Twenty-seven of the 187 have played just once for the manager, while a select group of 22 played 200 times or more.
More than half of the players who have played for the Club under Wenger have scored (96). The leading scorer in this era, of course, is the Club’s all-time leading goal getter, Thierry Henry, who accounted for 228 of the 1,786 Gunners goals under Wenger (12.8 per cent). The top 10 scorers under Wenger’s stewardship (below) between them scored nearly half (48.3 per cent) of the total goals in this time.
Of the 91 English league clubs currently with a full-time manager, Wenger is the longest serving, having held his position more than twice as long as the next man on the list, Exeter City's Paul Tisdale (seven years 96 days). No one else on the list has more than five years unbroken service, while only seven (eight per cent) have been with their club for longer than three years.
Looking purely at the Premier League, Alan Pardew is the second longest-serving boss, having been at Newcastle for nearly three years. The only other Premier League managers with more than two years in their current jobs are Sam Allardyce (West Ham), Marton Jol (Fulham) and Malky Mackay (Cardiff City).
Longest serving managers in English football
|Arsène Wenger||Arsenal||Premier League||17 years|
|Paul Tisdale||Exeter City||League Two||7 years, 96 days|
|Chris Wilder||Oxford United||League Two||4 years, 283 days|
|Mark Yates||Cheltenham Town||League Two||3 years, 282 days|
|Russell Slade||Leyton Orient||League One||3 years, 178 days|
|Karl Robinson||Milton Keynes Dons||League One||3 years, 143 days|
|Graham Turner||Shrewsbury Town||League One||3 years, 111 days|
|Tony Mowbray||Middlesbrough||Championship||2 years, 339 days|
|Alan Pardew||Newcastle United||Premier League||2 years, 295 days|
|Dean Smith||Walsall||League One||2 years, 268 days|
Stats correct to October 1, 2013Copyright 2015 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source 1 Oct 2013