Published On: Fri, Apr 20th, 2018

Best moments from Wenger's celebrated Arsenal tenure

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Moments define a career. As unfair as that can be to the entire body of work, Arsene Wenger’s 22-year tenure as Arsenal manager will be remembered both for the successes and failures.

Today is not a day to reflect on where Wenger went wrong, though. Instead, it’s a time to celebrate the Frenchman and his influence on both Arsenal and the Premier League. Here’s a look at eight notable moments from his career, in no particular order:

Destroying Inter at the San Siro

There was a time when Arsenal’s continental campaigns weren’t an annual brush with disappointment, and in 2003-04, the Gunners had one of their more stunning performances at a venue that fit the moment. Thierry Henry’s brace paired with goals from Freddie Ljungberg, Edu, and Robert Pires as Arsenal humiliated Inter as the Premier League side snatched Group B honours.

The Double

Wenger became the first foreign manager to win a domestic double in England, leading the Gunners to the league title and FA Cup in 1997-98. In just his second year in charge, the Frenchman set an impeccable standard in overturning a 13-point deficit in the league to rival Manchester United courtesy of a dazzling stretch of 15 wins and three draws in 18 matches.


2013-14 FA Cup

Wenger and Co. ended a nine-year trophy drought by hoisting the FA Cup in 2013-14. After a challenging path to the finals with matches against Coventry City, Liverpool, Tottenham, Everton, and Wigan Athletic, Arsenal came back from two goals down against Hull City courtesy of Aaron Ramsey‘s extra-time winner. It was the fifth of Wenger’s record seven FA Cups.

Signing Thierry Henry

Eight seasons, a club-record 226 goals in all competitions, an effortless, gazelle-like gait, and an eye for goal that verged on sensual. Thierry Henry’s move to Arsenal may be Wenger’s greatest coup. A wide player at Juventus under Carlo Ancelotti, Wenger turned Henry into a No. 9, and the striker became an emblem of Wengerball and the changing nature of Premier League football.


The Invincibles

The most celebrated campaign in Arsenal’s history, the Gunners paired 26 victories with a dozen draws in 2003-04, capping of the Invincibles season with a come-from-behind victory against Leicester City in front of a jubilant Highbury crowd. It was the first unbeaten top-flight season since Preston North End had done so 115 years before. Henry won PFA Player of the Year and was joined by five teammates in the Team of the Year. Winning the league at White Hart Lane was a nice touch.

Swoops for Sol on a free

Few things bring joy to an Arsenal fan like successes at the expense of north London rival Tottenham. Signing sturdy centre-half Sol Campbell on a free transfer from Spurs fits the bill, and with the Englishman at the back alongside Tony Adams, the Gunners won the double in 2001-02. Campbell was a vital part of the Invincibles season, and is one of just six Englishmen to score in a Champions League final.


Henry’s hug

When asked about his favourite goal for Arsenal, club legend Henry offered, “There is one goal, don’t get me wrong I enjoyed all of them, but the one when I came back to play for Arsenal that I scored against Leeds on my first game back.” It was his only goal in a four-match loan return in 2012, with Henry’s unbridled joy highlighted by a hug shared with Wenger. “I could have gone around the stadium and hugged everybody, the referee included, everybody.”

Double-double

Winning one domestic double is a feat in itself. Doing it twice is remarkable, and that’s exactly what Wenger pulled off in 2001-02. Peak Pires and Henry were unplayable as Arsenal overcame a tepid start to the league campaign to go 21 unbeaten to finish the season seven points up on Liverpool. Sylvain Wiltord’s goal at Old Trafford sealed the title before the Gunners topped rival Chelsea 2-0 in the FA Cup final.


(Photos courtesy: Getty Images)



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