A thousand games, that’s some achievement. To stick with any side for so long is truly remarkable; to do so at a Premier League club challenging for (if not always winning) trophies is frankly astonishing. Hats off, Arsene.
- Chelsea 2-0 Galatasaray (CL)
- Aston Villa 1-0 Chelsea (Prem)
- Chelsea 4-0 Spurs (Prem)
- Fulham 1-3 Chelsea (Prem)
- Galatasaray 1-1 Chelsea (CL)
- Spurs 0-1 Arsenal (Prem)
- Bayern 1-1 Arsenal (CL)
- Arsenal 4-1 Everton (FAC)
- Stoke 1-0 Arsenal (Prem)
- Arsenal 4-1 S’land (Prem)
But for all the Frenchman’s achievements during his time in England – from the revolution in training and nutrition he inspired to the Invincibles – Wenger has an unsightly and ever-growing blot on his CV: he has yet to register a win over Jose Mourinho. In 10 meetings, the Portuguese has triumphed five times, with five draws. On Saturday, he’ll like nothing more than to make that six wins, making a day that should be about his opposite number all about him.
A quick look at the stats and the Special One will be confident he can do just that. Aside from the fact that Chelsea never lose at home under Jose, this season his side have taken a league high 41 points on their own turf; they’re the only side in the league not to lose at home. When Chelsea do go behind, they know how to retrieve the game; Mourinho’s tactical tweaks and half-time rhetoric has seen Chelsea take 14 points from losing positions, another league best.
By the same token, Wenger could look at his factsheet and take heart. With their win at Spurs, Arsenal have the best away record in the league, taking 29 points on the road (OK, so this is equal with Spurs, but they have a better goal difference than their north London rivals). Just as impressive, The Gunners have won seven times at Stamford Bridge, more than any other visiting side in the Premier League. And they, too, know a thing or two about overcoming adversity: five of those seven wins saw Wenger’s side come from behind.
The trouble with all these stats is that they’re open to interpretation. As well as Arsenal have done on their travels, they’ve failed when it counts against their direct rivals. They have failed to win any of their last 11 Premier League games against Chelsea, Manchester City and Manchester United, with a trip to Anfield ending in a 5-1 drubbing.
Good but not quite good enough; a summary of Wenger’s recent time in charge and an assessment that will probably ring true this weekend.