Unfortunately for Arsene Wenger, he could not mark his 1000th game in charge of Arsenal in fitting style as the Gunners were comprehensively beaten 6-0 by rivals Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on Saturday.
This defeat probably spells the end of Arsenal's Premier League title challenge for this season, but with the FA Cup still to play for Arsenal look like being in prime position to end their nine year wait for silverware.
Wenger's Arsenal reign had previously been littered with success. He joined the then Highbury club in 1996 and went on to win three Premier League titles and four FA Cups as well qualifying for the Champions League for 16 consecutive years. He has been criticised for the lack of silverware over the last nine years but Wenger knows that his Arsenal reign is more about the development of the club itself rather than instant gratification with trophies. Looking back now who would have thought that his arrival in 1996 would have been greeted with such pessimism.
Since arriving at Arsenal Wenger has always been a very thoughtful and insightful manager who is never rushed into making decisions both on and off the field. His mostly calm influence has radiated throughout the club and he has shown how much he likes to invest in youngsters.
Before his 1000th game the accolades for the Frenchman came flooding in, not least from former rival Sir Alex Ferguson and current foe Jose Mourinho. He has become only the fourth manager in English football to have managed for one club for one thousand games, joining Matt Busby, Dario Gradi and Alex Ferguson.
Wenger was a catalyst in Arsenal's historic decision to move from their old stadium, Highbury, to their new modern home at The Emirates. This decision was needed in order for Arsenal to compete with their rivals at home and abroad in the long term. Wenger could see that Arsenal needed to progress in this area and in affect gave up any short term success to do this as such a financial commitment would not allow him to strengthen hugely on the playing front until the stadium debt was paid off.
He is a great manager and Arsenal may well end up missing him more than they think when he eventually departs. Could it be a similar case to Sir Alex's departure from Manchester United where David Moyes has found his shoes very hard to fill.
Can Wenger be Arsenal's greatest ever manager, rivalling the late, great Herbert Chapman?
Arsenal's six nil drubbing to Chelsea will have taken some of the shine off Wenger's milestone but there will be nobody more determined than him to make amends. They needed a victory to get back in the title race and to stop Chelsea from pulling further ahead but Wenger will know that ultimately Arsenal are showing signs that they can once again compete for trophies.
How long do Arsenal supporters think that Wenger can go on for?
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