Recent statistics show that Arsene Wenger's 1000 games in charge of Arsenal were more successful than Sir Alex Ferguson's at Old Trafford. Controversial, but statistically true. Wenger may have won this battle, but now lets see who wins the war.
Regardless of the result, we can't underestimate the achievements of either. They have both transformed their clubs and led them during the best of times. They are the only two managers to achieve a milestone of 1000 games with the same club since the introduction of the Premier League.
The value of that achievement has been recognised not only by the press and the fans but also by the managers themselves. Sir Alex wrote a tribute ahead of Wenger's 1000th game congratulating him on his years with Arsenal:
"I congratulate Arsène in reaching this momentous landmark," Ferguson said. "Having also reached the same milestone at one club, I cannot emphasise enough the level of dedication, resilience as well as sacrifice required and for that I have for the utmost admiration.”
Well done to Wenger, fair play to Ferguson.
Wenger 1:1 Ferguson
Back to the statistics, Wenger's side won 57.2 % of the games comparing to 56.4% for Sir Alex. Arsenal also managed 71 more goals than Manchester United in the respective periods.
Wenger 2:1 Ferguson
Performance on a big day
In 2004 Ferguson was celebrating his 1000th game in charge of United with a 2-1 home win against Olympique Lyonnais. We all know what happened on Saturday to Arsenal and 'celebration' is the last word we could use to describe their clash against Chelsea.
Jose Mourinho said that “they came to kill” and for Arsenal the death came painfully slow from six damaging strikes. Wenger looked more like the one kid who spends his birthday’s alone because no one likes him, rather than one of the most successful managers in history.
Wenger 2:2 Ferguson
Sir Alex has led his side to eight Premier League titles, four FA Cup victories, one League Cup final victory and one Champions League title within his first 1000 games with United.
Compared to Wenger's seven trophies, all of them won in his first 500 games in charge, that's an outstanding result. Arsenal haven't won a trophy since 2005 and as we know there were many more to follow for Manchester United after 2004, so in this category there can only be one winner.
Wenger 2:3 Ferguson
In 1998/99 season United regained the Premier League title, beat Newcastle in the 1999 FA Cup final and triumphed over Barcelona to lift the Champions League trophy; and thus completed an unprecedented treble with the 'Class of 92'.
2003/04 was a dream season for Le Proffeseur as his side won the league without a single defeat, earning themselves the name of “The Invincibles”.
Call it a draw.
Wenger 3:4 Ferguson
Of course there could be more categories and fans of either side could pull the argument in their favour. However, I will stop here, as I believe the result fairly represents the reality.
Ferguson has been a more successful manager not only in his first 1000 games at United but also in the following years. Losing him hit United harder than anyone could have expected. Wenger took the blame for the terrible result on Saturday, but he is also the one to praise for many of Arsenal's greatest achievements.
In each of his season's in charge Arsenal claimed one of the top four league spots. No one can take it away from him. Not even Jose.
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