Prior to Arsenal’s most recent fixture, in which they hosted Brighton, it seemed the match result may have been at the forefront of focus, as attaining three points may have advanced Wenger’s side’s quest for the Premier League title. Yet, the occasion may have been more poignant for Wenger himself, as the Frenchman celebrated 21 years as Arsenal manager and therefore, whilst his attainment of the victory may continue to showcase his capabilities, it may have more importantly enabled Wenger to be recognised for his services. Whilst other managers, and players, may have plied their professional careers at a superior level to the Frenchman, Wenger’s vast accomplishments as a manager, both before and during his Arsenal tenure, may have showcased his ability to transition along a different path, and more importantly highlighted how there may be a different pathway to success in football.
Wenger’s playing career was spent in France and, whilst the majority of this time occurred in the third tier, this period may have been pivotal in enhancing his understanding of the game, contributing to the philosophies which ultimately seem to have paid dividends for him. Whilst other players boasted the accolade of captain, Wenger often seemed to be referred to as such, and this, along with his position as a central-midfielder, often requiring an in-depth understanding of how to read the game, may have further contributed to his already ever-expanding credentials.
Whilst Wenger’s achievements as Arsenal manager seem to be most noteworthy, the influx of foreign investment in English football seems to have increased the capabilities of rival clubs, creating more intriguing encounters for fans whilst simultaneously increasing the strength in depth of the game and therefore expanding the sport’s reach. Yet, the Frenchman has already won a smorgasbord of titles, including the 2003/04 Premier League, a key focal point in history, and whilst this may prove his capabilities, he also has other accolades to aim for, including the Europa League, potentially leading him to become a more balanced and accomplished manager. This may have been the case in the fixture with Brighton who, as a recently promoted side, may have been relishing their position as underdogs, potentially possessing fresh tactics for which Wenger may have needed to adapt. Yet, his club recorded a 2-0 victory and, whilst Wenger’s anniversary achievement may naturally claim the plaudits, the victory in this fixture may solely serve to highlight his ability to continue to motivate his team.
Having now elevated his side to fifth in the table, he may be showcasing how his philosophy may be proving dividends, with his prioritisation of keeping faith in players advancing his side’s cause. Yet, this season’s achievements, whilst naturally contributing to his status and legacy, may be secondary to recognising the accomplishments he has already amassed. Most notably, this occurred during the Brighton fixture, where the away side became the 45th different club to conclude the match on the receiving end versus Wenger, more than any other manager in the competition’s history; this may suggest how, upon attaining further experience, versus differing clubs with contrasting philosophies, he may be becoming increasingly erudite.
With the international interval forthcoming, Wenger may be seeking to productively utilise this period via honing his tactics, in order to ensure his players continue to be considered to represent their respective nations. Whilst his legacy may already be assured, due to both his vast tenure at the top level and expansive trophy cabinet, the debate surrounding his future seems to be ongoing, potentially placing Wenger under increasing pressure to deliver silverware; yet, this may be a challenge Wenger relishes, motivating him to achieve further success in order to prove he may continue to be proficient after two decades. With the debate resulting in increased focus on the club, and ensuring a wide breadth of fans may form an opinion on the situation, positive performances may also be important in laying the foundations for his successor to enter the fray, and with a smorgasbord of managers potentially aiming to replicate, and ultimately surpass, his achievements, it seems the club may return to the pinnacle.
How may Wenger utilise his experience as manager to ensure Arsenal return to the Champions League?