Arsenal and Premier League: 20 Years of Arguing with Arsene Wenger

Arsene Wenger Manager of Arsenal during the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 match between FC Barcelona and Arsenal played at The Camp Nou, Barcelona on March 16th 2016 Photo : Mike Egerton / PA Images / Icon Sport

This week marks the 20th anniversary of Arsene Wenger’s first press conference as Arsenal manager, and to mark the occasion, we’re looking back at some of his most memorable comments aimed at opposition managers.
“No. Perhaps he sent it by horse.”

Wenger’s response when asked if he’d received an apology from Sir Alex Ferguson in January 1999.
“Everyone thinks they have the prettiest wife at home.”

Wenger’s response following Ferguson’s claim in November 2002 that United had been the best side in the Premier League that season.
“I don’t like the way Sam Allardyce prepared that game with the referee. He put him under unbelievable pressure.”

Wenger criticised the then-Bolton manager in April 2003 after Arsenal threw away a two-goal advantage at the Reebok Stadium in the race for the title.
“Ferguson should calm down. Maybe it would have been better if he had put us against a wall and shot us.”

Another swipe at Sir Alex Ferguson was in response to the United manager’s claims that Arsenal received preferential treatment from officials after the heated affair at Old Trafford in October 2004.
“Ferguson doesn’t interest me and doesn’t matter to me at all. I will never answer to any provocation from him anymore.”

It was handbags at dawn in January 2005 after the United manager labelled Wenger as “a disgrace”.
“He’s out of order, disconnected with reality and disrespectful. When you give success to stupid people, it makes them more stupid sometimes and not more intelligent.”

Wenger fired shots at Jose Mourinho in response to his claim that Wenger was a “football voyeur”.
“You cannot say it is football anymore. It is more rugby on the goalkeepers than football. When you see the way Shawcross kicked Heurelho Gomes, how Robert Huth pushed Gomes in the goal, you cannot say that is football anymore.”

Wenger’s beautiful football teams have often struggled against more physical opposition and this dig was aimed at then-Stoke manager Tony Pulis’ tactics in September 2010.
“In hindsight I think I should not have reacted at all. It’s not a way to behave on a football field. Did Mourinho provoke me? That is how I felt. I did not enter Chelsea’s technical area.”

October 2014 saw a particularly heated game between Chelsea and Arsenal, with tensions bubbling over on the touchline. Wenger’s comment refers to him shoving Jose Mourinho in the technical area.

Words by @dominictrant