Wenger: Good Vs Evil: 22 years in the making

Will he / won't he?

So it’s finally over and apparently Arsene’s replacement will be announced next week. There’s been highs and lows, ups and downs, good times and bad, success and disaster, beauty and the beast, sublime and the ridiculous.

So I thought I’d look back at ‘The Wenger Years’ with the rest of the GunnersTown crew and compile:

Wenger: Good Vs Evil.

Some are blatantly obvious, some are outside the box.

First cab off the rank is, @alexburns1088

Best player – Thierry Henry

Worst player – Igor Stepanovs

High point – Winning the league at Old Trafford, for me that was Wenger’s best team and to win it at your biggest rivals was unbelievable.

Low point – the Champions League Final, only in terms of the disappointment and what it could’ve meant, 13 minutes from European glory and it was thrown away- still gutted.

Best goal – The first in the 2-2 draw that secured the title at Tottenham in 2004. To counter attack in that way and the movement off the ball was incredible. Peak Wengerball.
Worst defensive moment- the Szczesny- Koscielny clanger in the 2011 League Cup Final, need I say any more?

The one thing Wenger should be remembered for – creating 3 incredible teams and winning the league at 2 of your biggest rivals’ grounds. As well as the ability to keep us stable in between 2006-2013.

Short but sweet from @invinciblog

Best player: Henry
Worst player: Gervinho

High point: Arsenal 2-1 Leicester, 15 May 2004
Low point: United 8-2 Arsenal 28/8/2011

Best goal: Ramsey FA Cup Final 2013/14
Worst defensive moment: Koscielny v Atletico, 1st Leg Europa League Semi-final 2017/18

The one thing Wenger should be remembered for: Emirates Stadium (Ashburton Grove)

@yorkshiregunner added his two penneth…

Best Player: Vieira.
Bearing in mind back four and Bergkamp were in place when he came and most people will go for Henry,I am going for Vieira, people expected a Carlton Palmer style willing runner when we saw him. How wrong we were. We got a Souness/Platini Hybrid and a player coverted by every major club across Europe. Safe to say we still miss him today in the engine room.

Worst Player: Yaya Sanogo. Simply awful, worst technique of any pro I have ever seen. If he took 6 shots at John Lennon he’d still be alive today , imagine that!

High Point: So many but 98 season when we chased down Utd’s 12pt lead is the one for me. The training methods, creatine, diet etc really paid dividends the business end of the season when we looked so fresh while others fell away, Overmars and Bergkamp were exceptional and Anelka a breath of fresh air. For me going to OT and doing them at home was a sign we as a club were back and in the hunt for titles again.

Worst Moment: again so many to choose CL Final, Wayne Bridge etc. But when you lose a game 2-8 at any level it’s a sure sign something is wrong. We all saw it coming after another summer of inertia. This game proved the saying “fail to prepare, prepare to fail”.

Best Goal: Bergkamp v Newcastle. A masterclass in the art of bamboozling a defender.

Worst Defensive Moment: I could say Carew at Valencia but I will go for Wayne Bridge in CL. We really have underachieved in Europe under Wenger and that was a pivotal moment.

One Thing Wenger will be remembered for: Staying too long. His legacy has been tarnished but as the years go by the achievements will no doubt paint over that fact.

@bendraper87 chipped in with

Best Player – Thierry Henry, record goalscorer says it all

Worst Player – Igor Stepanovs – Terrible terrible defender

High Point – For me this is when we beat Newcastle 2-0 in the 98 cup final, I was 10 and this is one my earliest memories of supporting Arsenal

Low Point – Signing only Cech in the transfer window, started off so well by signing him early then…. nothing, Coming 2nd that year to Leicester really was a sickener

Best Goal – Bergkamp. Newcastle. say no more.

Worst defensive moment – When Kos and Szhes got mixed up against Birmingham in the Carling cup final. Wait Kos has a habit of this lol

The one thing Wenger should be remembered for – His unshakeable belief in his methods, it was his greatest strength, but ultimately his biggest weakness.

@garythegooner56 compiled his thoughts

The best player in the Wenger reign is very difficult. The best player I’ve ever seen in an Arsenal shirt was Dennis Bergkamp. The best striker and the player who transformed the most under Arsene was Thierry Henry. But for me the most important player of in the Wenger years was Patrick Vieira. The natural successor to Tony Adams as captain and the heartbeat of Arsene’s greatest sides.

There were so many bad defenders in the Wenger era. But for the worst player I have no hesitation in naming Igor Stepanovs. Looked like he was running through treacle and towing a caravan he was that slow and ponderous.

The high point of Wenger’s reign has to be the Invincibles. It has ensured that Arsene and the legendary players that achieved that incredible feat will be immortalised in Arsenal’s history.

The low point for me was probably when we lost that Champions League Final and failed to become the first team in London to win it. We played so well for so long with ten men and if only Thierry had buried that one-on-one in the back of the net they’d have been no coming back for Barcelona from 2-0. Never been so gutted walking out of a stadium after that match.

The worst defensive moment was very hard to choose as we’re spoilt for choice there! Could have picked the 8-2 at Old Trafford but I’ll settle for the 10-2 on aggregate embarrassing hammering by Bayern Munich. They cut through our defence so easily so many times like a knife through butter. We were shockingly bad in both legs. Utter humiliation for our defence.

As Arsene says himself what he thought was his best achievement and most difficult was keeping us in the top four and allowing us to dine at the top table in Europe from 2006 to 2015 on very limited resources and having to sell our best players while doing it. I’d like fans to remember him for doing that for us.

@bigjimmyv bigged up and down the following from the 17/18 season

Best player – Alexandre Lacazette

Worst player – Hector Bellerin

High point – The offensive performance vs Man Utd at home sadly it didn’t reflect in the score line

Low point – Liverpool away thrashing

Best goal – Ozil vs Huddersfield

Worst defensive moment – all 3 vs Man Utd at home

The one thing Wenger should be remembered for – Beautiful football, he changed peoples view of football being something to watch and admire as an art not just an athletic contest.

@dfresh10 gave his fresh approach

Best player – Patrick Vieira. He had everything you’d want in a midfielder. The reason we’ve never replaced him is because he’s irreplaceable.

Worst Player – Andres Santos. He just looked off the pace and one of our worst defensive fullbacks of the Wenger Era.

High Point – The ’98 Double Team. The perfect combination of pace and power that was unstoppable during the 2nd half of the year. It was Graham’s robust back line working in perfect harmony with early days Wengerball.

Low Point – The ’13/’14 season that saw us lose 6-3 to City, 5-1 to L’Pool and 6-0 to Chelsea. This was the death of Wengerball and the beginning of a tactical revolution where pure attacking football was falling away.

Best Goal – The Vieira counter attack goal that helped secure a point and league title at WHL

Worst Defensive Moment – The coming together of Sczesney and Koscielny in the League Cup final against Birmingham City.

One Thing to be Remembered For – The building of the Emirates combined with entertaining football at all costs. He felt the need to entertain as well as win. Up until the last few seasons, he entertained the hell out of us.

The boss, @goonerdave66 added his view

Best player – Whilst Tony Adams would be my favourite player from the Wenger era and Bergkamp the finest I imagine you are looking for a player that Wenger brought to The Arsenal. In which case it is impossible to look beyond Thierry Henry. The haTrick to get the unbeaten league season back on track in April 2004 changed Arsenal football history and the list of wonder goals is endless.

Worst player – This is a tricky one and there are so many easy options, such as Park, Stephanovs and even the entirely under whelming, for us at least, Nelson Vivas. However, I am going to go a bit left field and say the Beast, Julio Baptiste. Wenger has tried to sign a player who has scored 38 goals in 63 League appearances for Sevilla in the summer of 2005. He was gazumped by Real Madrid but a year later secure the services of the Brazilian on loan. On the back of the 2006 Champions League Final disappointment and with Thierry arguably beyond his best and increasingly injured, this was an signing that excited me and most Gooners. Sadly, for whatever reason the Arsenal faithful never got to see the Beast we have all expected and we got more of a timid shrew.

High point – Of course there are so many to choose from and it would be easy to say winning the league at Old Trafford but I think it fair with so many to select from to go with an actual game I was at and that would be the last game of 03/04 at home to Leicester when 90 minutes stood between Arsenal and Premier League Invincibility. On a pure emotional high the last game at Highbury had everything of course – a win, another Henry hatrick, the Spurs capitulation at Upton Park, the leaving of the old home and the old players in the after match party.

Low point – Wenger’s total disrespect of the FA Cup in the austerity years will forever grate and the changing 10 players for the trip to play Premier League opposition, particularly as it was Stoke was the lowest point. We lost 3-1 and it was the day Wenger threw in a returning and hopelessly unfit Sol, Campbell. That and of course the League Cup Final defeat to Birmingham which should have ended the Trophy drought.

Best goal – Arshavin’s winner v Barca. Ultimately it counted for nothing but the high on the night was unreal and the fact that it was such an Arsenal team goal from back to front at speed.

The one thing Wenger should be remembered for – The best football England Club football had ever witnessed in the period from 1998 to 2004.

And finally me, @Wellmington

Best player – Dennis Bergkamp
I know he wasn’t a Wenger signing, but he played his best football under Arsene. For me, up there with Cruyff, Maradona, Ronaldinho and Best as one of the best players of all time.

Worst player – Kaba Diawara or Fabián Caballero. In 1999 Wenger was searching for a replacement for Anelka. And he didn’t find him in either of these two muppets.

High point – Theres been a few, but celebrate in United and Spuds back yards were serious high points for me
Low point – Copenhagen May 2000, awful game, awful penalties, awful flight back. Chuck Galatasaray fans into the mix and you have a pretty depressing day.

Best goal –

3rd May 1998, Adams Vs Everton, more for the drama than the actual goal.

Worst defensive moment – the combined team defensive performance Vs United on 28th August 2011

The one thing Wenger should be remembered for – He may be seen as stubborn and it may have been his downfall, but Arsene had his philosophy and he stuck to it through thick and thin. WENGERBALL

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