This article will tell you about the five biggest controversies in Arsene Wenger’s managerial career
Arsène Wenger, the iconic French football manager who enjoyed an illustrious career at Arsenal, has had a relatively controversy-free tenure compared to some of his counterparts.
However, there have been a few notable controversies involving Wenger throughout his managerial journey. It is important to note that while these controversies emerged during Wenger’s tenure at Arsenal, his overall legacy is overwhelmingly positive.
Wenger’s reign at Arsenal brought unprecedented success, including three Premier League titles and seven FA Cup wins. He revolutionized the club with his emphasis on stylish, attacking football and his nurturing of young talent.
Wenger’s contributions to the game and his impact on Arsenal’s identity as a club remain widely recognized and celebrated.
Here are five instances that sparked controversy during Arsène Wenger’s career.
Altercations with Other Managers
Wenger has had his fair share of altercations with fellow managers over the years. One notable incident occurred in 2005 when he clashed with Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson during a match.
The managers had a heated exchange on the touchline, and it resulted in both of them being charged by the Football Association. These confrontations often fueled the already intense rivalry between the clubs involved.
The ‘Battle of Old Trafford’ Incident
In October 2003, during a highly charged match between Arsenal and Manchester United at Old Trafford, a brawl broke out involving players from both teams.
The incident, dubbed the ‘Battle of Old Trafford,’ occurred after Arsenal’s Ruud van Nistelrooy missed a penalty kick in the dying minutes of the match.
Wenger accused van Nistelrooy of deliberately fouling Arsenal’s players, resulting in a mass confrontation. The incident overshadowed the match and led to retrospective punishments for several players involved.
Feud with José Mourinho
Wenger’s rivalry with José Mourinho, the Portuguese manager, became one of the most well-known in English football.
The feud between the two escalated in the mid-2000s when Mourinho, then managing Chelsea, made disparaging remarks about Wenger.
The feud included verbal jabs and heated exchanges in press conferences. Their tense relationship added an extra layer of drama whenever their teams faced each other, and it became a prominent storyline in English football.
Criticism of Referees
Wenger has occasionally voiced his displeasure with refereeing decisions, leading to controversy and fines from governing bodies. In 2017, he received a four-match touchline ban and a fine for pushing the fourth official during a match against Burnley.
Wenger’s frustration with refereeing decisions often attracted media attention and sparked debates about the role of managers in publicly criticizing match officials.
Fan Protests and Calls for His Resignation
In recent years, as Arsenal’s performances dipped and the club struggled to challenge for major titles, a section of the Arsenal fanbase grew increasingly frustrated with Wenger’s leadership.
From 2016 to 2018, there were widespread protests and calls for his resignation. Banners, chants, and even airplane flyovers conveyed the fans’ dissatisfaction with the team’s performance under Wenger.
The division among supporters became a significant talking point and put immense pressure on the manager.