Such is the tenure of Arsene Wenger at Arsenal that in the North London Derby on Saturday, the Professor will face off against Mauricio Pochettino, the 17th different Tottenham manager (including caretakers) during the Frenchman’s reign of which he has faced 11 (Some caretakers were for a very short period). Some of those 11 tasted victory, most tasted defeat and all tasted the sack. Ahead of Saturday’s North London Derby we look back at who Wenger has outwitted and outlasted in his time at the helm.
Gerry Francis – Played 3 Lost 1 Drew 2
Francis was the first to taste a match-up against Wenger and was the first to taste defeat, starting a trend that many others would follow.
Christian Gross – Played 1 Drew 1
Only played Arsenal once, at home, drew 1-1.
George Graham – Played 5 Won 1 Drew 2 Lost 2
The ultimate sacrilege. George Graham who had an illustrious playing career with Arsenal also got his big break in management with the Islington based club. But after he was removed for some dodgy dealings decided to cross to the other side of North London. Neither sets of supporters were happy, however Graham won the biggest trophy Spurs could dream about, the League Cup, and managed the first league victory over a Wenger Arsenal side with a 2-1 win thanks to Sherwood and Iversen.
David Pleat – Played 1 Lost 1
A caretaker that did little more than watch Arsenal win 2-0 at Highbury through the French duo of Henry and Pires.
Glenn Hoddle – Played 5 Lost 3 Drew 2
Glenn Hoddle was hailed as the return of the King as Spurs fans got dizzy with anticipation. By the time he left it would be dizzy with disappointment as Wenger’s Arsenal refused to taste defeat to Hoddles men. His first game was an FA Cup defeat to the Gunners and two draws was as good as it got for Glenn’s men.
David Pleat – Played 2 Lost 1 Drew 1
Caretaking again. Without victory again. Lost 2-1 and drew 2-2 in a game that sealed Arsenal the title in the Unbeatables season. Extra sweet for the red side of North London.
Martin Jol – Played 9 Lost 5 Drew 4
I remember Martin Jol being a tough character and the North London Derbies under his tutelage were outstanding games. His first was mentioned in my list of top high scoring premier league games piece the other day (5-4 to Arsenal). And although he played Wenger the most times and made it difficult to beat the enemy, Jol never tasted victory against Wenger. Even losing out on the final day of 2005 to Arsenal, while playing West Ham!
Juande Ramos – Played 3 Won 1 Drew 1 Lost 1
What Ramos could at least claim was that he beat Arsenal and he beat them convincingly. It was a 5-1 win in the Carling Cup semi final that will be remembered fondly for Bendtner and Adebayor headbutting each other. This was also the first time that Arsenal lost a game in which Adebayor scored. Of course he lost his only league encounter with the Gunners.
Harry Redknapp – Played 9 Won 3 Drew 3 Lost 3
Boyhood Arsenal supporter Redknapp got the opportunity to coach Spurs after leading Portsmouth to a historical FA Cup victory. Redknapp then oversaw the most successful patch of the North London Derby as he started with the ridiculous 4-4 draw with Arsenal at the Emirates, memorable for Arsenal old boy Bentley scoring the goal of his life. They finally won a league game against the Gunners after 11 years of waiting with Danny Rose scoring the goal of his life (See the theme?). He also saw the frankly ridiculous come from behind 3-2 win at Emirates thanks to a late Younes Kaboul goal. Of course Wenger made it right as Redknapp’s last North London Derby would be the match they led 2-0 only to lose 5-2 to an Arsenal blitz.
Andre Villas-Boas – Played 3 Won 1 Lost 2
AVB was never a popular figure in England and struggled to bring his Porto swagger to the United Kingdom. And after also facing a 5-2 defeat he did oversea a Gareth Bale inspired 2-1 win for Spurs before losing his final North London Derby 1-0 to the handsome french bloke named Olivier Giroud. He also watched an Arsenal side “in a spiral” overhaul his side to finish in the Champions League spots and above Spurs again.
Tim Sherwood – Played 2 Lost 2
Another Arsenal fan had the indignity of only managing Spurs for half a season and still losing to Arsenal twice. Once was en route to winning the FA Cup for the Gunners thanks to Cazorla and Rosicky. The loss in the league was down to a thunderbolt goal for Rosicky in the second minute. The season had seen Spurs fail to score in three matches against the Gunners.
Overall Arsenal vs Tottenham in Wenger’s time at the club across all competitions reads as follows:
Played – 43
Tottenham Wins – 6
Draws – 17
Arsenal Wins – 20
I think its pretty safe to say North London is most definitely red, let’s do it again on Saturday night!