Last night in Greece, Arsene Wenger managed his 200th match in European club football, which by any standards is a momentous achievement.
Wenger, who took charge of Arsenal in 1996, unofficially at half time in a match against Borussia Monchengladbach, said:
‘It is an impressive number because 200 games usually make a whole career. It’s a privilege to play 200 games in Europe.
‘It has meant many hotels, many planes and many big games — that is the most important thing. Now, we’ll try to do well on this occasion. (Oh well never mind!) Of these 200 games in Europe, there must be about 160 in the Champions League. That is at the highest level and it’s been a fantastic experience.
‘We’ve had many highlights because over the years we have won everywhere. Maybe the only place we didn’t win is Barcelona. We have won in Madrid, Milan, Rome, Germany and France. We have won everywhere. That means Arsenal is remembered well all over Europe as a strong club.’
However, despite his consistency taking his beloved Arsenal into the knockout stages of the Champions League for and incredible 12th successive year, this season Wenger has yet to taste the ultimate success in Europe, losing in the finals of both the 2000 UEFA Cup to Galatasaray on penalties and the 2006 Champions League 2-1 against Barcelona in Paris.
This week he was asked to name his favourite moment, the Frenchman said:
‘To go the whole season unbeaten in the 2006 Champions League, apart from the last 13 minutes.’
Well I think Le Boss is cheating a bit there as that is hardly a moment is it Arsene? So I would like to ask Gunnershere.com readers the same question. Which match or moment during Wenger’s long history of European campaigns is the first that springs to your mind and causes you to grin inanely?
On the back of this week’s press conference, before the Olympiacos game at which Wenger was awarded an achievement award for this 200 matches, Mirror Sport chose it’s top 5 moments. These were the following epic encounters:
5. The 2-1 defeat to Barcelona at the Stade de France in 2006 – Sol Campbell so soon after his apparent breakdown at half time against West Ham back to head us in front. 9 days after our last match at our spiritual home, surely despite being with 10 men, this was to be our night? I was fortunate to be in the stadium and I turned to my 11-year-old son after 65 minutes and said ‘I think we are going to do this!’ Sadly it was not to be and I will always remember it for the substition of Pires not being anyway to bring down the curtain on a legends career. Juan Antonio Reyes should have been the one to make way.