It is 17 years to the day since Wenger’s first Arsenal game

Wenger Statue

Arsene Wenger took charge of his first game as Arsenal boss against Blackburn Rovers 17 years ago.

Arsenal are currently top of the Premier League after overcoming a nightmare first game of the season against Aston Villa.

Since then they have been in a rich vein of form that has seen them climb to the top of the Premier League. It has been a tough time in recent months and years for Wenger, as silverware remains elusive and the #WengerOut brigade saw their voices getting louder and louder.

But 17 years ago today, the Frenchman bought in as a surprise replacement from Nagoya Grampus Eight after a successful eighteen month spell in Japan saw him the envy of several big name clubs, took control of his first game as Arsenal boss.

They won 2-0 at Ewood Park against Blackburn Rovers - with goals from Ian Wright doing the trick. 

He replaced Bruce Rioch after a bust-up with the board of directors over transfer funds - and the rest is now history.

On the day, The Evening Standard greeted him with the title ‘Arsene Who?’

Wenger then signed players that would go on to become legends at the club.

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Patrick Vieira arrived, a young wing-back called Thierry Henry became the clubs record goal-scorer, he made Tony Adams the complete defender.

Then came the likes of Emmanuel Petit, Freddie Ljungberg, Robert Pires, Sol Campbell and most recently Mesut Ozil became cult signings at the club.

But the most impressive tally has to be his honours list. Three Premier League titles, four FA Cup trophies and four FA Community Shield wins - but it has been a long time coming since the last one.

The FA Cup win of 2005 gets further and further out of touch with this generation of Arsenal fans. There are now young fans going to The Emirates with their dads who probably do not remember that win against Manchester United.

This season however, the fans at The Emirates are rightly getting excited. The likes of Ozil along with the form of Aaron Ramsey, Olivier Giroud and Per Mertesacker for example gives the fans hope that The Gunners can finally win a trophy of the four they can possibly collect this term.

So on the day, 17 years since his appointment as manager, we ask whether Arsenal can win silverware this season?

image: © dyobmit

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