The longest reigning manager in Arsenal history often found himself involved in unwanted feud with fellow managers. The professor, nicknamed such for his studious demeanor, failed to get himself in control of the emotions at times when being questioned by his colleagues off the field. Wenger always mentioned that his managerial stint at Japan helped him control emotions and keep his behaviour at ease.
Here we take a look at some infamous incidents concerning the Frenchman in the history of the beautiful game –
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1. Jose Mourinho and the ‘ Voyeur’
The ‘Special One’, always famous for his disgraceful remarks, labelled Wenger as a ‘Voyeur’ after the later remarked about a ‘little lack of belief’ at Stamford Bridge following Chlesea’s stumbling draw against Everton in November 2005. Wenger responded promptly saying that the comment was disrespectful and irrelevant as he had no intention in the dressing room gossips of his London rivals.
The rivalry renewed in 2014 as Mourinho returned at the Stamford Bridge and Wenger stated that the managers did not want to take responsibility of Chelsea’s failure. In response, Mourinho called Wenger ‘A Specialist in failure’ which the later again found utterly silly, disrespectful and embarrassing for the Blues.
With the off-the-field drama never having ceased, Mourinho edged ahead of Wenger on the field with his unbeaten record against the French Manager.
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2. Alex Ferguson – ‘The ‘Battle of the Buffet’
Following a Premier League match at Old Trafford on 24th October 2004, Manchester United ended Arsenal’s unbeaten run of 49 games after a dubious penalty was awarded to Wayne Rooney. After the match, an Arsenal player, reportedly Cesc Fabregas, threw a pizza at Sir Alex. Wenger lashed at the referee Mike Riley and Van nistelrooy in the post-match interview and termed the later as cheat due to his foul play after challenge to Ashley Cole.
The British media termed this match as ‘The Battle of Buffet’ and Ferguson commented that the ‘Pizzagate’ incident had scrambled Arsene’s brain. After a long wait of 5 years, the both managers agreed that they have come to a respectful relationship of rivalry in 2009.
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3. Martin Jol and the North London derby
Wenger’s Arsenal had always held an edge over Spurs in the north London derby. Over the years, Arsenal have always found the top four spot with Tottenham battling its way in the mid-table. After Martin Jol took the charge over the Lillywhites, he gave the fans a sense of pride always in tough clashes.
With two Arsenal players staying down at the field, the referee kept the play on and Robbie Keane gave Spurs the lead in the last North London derby at Highbury. Following this incident and the dutchman’s “Play ! Play ! ” shout, Wenger failed to conceal his emotions and went on to a direct confrontation with his North London counterpart.
The aggravated heat between the managers seemed to have calm down later as Jol left Tottnenham the next year for Hamburger SV. Later the Dutch manager took charge over Fulham and again the two old rivals came face-to-face in Premier League. Be it Spurs or Fulham, Wenger always dominated over Jol as far as the on-field performance is concerned.
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4. Wenger pushed Alan Pardew
It will be remembered as one of the notorious brawls beside the sidelines over the history of Premier League. After Alan Pardew, the then manager of West Ham United, celebrated a goal from the Hammers hysterically, Wenger was infuriated and pushed Pardew rather badly. Making it worse, he refused to shake hands with Pardew which altogether saw Wenger fined £10,000 by the F.A.
Later Pardew, also famous for his controversial gestures, confirmed that it was nothing personal.
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5. Mark Hughes- War of words
Mark Hughes always had a crabby relationship with the Frenchman. This feud started with their verbal clash after Arsenal’s FA Cup semifinal victory over Blackburn in 2005. 4 years later, Wenger reignited the battle when he committed the managerial crime of refusing to shake hands with Hughes following a 3-0 loss to Manchester City in a Carling Cup clash.