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Arteta is Arsenal’s fourth most successful manager of all time*

*excluding Pat Rice who only managed four games.

By Tony Attwood

When a manager leaves a club, normally all his team leave at the same time.  This certainly happened with Mr Wenger and Mr Emery.  Which meant that Mr Arteta needed to recruit his own staff, rather than have a team ready to move with him.

That was a problem of course because Arteta had not managed before and so did not have a ready made team.

Arsène Wenger had previously offered Arteta the chance to lead  the Arsenal Academy but he turned that down and instead he took up the post of being part of the coaching team at Manchester City working along with Brian Kidd and Domènec Torrent, the deputies of Pep Guardiola.

It was  Guardiola in particular who thought Arteta would make a coach, and Guardiola used Arteta as a way to get information on Chelsea when Barcelona were drawn against them in the Champions League.  Arteta also worked as stand-in manager when Guardiola was banned from the touchline.

However although the media talked up the chance of Arteta being the new Arsenal manager after the club decided to cancel Arsène Wenger’s contract a year early as we all know it was Unai Emery who was appointed instead.

As we also know Mr Wenger left Arsenal with a win percentage of 57.25%. the highest win percentage of any long term manager at the time.  Although Unai Emery did not meet that level, and of course managed for a much shorter time, he did have a win percentage of 55.13%, the second highest of any permanent manager with the club.

As for Mr Arteta he became the first manager since George Graham to pick up a trophy in his first season.

The first warning however that something might go amiss was when he announced that, “I want people to take responsibility for their jobs and I want people who deliver passion and energy in the football club. Anyone who doesn’t buy into this, or that has a negative effect or whatever, is not good enough for this environment or this culture.”

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To say that on entering a club the size of Arsenal, having never managed before seemed like giving a hostage to fortune especially when he had no team of assistants he could call upon, who had worked under his as manager before.  And indeed it led to the departure of Guendouzi and the non-use of Ozil.

Nevertheless in his first season in management at Arsenal, to 20 December 2019, it all looked to be going quite well.

  • Wins 16
  • Draws 7
  • Defeats 6
  • Winning Percentage 55% out of 29 games

and this this season…

  • Wins: 13
  • Draws: 2
  • Defeats: 8
  • Win percentage: 56% out of 23 games.

Overall 29 wins out of 52 games which is a win percentage of 55.77% which puts him above all his predecessors except Wenger in the modern era.

But of course there is a problem here and that is the Europa games – that is where six of his victories have come.  True they are still victories and they had to be won, and true the manager used the youth team extensively so they are real victories but they are making the figures look a bit lopsided.

Mr Emery’s figures without the Europa League read

  • Won: 22
  • Drawn: 9
  • Defeats: 13
  • Win percentage: 50%

So we might ask, why are we getting so worked up with a manager who has a 50% win record – or 56% if the Europa League is included…  Let’s compare his record with the rest…

Manager Arrived Departed Games % Wins
Herbert Chapman 11 June 1925 6 January 1934 411 49.64
Joe Shaw  6 January 1934 28 May 1934 23 60.87
George Allison 28 May 1934 31 May 1947 279 46.24
Tom Whittaker 2 June 1947 24 October 1956 430 47.21
Jack Crayston  24 October 1956 19 May 1958 81 41.98
George Swindin 21 June 1958 1 May 1962 186 40.86
Billy Wright 1 May 1962 13 June 1966 182 38.46
Bertie Mee  20 June 1966 4 May 1976 539 44.71
Terry Neill 9 July 1976 16 December 1983 416 44.95
Don Howe  16 December 1983 22 March 1986 117 46.15
Steve Burtenshaw  23 March 1986 14 May 1986 11 27.27
George Graham 14 May 1986 21 February 1995 460 48.91
Stewart Houston  21 February 1995 15 June 1995 19 36.84
Bruce Rioch 15 June 1995 12 August 1996 47 46.81
Stewart Houston  12 August 1996 13 September 1996 6 33.33
Pat Rice  13 September 1996 30 September 1996 4 75.00
Arsène Wenger 1 October 1996 13 May 2018 1,235 57.25
Unai Emery 23 May 2018 29 November 2019 78 55.13
Freddie Ljungberg 29 November 2019 21 December 2019 6 16.67
Mikel Arteta 22 December 2019 Present 52 55.77

The problem is that all those defeats have come at once in the League, which gives us a bad position.  But looked at this way, Mr Arteta happens to be one of our most successful managers.  Indeed one of an elite group of managers who have achieved a win rate of over 50%:  Here they all are

Manager Arrived Departed Games % Wins
Joe Shaw  6 January 1934 28 May 1934 23 60.87 %
Pat Rice  13 September 1996 30 September 1996 4 75.00 %
Arsène Wenger 1 October 1996 13 May 2018 1,235 57.25 %
Unai Emery 23 May 2018 29 November 2019 78 55.13 %
Mikel Arteta 22 December 2019 Present 52 55.77 %

Joe Shaw, in case you don’t know the name, was the reserve team coach who took over Arsenal upon the death of Herbert Chapman mid-season.  He carried on the work and won the title, before stepping back down to the reserves the following season.

Pat Rice’s run came while we were all waiting for Arsene Wenger to arrive in 1996.

So, maybe with a win rate of 55.77%, which is 0.64% better than Unai Emery, we should keep him with us.  Although we might ask, was it worth all the cost of getting rid of Mr Wenger one year early, and Mr Emery half a season early, in order to stay pretty much where we were, in terms of wins.   (We might also note that most of the time Mr Wenger managed us in the Champions League, where things were a bit tougher.  But maybe that’s a different matter).

5 comments to Arteta is Arsenal’s fourth most successful manager of all time*

  • gee

    the problem with what you are saying is that arteta stats, his wins, losses, draws etc can improve or get worse as his final figures have not been concluded as yet.

    Judging by our form i expect those figures for arteta to get worse not better.

  • Your comments might have some validity if we only played in the Europa League against teams who would in the main struggle in the the lower divisions let alone the EPL

    However we play in the EPL and the results there are abysmal with no immediate prospect of any improvement.

    Your understandable reluctance to showing Arteta the door has to be weighed against the additional damage of not going so.

    This experiment had been a resounding failure. It is now town to put both sides out of their misery.

    If we can lose at home to Burnley then there us no one below us who will fear playing us.

    Further delay brings us closer to disaster.

  • K Fourie

    Artete press conference. “I want fighters not victims’ For me that also include supporters. Amen

  • K Fourie

    Artete press conference “I want fighters not victims” For me it also apply for us supporters.

  • ron

    if you take away the cup competitions it looks worse and secondly football has changed in the past teams at the top did not dominate to the same extent. the number of loses by the league winners was higher so later managers of the top teams will inevitably look much better. hopefully the team will nowstart winning in the league otherwise arsenal will have a new manager