The Europa League: our most succesful manager and who we can play in the next round

By Bulldog Drummond

There is still quite a way to go in terms of knowing which teams have qualified for the next rounds of the Europa League.

So far just four teams have already made it to the round of 16, and as a result, will be seeded in the draw for that round.  They are Real Betis, Union Saint-Gilloise of Belgium, Freiburg (Germany) and Ferencvaros of Hungary.

As we know, both qualifiers from Arsenal’s group are through (we just don’t know yet which of the two will have to play in the knockout round).   In group B the same situation applies before the final game, with Fenerbahce and Rennes both going through, and in group E we have Real Sociedad and Manchester United qualified.

As for who will join in from the Champions League, after finishing third in the group stages, five of the eight teams are now known: Ajax, Bayer Leverkusen, Barcelona, Sporting CP, and Sevilla.

All told Arsenal have played 76 games in the Europa League and its predecessor, the Uefa Cup, before this final group stage match for 2022/3, winning 44, drawing 13, and losing 19.  152 goals have been scored by Arsenal and 77 conceded, giving the club a +75 goal difference and a 57.89% win percentage.

Now that figure is interesting when we look at our recent managers and what they have achieved in competitive matches (excluding wartime leagues, and pre-season trophies etc).  These figures of course also cover competitive matches only.  Unai Emery managed 78 competitive games and had a win percentage of 55.13%.  Mikel Arteta is now on 145 games and has reached a win percentage of 57.93%.   And before them, Arsene Wenger managed 1235 competitive games and had a win percentage of 57.25%.

This makes Mikel Arteta our most successful permanent manager ever!  The only manager who gets close to him is Joe Shaw, and you will be excused if you have not heard of him.  He was the assistant to Herbert Chapman and manager of the reserve team, who took over when Chapman passed away in January 1934.  Shaw then managed the first team for the rest of that season before Allison took over.  After that he went back to managing the reserve team, despite having guided the first team to the second of its three successive titles.

But now returning to Europe,… Of the 76 games played in competitive matches in Europe by Arsenal,  only seven of these games have been against Swiss teams, and all seven of those games have been won.   Arsenal have scored 16 goals and conceded three.

In terms of competition success in Europe, the Europa League / Uefa Cup has been our most successful area of competition.  Before this season started we had a 57.89% win rate, which as things stand at the moment has now been taken even higher…


Competition P W D L F A GD W%
Europa League / UEFA Cup prior to this season 76 44 13 19 152 77 +75 57.89
Europa League this season 5 4 0 1 7 3 +4 80%
Europa league including this season 81 48 13 20 159 80 +79 59.25


As the table above shows that win percentage rate is now 59.25%.

So we are playing a game in a competition in which we normally win, against a side from a country whose teams we always beat, with the man who, again in terms of win percentages, is our most successful of all time.   It is tempting to ask what on earth might go wrong.

But of course such a question could be tempting fate.

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