Arsène Wenger


Nancy 1985-1987. Relegated in 1987
Monaco 1987-1994. League Champions 1988, French Cup Winners 1991
Nagoya Grampus Eight, Japan 1995-1996. Emperor‘s Cup Winners, J-League Super Cup Winners 1996
Arsenal 1996-present. Premier League Champions 1998, 2002, 2004, FA Cup Winners 1998, 2002, 2003, 2005.

5 Coaching Points from Wenger

  1. 1



I believe it [playing attractive football] is the best way to win trophies…if you get bored the whole year and then lift a trophy at the end of it and then be happy for three days it is worse to do that….it cannot last…who plays the best football? Brazil. So why should there be opposition to that style of play?  Arsene Wenger, The Mirror, 26 October 2009
When we don‘t win people question our approach, but we were the only team to go on an entire season unbeaten and we played in the exact the same
spirit. Arsene Wenger, The Times, 8 November 2008
I tell you they are brave…For me, you need to have more courage to play football when you know someone‘s tackling you from behind without any intention to play the ball, with only one intention to hurt you and I can show you some tackles where I can prove what I say. The one who is tackling is not the brave one, for me the brave one is the one trying to play football.
It happened at the weekend. Do you really feel that Delap tried to play the ball when he tackled Walcott or that Shawcross tried to play the ball when he tackled Adebayor off the pitch? All the players have been injured deliberately.
To say that Walcott is not brave and the brave one is the player who tackles Walcott from behind - it‘s just not true. It is something that I want to establish. The brave one is not the one who tackles from behind the player who tries to play football. That‘s the coward. When you question the courage of my team, I‘m sorry it‘s not true. The team that tries to play football and respect the rules is for me the brave one. Arsene Wenger, The Times, 2009
  1. 2


I believe the biggest common factor in top players is that they are good at analysing themselves. They can asses their performance and their reactions The Telegraph 8 February 2009
In assessing a player Wenger says he looks for
intelligence, motivational level and talent

Wenger likes the small sided game. This was highlighted in an interview published in FourFourTwo magazine.

like five a side because it develops all the qualities that are important to the modern game. It‘s fast so it improves your vision, agility and movement and because you touch the ball so often, your technique improves too. Today, every player should be able to defend and attack so this game is essential for player‘s development. If a player has played five a side I instantly know he knows how to defend, keep the ball, pass the ball and finish. If, combined with good vision and understanding, he will have all the technical tools to be a top player.
The ideal five a side player is calm, has sharp technique, analyses things very quickly, turns quickly and has very short backlift in taking his shots because you don‘t have much time. For me Cesc Fa-bregas has all these ingredients. He‘s always at ease when he‘s un-der pressure because he can turn pass and shoot quickly. Plus he has super vision which is crucial. In five a side, just like in 11 a side players who see things early are the players who make you win. Vi-sion comes above all, it‘s the most important quality.
The interception is the most important of all [skills] because in five a side every time you lose the ball you risk conceding a goal - and every time you win it, you have a chance to score. When you get the ball, the first pass you make is very important – how quickly can you find the striker? How quickly can you take a shot? And can you finish when you get the chance. For my dream team I‘d chose players with a low centre of gravity because they operate best in small space. Two defenders not fighters but who are good at reading the game, two midfielders one creative one who is more of an all-rounder, a striker who is quick to analyse situations
  1. 3


You check that every day that the team is bonded. You try always to make sure it is integrated. It is never guaranteed, and it is very fragile and vulnerable. It can be upset by exterior factors or interior factors and can disintegrate very easily. It is the skill of the manager to always assess it and to address the situation when needed. A team is made of a collection of individuals. Sometimes a few individuals feel they do not need to put their energy into the team as much, and think more about themselves. That quickly has consequences for the team

The following is a handout that Wenger gave to his Team before a game in 2008. It emphasises the importance of the TEAM.

Confidential Team Meeting 19th September 2008
The team: A team is as strong as the relationships within it.

The driving force of a team is its member‘s ability to create and maintain excellent relationships within the team that can add an extra dimension and robustness to the team dynamic.

This attitude can be used by our team to focus on the gratitude and the vitally im-portant benefits that the team brings to our own lives. It can be used to strengthen and deepen the relationships within it and maximise the opportunities that await a strong and united team.

Our team becomes stronger by:
Displaying a positive attitude on and off the pitch
Everyone making the right decisions for the team
Have an unshakeable belief that we can achieve our target
Believe in the strength of the team
Always want more – always give more
Focus on our communication
Be demanding with yourself
Be fresh and well prepared to win
Focus on being mentally stronger and always keep going until the end
When we play away from home, believe in our identity and play the football we love to play at home
Stick together
Stay grounded and humble as a player and as a person
Show the desire to win in all that you do
Enjoy and contribute to all that is special about being in a team – don‘t take it for granted

  1. 4


We don‘t do many drills at Arsenal, training is mainly little games with a tight pitch and when the ball goes out another comes in straight always on there is limited recovery. That‘s why we play such quick football. When its 2 or 3 touch you cant use your dribbling and have to find different ways to get past
players Theo Walcott, The Sunday Times, 26 October 2008

You have to pause every 20 minutes as they cannot keep a longer focus, but the big row in the Olympics, about the gymnast who they said was only 12, teaches you at 12 you can be technically at the top level in the world. But I ask, speaking as a father of a five-year-old, what can I teach him at that age? To kick correctly the ball. To put him in situations where he develops his skill. The talent of a coach is to put an exercise to a player that he has to find the solution to. If he does not, you teach him to do it better.
If the exercise is too easy, or too difficult, he will not learn. And he has to find it out for himself. What makes football special is you have a billion techniques. It is not like in tennis where you hit the ball.Wenger demonstrates a low forehand. Then, with more demonstration, he adds, ―In football when you come to hit the ball you have someone pushing you on the top of your left shoulder, and you still have to keep your balance and hit the ball right. At the start your basic movements have to be right, then you adapt.
When you have such a young team you have to be intelligent…show belief…that means tomorrow will be better than yesterday. The younger you are the more you need support. Arsene Wenger, The Telegraph, 24 October 2008
If you are not that physical, and can‘t win that battle, you have to come up with other solutions, better first touch, quicker passing, better crossing, better finishing.
I think it is beautiful when I have the ball and can shoot, but I pass to a team mate who scores. I don‘t see it happen with other teams very often. I see lots of strikers playing for themselves- they want to score, football is a team sport. Robin van Persie, 25 October 2008
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Arsene Wenger believes that top teams have to be able to attack and that defending is a means to an end.

I am a fan of good defending. I want my team to defend well and to express what they have to say when they have the ball. The target is to defend because you want to say something. When I listen to you, I defend; when I speak, I attack.
If you look at the statistics of the two teams, we have scored a similar amount of goals," he said. "In the passing quality in the final third and in the opposition half, we are as good as Manchester United. We have conceded more goals and that is where the difference lies; we have conceded 36, they have conceded

One of the reasons soccer is so popular is that not only is it a beautiful game to play, it can be a beautiful game to watch thanks to managers such as Sir Alex Fergusson, Arsene Wenger and Frank Rickard of Barcelona.

Wenger, the inspirational Arsenal manager, believes Arsenal play the 'beautiful game‘. As a result it is understandable that he gets frustrated by the comment they got 'in your faces and stopped you playing!‘

just want to say we try to play football and try to bring the good things out of the game. What I think of football is that it can be fantastic, beautiful and unite the world, and that‘s the side we try to get out of our game. We try to play beautiful football but all other things are the responsibility of the other team. We never play with hate, it is not in our culture at all.
Wenger‘s point is his team tried to play the beautiful game. Why don't we ask why the opposition didn't try to be creative and adopt an attacking style of play?
Putting the building of a club, the development of young players and the production of entertaining football at least on a par with winning. What is important to me is to play in a fair way - moral integrity is important.