Arsene Wenger’s top 5 rivalries throughout history


Sir Alex Ferguson (Manchester United)

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“The two bosses were never friends but their rivalry came to a head in 2004 when United ended Arsenal’s 49-game unbeaten run. Clashes outside the dressing room after the fiery contest saw pizza thrown over Ferguson, who revealed in his autobiography that the rift was not healed until after a Champions League semi-final in 2009 when Wenger congratulated his contemporary on beating the Gunners. Speaking earlier this season, Wenger said he had ‘very, very, very heated moments’ with Ferguson but now he is ‘happy to see him’ as they share a glass of wine.”

Jose Mourinho (Chelsea, Manchester United)

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“It was against Wenger that Mourinho would focus plenty of his words, even during his press conference after being appointed as United manager himself last summer. The Portuguese memorably labelled Wenger a ‘voyeur’ and a ‘specialist in failure’, while the Arsenal boss questioned the tactics of some Mourinho sides. Their rivalry escalated to a physical one when Wenger pushed Mourinho during a 2-0 Chelsea win in 2014, just months after his 1,000th game in charge of the Gunners saw them humbled 6-0 by Mourinho’s Blues.”

Alan Pardew (West Ham, Charlton, Newcastle, Crystal Palace, West Brom)

“Wenger’s rivalry with Pardew began in March 2006, when the then-West Ham manager criticised the Arsenal boss for not picking any English players in a Champions League win over Real Madrid. Wenger accuse Pardew of xenophobia. This escalated in November, when Pardew extravagantly celebrated West Ham’s late winner over Arsenal. Wenger responded by pushing Pardew, claiming he had been provoked. Wenger was later fined while Pardew was cleared by the FA. Although the pair have had few confrontations since, the sight of them squaring up in the Upton Park technical area remains a symbol of their relationship.”


Sam Allardyce (Bolton, Newcastle, Blackburn, West Ham, Crystal Palace, Everton)

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“Allardyce rubbed Wenger up the wrong way — with their relationship not helped by the fact ‘Big Sam’s’ Bolton became Arsenal’s bogey side. Between 2003 and 2006, Allardyce’s Trotters played eight games against Arsenal and lost only once as Wenger’s teams struggled to deal with the direct approach of Bolton. Allardyce said in his recent autobiography that Wenger ‘takes it all very personally and has an air of arrogance’, while in 2003, the Bolton boss delivered a blow to Arsenal’s title hopes. Wenger, who has since defended Allardyce after his controversial sacking from the England post, said he was ‘scarred for life’ by that result – although he did not lose to an Allardyce side after 2006.”

Tony Pulis (Stoke, Crystal Palace, West Brom)

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“Their rivalry came to a head in February 2010 when Stoke defender Ryan Shawcross broke Aaron Ramsey’s leg in a tackle which Wenger labelled ‘horrendous’. Wenger brandished Pulis’ approach as ‘rugby’ tactics as the Potters often rattled Arsenal when they visited Staffordshire, with the Welshman replying that Wenger is only ‘perceived to be a genius’. Pulis also defended his side’s record by saying he had not had as many red cards as a manager as Wenger — but since moving on to Palace and West Brom, the pair no longer clash, with Wenger saying his one-time nemesis ‘made a miracle’ by keeping the Eagles in the top flight during his time at Selhurst Park.”