Of Arsene Wenger’s many shortcomings during the second half of his managerial career at Arsenal his record against the club’s top six rivals was among the most glaring. The Frenchman may have departed north London with three Premier League titles, six FA Cups and his legendary status firmly intact, but little could be said for his duels against those clubs he aspired to compete with.
Wenger leaves English football with losing records against Jose Mourinho, Pep Guardiola and Jurgen Klopp, as Arsenal’s domestic fortunes dwindled towards the end of his reign – ending in their sixth place finish this season.
Replacement Unai Emery’s reputation as a three-time Europa League winner and French treble winning manager might go before him, but the prospect of competing regularly against some of finest managers and tacticians on the planet is an altogether different challenge.
Emery is no stranger to pitting his wits against the Premier League’s best, however if Arsenal fans were hoping those experiences would stand him in good stead heading into his maiden campaign in England, they might need to think again.
Against title-winning Manchester City boss Guardiola, Emery has never prevailed in 10 meetings, drawing four and losing six of their clashes. Manchester United’s Mourinho is also unbeaten against Emery, winning four of his five duels with the new Gunners boss.
His record against Tottenham Hotspur boss Mauricio Pochettino – formerly of Espanyol in La Liga – is somewhat better having won four of their seven meetings, losing just twice and drawing once. And in his only match against Klopp, the 2016 Europa League final between Liverpool and Sevilla in Basel, Emery triumphed to claim his third straight victory in the continent’s second tier club competition.
Daniel Sturridge had put the Reds into a half-time lead but after Kevin Gameiro equalised 17 seconds in the second period, Coke netted a double to deliver victory.
Pep Guardiola Played 10, Won 0, Drawn 4, Lost 6
Jose Mourinho Played 5, Won 0, Drawn 1, Lost 4
Mauricio Pochettino Played 7, Won 4, Drawn 1, Lost 2
Jurgen Klopp Played 1, Won 1, Drawn 0, Lost 0
In his 14-year managerial career, Emery has never faced-off with Chelsea boss Antonio Conte and that record may continue if the Italian is shown the door at Stamford Bridge. One of the contenders to succeed Conte – Luis Enrique – also boasts a winning record over Emery having won seven of their 10 games against each other. And even the new West Ham United manager Manuel Pellegrini has a stranglehold over Emery, with six successes and three draws from their 12 meetings.
So it seems that the former Paris Saint-Germain boss has a score to settle with several of his new rivals in England, and will hope his move to The Emirates Stadium will bring a change in fortunes.
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