I originally posted this about a year ago, with figures up to 901 games for Arsene. With the help of Andy Kelly I’ve updated it to present day and added to and corrected various stats from early days.
I am only including competitive matches in what are now considered the major competitions. Charity/Community Shield matches are included in stats, but I don’t count it as a major trophy.
*George Allison and James McEwan managed during the world wars, so the number of football seasons is not the same as calendar years. McEwen was manager for the last two matches before football was abandoned for WW1. They were his only non-wartime matches in charge.
Often the number of trophies available is fewer than you might expect, because a new manager can’t always enter every competition in his first season – for example, if his predecessor didn’t qualify for Europe. In a sense, Arsène Wenger has disadvantaged himself by always qualifying for Europe; if he didn’t, he’d have fewer trophies to go for. There’s no perfect method of analysing or judging this.
For several early managers, I have put major trophies available as zero, as their predecessor would not have left them in a position to win anything during the short time they had in charge. For example, taking over with Arsenal in the Second Division means no immediate chance of winning a League title. In practice this makes no difference in most cases, as Arsenal’s first major trophy wasn’t till 1930 anyway!
You could argue a new manager might also be affected by his predecessor leaving a very weak team, so realistically he might be unlikely to win the league first time even if given a full season. Conversely, you could argue the likes of Joe Shaw and George Allison could barely lose, given the bang up job Herb had done before them.
Arsenal didn’t enter the League Cup until 1966-67 when it became compulsory, so Swindin and Wright had only the League and FA Cup to aim for.
Arsène Wenger’s win total doesn’t include penalty shoot out victories. These are counted as draws here (and Fifa record results in the same way), and can lead to anomalies otherwise. For example, Arsenal lost the second leg match of the 1993-94 Cup Winners’ Cup Semi-Final, but won the tie on penalties – that can’t be counted as both a defeat and a win! The disadvantage for Arsène is a slightly reduced win rate; the advantage is a slightly reduced loss rate!