Can Wenger win the Champions League at Arsenal? Understanding Arsène and Europe through the lens of AS Monaco vs. Werder Bremen Cup Winners’ Cup Final 1992

In the final installment of Wenger: The Beginnings we bring you a tale of heartbreak and mystery. The 1992 Cup Winners’ Cup Final.

European continental competition is club football’s greatest stage, the final frontier, a pinnacle of achievement. Millions of people around the globe watched Arsenal’s 2-1 Champions League triumph over Barcelona last Wednesday night. This was Arsenal’s first against the ‘best team in history’, and most of all this was a moment to savour for Arsène Wenger. Success in Europe has consistently evaded Wenger, arguably the greatest manager never to win a European trophy.

There is no doubting Wenger’s depth of experience in Europe. Even in his modest playing career he managed to appear at centre back in a UEFA Cup tie for RC Strasbourg in 1979. His selection there was out of desperation, the youth team coach called into the side against Duisberg, only to see his side lose 4-0. As a manager though, he is a veteran, playing teams in Europe since 1988, and leading Arsenal into the Champions League every year since 1998. However, the pain of those campaigns which never quite lived up to expectation still lingers.

Wenger and Jean Petit on the bench during Monaco’s 1992 Cup Winners’ Cup final in Lisbon.

Continue reading “Can Wenger win the Champions League at Arsenal? Understanding Arsène and Europe through the lens of AS Monaco vs. Werder Bremen Cup Winners’ Cup Final 1992”

Wenger’s European heartbreak: Two European Campaigns with AS Monaco

Arsene Wenger is a fantastic manager, and he has a great record at Arsenal, but one constant in his career is underachieving in European competition. This doesn’t sit well with Wenger, and I can see why, he clearly deserves a European trophy and he has come close on several occasions, not least in 2006 when we were 10 minutes away from winning the Champions League.

This article is a bit of Wenger history. It’s interesting to try to look at some of the more distant past to understand what Wenger has been through in his career, and why he is the man he is today.

His first major managerial post was at AS Monaco from 1987 – 1995. He won Ligue 1 in 1987/88, his first season, got his first taste of the European Cup the following year, reaching the Quarter Finals, but losing to Galatasaray 2-1 on aggregate, the team who were to beat Wenger’s Arsenal in the 2000 UEFA Cup Final.

The matchday programme, from Estadio de Luz, Porto
The CWC 1992 Final programme

Wenger then won the French Cup in 1991. This led to his first European final the following season in the 1991/1992 Cup Winner’s Cup. His Monaco side played well beating teams such as Swansea City, Feyenoord and AS Roma, who we are facing in this season’s Champions League. Monaco faced Werder Bremen in the Final.

The Final was marred by news of the collapse of a temporary stand in Bastia’s French Cup semifinal with Marseille which left 13 dead and hundreds injured.

Otto Rehhagel, who later led Greece to their 2004 European Championship win, was the Bremen manager, and his side won by 2 goals, even though Monaco dominated possession. Wenger had players such as Petit, Djourkaeff, Thuram and George Weah in his side that day.

Wenger went on to a UEFA Cup Final with Arsenal against Galatasary in 2000, which we lost on penalties (I was crying) and a Champions League Final against Barcelona in 2006, which could have been so different.

I guess the point I’m trying to make is that Wenger has had a great career, but until he puts his name on a European trophy he will not feel like he has achieved his potential. He has had the chances and come close, and this must be frustrating, I’m sure he still remembers these times.

Wenger is a competitive guy, and this season he will want to put right his awful record in European finals and bring the Champions League to Arsenal.


UEFA CWC 1992 Final Page

European Cup 1988/1988 Campaign

Cup Winner’s Cup Campaign 1991/1992 Wikipedia

Sidebar image from N. Macca, under Creative Commons Licence

News: Bischoff, Eduardo, Adebayor and Petit’s regret about Arsenal

We start today with the story that Amaury Bischoff is looking to make an impact for Arsenal when he returns from injury, and prove Wenger was right to gamble on his purchase.

Bischoff has had a groin injury since his time at Werder Bremen and still hasn’t recovered fully.

“Arsenal have shown faith in me and are building me up with a daily fitness programme.

“I know about the competition for places here – nobody can take their place for granted – but I am working hard and there is no reason why it should not work out for me.”

Young Guns has an article on how Bischoff was forced to play through pain at Bremen, which may have contributed to his injury.

Another player who expected to return for injury is striker Eduardo – he should be back around Christmas according to latest estimates.

Emmanuel Adebayor has refused to fly to Zambia with the Togo national team for their 2010 World Cup Qualifier. The players demanded that Tata Avlessi Adaglo (Togo Football Federation President) travelled with them. He declined because he was preparing for his mother’s funeral. The team went ahead, but Ade stayed in Lome.

A very random incident, but something which is to be expected when Togo are involved, they always seem to have rows between players and governing bodies, remember the 2006 World Cup bonus saga? Very odd. At least Ade won’t be playing now!

Also Emmanuel Petit has revealed his regrets about leaving Arsenal in 2000 for Barcelona in his autobiography. The player had a formidible partnership with Vieira at Arsenal, but never recreated his success later in his career.

I don’t believe a ‘curse’ exists, but is is true that many players who leave Arsenal are never as good at other clubs. maybe this has something to do with Wenger getting the best out of players and creating a team greater than the sum of its parts?

What do you think? Join the debate and leave a comment below!