Once accused of disrespecting the FA Cup, Arsene Wenger’s record in the competition shows him to be one of the greatest ever.
With just one home defeat in his last 40 FA Cup games played at home, should Arsenal retain the trophy they won back in May, it would be the club’s 12th time lifting the famous cup, taking them clear of Manchester United as the club with the most ever wins.
Wenger himself would be responsible for six of those final wins and should Arsenal be celebrating in May, the boss will be confirmed as the most successful FA Cup manager since the competition began in 1871.
The current record holder, Scot George Ramsey, also has six that he won over a 33-year period between 1887 and 1920 – an altogether different era for football.
Wenger’s win rate in the competition in the modern era is an impressive 65%, surpassed only by Sir Alex Ferguson with 67%. Ferguson also guided his side to five FA Cups, the same number as Wenger, but took eight years more to collect his.
Speaking to the press this week, Wenger reiterated the importance of this competition to Arsenal.
“It is important to us and we have always taken it seriously. We did not always manage to win it, but we have won it five times during my period here.
“Nobody has won it more in the last 18 years, so we have always taken it seriously. Sometimes so seriously that we suffered in the Champions League.
“Many times a cup game was in front of a Champions League game – for instance this week we play in the cup and then the week after next in the Champions League. Many times we lost some players.
“I remember against Manchester United when we played against Chelsea in the Champions League three days later we lost some because we took the game seriously.”
Facing a stern test against Middlesbrough in the fifth round on Sunday, Arsenal know that victory will leave them just one game away from their fourth trip to Wembley in the last 12 months.
Not bad for a manager who they claim doesn’t care about the competition.
[stats via The Telegraph]