Mikel Arteta took charge of his 100th match against Watford and, in true Arsenal style, grabbed a 1-0 win, but are his stats really better than Arsene Wenger as claimed?

LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 07: Mikel Arteta, Manager of Arsenal embraces Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang of Arsenal after the Premier League match between Arsenal and Watford at Emirates Stadium on November 07, 2021 in London, England. (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND – NOVEMBER 07: Mikel Arteta, Manager of Arsenal embraces Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang of Arsenal after the Premier League match between Arsenal and Watford at Emirates Stadium on November 07, 2021 in London, England. (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)

I think it’s safe to say that the majority of Mikel Arteta’s first 100 games have not been enjoyable.

The last few years have been a tough road for Arsenal fans, even though flashes of sunlight are starting to appear more frequently through the cracks.

As I was making my way through the Sunday papers, it was jarring to read that Arteta had actually won more of his first 100 games than Arsene Wenger who had won 53 of his.

How could that be?

It certainly didn’t feel that way, and, given that Arsene Wenger won the Premier League and FA Cup in his first full season, I wondered what was going on.

Only George Graham has won as many of his first 100 (56) as Arteta in Arsenal’s history.

So, I thought I’d take a closer look behind Mikel Arteta’s first 100 stats to see if I could work out what was going on.

There is a difference in the stats doing the rounds and it seems like the difference lies in stat counters who call a penalty shootout a win and those who call it a draw.

For clarity, I believe that if you win a penalty shoot-out you win the match, even if the game was originally drawn. A win, is, as they say, a win.

Arsenal have had two penalty shoot-outs during Mikel Arteta’s first 100 games.

Mikel Arteta first 100 Arsenal games

  • Played: 100
  • Won: 56
  • Drawn: 18
  • Lost: 26
  • Win percentage: 56%

Arsene Wenger first 100 Arsenal games

Arsene Wenger’s 100th game in charge of Arsenal came on 4 November 1998 against Dynamo Kyiv in the group stages of the Champions League which Arsenal lost 3-1.

He drew 28 of his first 100 games, meaning he just lost 19.

  • Played: 100
  • Won: 53
  • Drawn: 28
  • Lost: 19
  • Win percentage: 51%

There isn’t, I’m sure you’ll agree, a huge amount of difference between those stats. To emphasise how close they are, if we ignore that they were played in different competitions and award them both points, Wenger has 187 while Arteta has 186.

Yet the two sets of 100s couldn’t feel any different.

By the end of his first 100 games, Mikel Arteta had won the FA Cup while Arsene Wenger hadn’t actually won anything (but was on his way to winning the double at the end of the season).

It is quite crazy to think that with just seven draws instead of defeats, Wenger was able to do what he did while Mikel Arteta has been clinging on to his job for a large part of the last few months.

We can all agree that, until very recently, there was no comparison in the type of football played by both managers. The real story, however, seems to lie not in how far Arsenal have fallen, but in how they have been treading water simply to stay still while others have soared ahead.

At the end of the 1997/98 season, Arsenal and Wenger won the league with 78 points, one ahead of United on 77 and 15 clear of 4th-placed Chelsea who had 63.

Last season, 63 points would have just got you 7th place and, with 61, Arsenal finished 8th. Manchester City won the league with 86 points, well shy of Liverpool’s 99 the season before and the 98 they themselves collected in 18/19.

Arsene Wenger’s 78 would have only got him third place the season Arteta arrived at Arsenal.

Arsenal’s 61 from last season would have got them 5th place in 97/98 and 96/97, the season Wenger first arrived.

Their actual tally that season? 68.

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Writer. Feminist. Dreamer. Gooner. Owner of DailyCannon.com, writing about Arsenal since 2008. Sometimes found in the Guardian, Vice.com & elsewhere talking queer issues, politics & football. If in doubt, assume sarcasm.