As well as being a vitally important home game for Arsenal in the quest for Champions League glory, the game against Galatasaray this evening marks the 18th anniversary of the managerial reign of Arsene Wenger. And the current players will be desperate to make it a day to remember this time.
The Frenchman has become the most successful manager in the club’s history in his time in charge, but if it was not for that dramatic FA cup final win over Hull City last season, his reputation would be under threat and the media would no doubt be on his back.
The last time Wenger hit a significant landmark with the Gunners was just last season, when we travelled to Chelsea for his 1000th game and it was not just a day to forget, it was an utter humiliation, as we collapsed and Chelsea ran riot, beating us by 6-0.
As an Arsenal.com report reveals, Kieran Gibbs spoke about the Prof in the pre-match press conference and as one of the young players that has benefited from the club’s youth system and from the mentoring of the Prof, he knows Wenger well and is determined to repay the loyalty shown to him over the last seven years.
Gibbs said, “I met him when I was just 16 and in that time obviously I’ve got to know him a lot better. It’s a credit to be part of what he’s doing with the club, and I feel proud.
“He’s always remained positive in the team, he’s believed in a lot of players and he’s given me my career. I have him to thank for that, and I have to work my hardest to repay him.
“Especially at home, we need to continue that [consistency in the Champions League] and get back on track.
“I think it is important to remember how hard we have worked to get to this level. We are not in this competition just to take part – the squad believes we can do something special and we need to get back on track.”
Gibbs is not the only member of the squad that feels they owe a debt to the boss, but the last time they tried to show it, it all went wrong. So maybe the players should not think too much about it being a landmark game, just an important home tie that we need to win. Will this special day be one that Wenger actually wants to remember?