Arsenal Debate – Best EPL manager ever? Guardiola or Wenger?

This is always going to be a bone of contention on Just Arsenal as quite a few of our readers hold Arsene Wenger’s last ten years at Arsenal as a major disappointment, despite his 3 FA Cup wins, but they surely can’t deny his early record with the Gunners was a fantastic achievement, including the Invincibles.

Onto Pep Guardiola, who came to the EPL with a massive record in La Liga and the Bundesliga, including the unique achievement of winning all six trophies available in the calendar year 2009. So we knew he would improve an already strong Man City, but he did manage to get the domestic treble last season, despite the challenge from Liverpool and Tottenham.

Anyway, this subject has come up because a certain Neil Warnock, who has been managing in England for centuries, was asked for his opinion on the best Premier League manager, and this is what he said (as quoted in the Mirror): “Since the Premier League started, if I was picking my top five managers I would put Arsene Wenger at number one, only because he changed the whole outlook on modern footballers.

“He brought so many things in that had never been thought of – the nutritionists, the fitness guys, videos, technology.

“So I think Wenger changed the whole course of it when he came into the Premier League.”

And then he surprisingly named Pep Guardiola ahead of Alex Ferguson in second place. “I saw his teams firsthand last year and I’ve never seen a team with that kind of movement,” Warnock continued.

“David Silva is the best player I’ve ever seen in the Premier League and I think Pep’s just taken it all on board. He’s had a few years so he’s been in front of a few, but I think he’s just amazing.”

“His influence on the parks and the lower down leagues has been fantastic, so I’d put Pep second”.

“I would put Klopp third because I think he’s just beginning and he will get even better.

“But his outlook and everything he has done at the club and the future with the kids – I think he has got another ten years coming forward.

“So I think he’s third at the minute but could easily be number one in a couple of years.

“Fourth, I would probably go with Sir Alex [Ferguson] just in front of Jose Mourinho, because he has done it for longer.

“I just think he was in an era where it was all about man management – it wasn’t down to all the backroom staff – and Sir Alex was probably the best at that.

“Jose Mourinho is close. What I like about him is the way he deals with the media at the most difficult times, but I would still put him number five.”

So, some interesting assessments there from Warnock about Arsene Wenger, so let’s have are own choices now, and please remember, we are only talking about since the Premier League began in 1992….

Admin Pat

56 Comments

  1. gotanidea says:

    Guardiola is a better manager, if we refer to the amount of major trophies he has collected and his advanced tactics

    Some would argue that Guardiola was supported by lavish transfer budget, whereas Wenger wasn’t. But Wenger’s tactics are simply too rigid for EPL

    1. Eddie says:

      Simply too rigid? and yet he dominated the English game for a while only to be rivalled by Ferguson until Mourinho came?
      Too rigid for the EPL and his team’s the only team to ever go a season undefeated?
      Too rigid for the EPL and yet every manager who’s ever managed in the EPL has nothing but good things to say about him?
      I wasnt an AKB. Wenger might’ve lost the plot in his later years but most of you fans just need to move on and stop saying stuffs about the man as tho he was a bad manager.
      With his simply too rigid tactics I hope you know the man is amongst EPL’s greatest managers?
      Or maybe because he wasn’t a Left handed Man?

      1. gotanidea says:

        Wenger is a great manager, but he can’t adapt to the new level of competition in EPL

        Guardiola is the better one. Look at the team improvement after Arteta came with Guardiola’s tactics

        1. Eddie says:

          And Guardiola without his ridiculous billions would’ve competed with Wenger’s and Fergie’s era? Do you even have a clue about what being a great manager is?
          Klopp without spending billions already did what Guardiola failed to do by winning the UCL.
          Klopp’s team are achieving so much, and all this without having to spend billions.
          You disrespect Wenger by saying Pep is better, am I Surprised? No I’m not because it’s coming from you.

          Also what’s the obsession about Arteta using Guardiola’s tactics, Arteta learnt from Wenger, must’ve picked a thing or two from Moyes and worked with Pep, Yet you constantly say Arteta is making use of Pep tactics. Arsene Wenger saw a great manager in him years before anyone ever did and advises him to go into managing but let’s pretend
          Arteta doesn’t have a clue bout being a good manager or what he wants or doesn’t a know a thing himself? He’s using Guardiola’s tactics really?
          You love being ridiculous though

          1. Lenohappy says:

            There is no doubt about it, Wenger was great but guardiola is a better coach.

          2. Mike says:

            I am with you on this one Eddie for most of us who supported the club before Wenger arrived it was a shock when he was brought in by David Dein but the first decade plus he simple turned the premier league upside down unlike anything and anyone prior to his arrival and to be honest I don’t think anyone else since had a bigger impact on the game both locally or abroad

          3. Shekar233 says:

            Have you just returned back to earth after a decade in space?

            Liverpool spent 70 mil on a goalkeeper and 80 mil on a defender.

            I believer they spent that in euros. Unless you believ those fees are paid in some african currency where 1 euro = 20mill local currency.

        2. Sylva Olabanji says:

          @gotanidea
          What makes a manager Best EPL ever is not about tactics alone. You also have to consider their over-all achiements at the Club and EPL. There shouldn’t be any debate about this. The question is not about an achiements ot 2 or 3 seasons.

          *Wenger made EPL a force to reckon with through Arsenal style of football
          *Built one of the best Football stadium in EPL.
          *Raised and develop players in EPL who later became football maestro.
          *Apart from Alex Fergerson was the only coach to keep a club participating in Champions league for a longer period.

        3. Angelo says:

          You are more concerned about being the first to comment on every single article posted here than making sense, Guardiola can’t even be compared to Jurgen Klopp talk more of Wenger…. Take those billions away from Guardiola let’s see what he can achieve.

      2. Mohsan says:

        I agree completely, Wenger is the best ever. Neil Warnock could not have put it better. He changed the whole premier league, his influence and what he introduced to the league goes far beyond any manager. There is no comparison between pep n Wenger. Pep was always lucky to inherit great squads be it Barcelona with Xavi, inesta n Messi or be it treble winning Munich n then he came to city who spend millions n millions so virtually he could buy anyone. Also point to note is pep never introduced anything new to the game his playing style is copy of Barcelona way introduced by great cryff. Where as wenger changed the football sport altogether…with things he introduced which no one used before. Wenger has been far greater influence then any. If trophies is the criteria on which you are supporting pep then Zizu will probably end up with more then him so does this make him best ever. You can not compare one at nearly middle of his career to one who was almost end of his.

      3. Shekar233 says:

        Yeah keep living in the past all you wenger fans.

        Pep has won the same number of PL trophies as wenger in just 5 years while wenger had 22 years.
        I am an arsenal fan but i do bot shy away from reality just coz i love my club.

        Wenger is no where near what modern day coaches are let alone pep who is considered to be the best of them lot.

        I still blame wenger for the mess we are in now.
        He could have left atleast 7 years earlier so that we coukd have moved on and struggle for 5 years but by now would have been again competing for the Best trophies in the world.

        People say its not his fault that the board has wanted him and never backed him in tranfers. If he is an Arsenal fan as he proudly baosts he could have sacrificed the wrath of the board and also his salary or 9mil/yr by revealing how the owners are holding arsenal back. But he chose to stay on and be their yes man and collect his money

        And its not just about the transfers its about his tactics or the lack of it. Just sitting there on the bench and change nothing even if we are losing.

        And lets not forget his favouritism towards some bang average players which halted the progress of some very good youth prospects.
        Walcot of them all is whom i absolutely dislike. In over 10 years at the club with loads of oppurtunites he couldnt make a mark.

        That caused gnabry to leave.
        And then there is Jeff rein adelied, benaccer and so on.

        Who the hell buys takuma asano from japanese league just to increase a small percentage of our match viewership in japan?

        I wish we had been brave like spurs who snapped the moment they understood poch is not working.

        Just staying at a club for decades doesnt give you legendary status. Winning trophies gives you legendary status.

        Pep just stayed at Barca for 4 years and still he is a legend there.

        If wenger had left in 2004 or atleast 2006 or ’08 he would have been an undisputed legend at this club. Now his legendary status is always divides fans ad he decided to destroy the club he built with his own hands hy staying too long.

    2. Sylva Olabanji says:

      The question is about Best EPL manager ever. I think Wenger stands clear of Guardiola. In terms of trophies and EPL football evolution. Guadiola has not spent enough time in EPL.
      The only person to rival Wenger is the great Sir Alex Fugerson. Guadiola edge it though when it comes to superior tactics but doesn’t have Wenger overall EPL achievements.

    3. antonioro says:

      Nothing today about your obsessions-inverted wingers and Chambers as a DM?

  2. Thomo says:

    What rubbish admin the best so far fergie then possibly pep

    1. SueP says:

      I couldn’t agree more with your assessment
      He kept reinventing ManU and kept winning winning winning for many many years.
      Pep has achieved great success in his career both domestically and in Europe but needs a CL win as he didn’t manage that at BM
      Wenger was revolutionary when he arrived at Arsenal and changed the course of football in so many ways for others to follow but his lack of international trophies would be a disappointment to him

      1. Kedar says:

        It has to be Ferguson….
        Guy sold Ronaldo and bought Antonio Valencia as his replacement and still won the league…
        That sort of motivation and commitment no one can produce..

      2. McLovin says:

        SAF without a doubt. Only a biased or a fool would claim otherwise! Just look at his track record and what happened to United after he left.

        1. James says:

          @Mclovin so you think ‘only a biased fool’ would disagree! Read Warnocks statemnt again! Fergie’s greatness was ristricted to united while wnger’s grwatness/methods revolutinzed envlish football, every coach Fergie included, relied and still rely on Wenger’s approach. His methods were and are still the blueprint to footballing success. Name any current manager that doesnt RELY on videos, nutritionists and fitness experts. I’ll wait. Is it that dicficulf to unxerstand a simple argument like Warnock’s? Jeez.

    2. Diogenes says:

      When Arsenal’s budget was ‘just’ twice lower than United’s Wenger still easily matched Fergie’s achievements.
      But when his budget was massively lower, Wenger couldn’t do it anymore.

      Fergie vs late-era Wenger was basically Zidane vs Simeone or Guardiola’s Bayern vs Klopp’s Dortmund — incomparable.

      Also, in his 26 (!) seasons, Fergie’s best 38-match result was 91 points.
      In Pep’s 3 seasons, his 2nd best result is 98 points. 2 out of 3 seasons were massively better than Fergie’s best season.
      Enough said.

    3. Mike says:

      Wenger’s early teams were all power strength and speed for the youngsters go have a look his team’s were physically and technically superior to anything the premier league had to offer at that period of time

    4. AndersS says:

      @Thomo
      Agree with you. No contest.

  3. Joseph says:

    Wenger to me will always be the best. I can’t say I enjoy football nowadays they way it was played during time of Wenger where the standard of football was visibly segregated on the field. That time you could easily see how beauty football was unlike today we just notice best team after scoring.

  4. Joseph says:

    Explain; remember he said “from the start of PL” alot of things to be considered first before looking at final results

  5. Eddie says:

    Comparing Pep and Wenger is a stupid thing to do, as both managers are and were miles apart in generations.
    This question should be between Wenger, Ferguson and maybe Mourinho.
    Those men changed a whole lot of things and achieved a whole lot with different approaches.
    Pep falls into the next generation winners, he tops the next generation, Klopp so far is giving him a run for his money even if he doesn’t have close to the same number of trophies.
    Asking the best between Wenger and Pep is far ridiculous.
    It’s just asking who’s the greatest rapper between Kendrick Lamar and Eminem.
    Both dominated the game massively in different generations.
    Warnock might be right, after all even the Royal Family honoured Wenger for his contribution to English football right?
    So I really so no reason asking who’s the best.
    Ask me who’s the best manager between Wenger, Mournho and Fergie and I’ll answer.
    Ask who’s the best between Pep, Klopp and Zidane and I’ll answer.
    Even Pep will honestly tell you that based on what Wenger achieved in the premier League, he doesn’t come close to Wenger or Alex Ferguson.

  6. Knight says:

    It Sir AF,Wenger and Mour in that order.I would even put Ranieri ahead of the rest,had he been given an extra season at Chelsea,he would have won things.Then he came back and redeemed himself with Liecester and showed that you dont have to have a big budget to win this league

    1. Eddie says:

      Thanks you Knight!
      Putting Pep in the midst of those legendary managers seems a bit disrespectful.
      Might as well add Klopp to the list then.
      I’m not saying Pep is a bad manager, Matter of fact I admire him a lot, but those men people are trying to compare him with were something else

      1. Mogunna says:

        At some point, if our own so called fans can fight against facts and reality, it is best to not say a word. Glad football and legends praise Wenger’s Arsenal, and what he brought to EPL, with no money!

        No manager in the world could have kept us in CL so long with no money! Guardiola has all players he wants. He goes for a team with most ressources, imposes players he wants to buy!

  7. James says:

    Having read and UNDERSTOOD Warnock’s arguments then I’d say Wenger by a mile. If Warnock’s talking points are true then Wenger has to be the best. The EPL owes him everything that has become the backbone of professional coaching: videos, nutrition, fitness etc. Every club is doing what Arsene brought to the EPL. And for that hes TBE

  8. Olaitan Kayode says:

    Arsene Wenger all day. Who ever pick Pep is a shame to football. Arsene made English league what it is today. He brought a brand to English football and set the pace for others to follow. Even fergie learn from Wenger. Fergie is just more fulfil in terms of trophies. But Wenger made football in England attractive.

    Pep will definitely pick Wenger

  9. SueP says:

    Just as an aside
    If only Arsene had known when to step down
    Ferguson managed that winning the league in his last season (by signing R vP if I remember correctly) and then called it a day.

  10. Reggie says:

    There is no debate, SAF is the no1 by a country mile, he could win games with awful football teams/players and his planning was second to none. He conquered Europe, won the treble and won back to back titles. He won leagues in bothe decades of his tennure and reinvented utd at least 3 times.

    1. Mohsan says:

      Man United was always a bigger brand then us, ferggie had more money to spend how many expensive floops did he buy?? You can’t compare them both unless you give fergie same budget as what Wenger had. Also interms of impact n revolutionary work Wenger leads the race by miles. The common things u see in football today were brought to English shores by Wenger. Definitely Wenger.

  11. Stewart Macintosh says:

    Ferguson – by a country mile. When somebody else accumulates a similar number of titles we can have a discussion. And he did it over such a long time.

    Wenger had a fantastic run but it slowed down over time and his greatest success was a fairly narrow window. But even with the “decline” he got us to Champions League every year. I might put him second.

    Pep has been on his game and turned Manchester blue, but likely would never consider a long stay.

    Same goes for Kloop, he will leave for new challenges – this current Liverpool team is one of the best.

    So Pep and Jurgen are three and four.

    I might have put Jose right after Ferguson because of his results but he overstays his welcome and it remains to be seen if his people management skills will work as well with younger players going forward – so far he has been showing a “kinder, gentler” Jose.

    1. Mohsan says:

      Did fergie built stadium n had to sell his best player every year? Only to rely on youngsters. Winning trophies does not make you the best what you achieve with limited resources make you the best in business. Because I am pretty sure there will be managers who have won or will win more trophies then ferggie. When you talk about who was the best manager ever then you have to look at so many other aspects n not only trophies.

      1. Stewart Macintosh says:

        Really, you think that there will be managers that win more EPL trophies than Ferguson? In this day and age I don’t think that is possible. And for me it is the results that count. Ferguson has ten more EPL trophies than Wenger (I think). MU has won a ridiculous per cent of the trophies and they were won by him.

        It is all about trophies, nothing more, nothing less.

        1. Stewart Macintosh says:

          and Wenger was a great manager – no argument from me all.

        2. Mohsan says:

          I agree interms of numbers ferggie has won 35 of them. But my argument is when you select the best manager it’s not only trophies but so many other aspects of football you have to look at. Pep has won almost 17 trophies n he is still young. So I am pretty sure in this day n age records are crumbling very quick. If it’s about trophies then it should be about the biggest trophy you can win as club manager n that is UEFA champions League so pep is ahead of ferggie n others as well.

  12. ThirdManJW says:

    Tough to say, because although Wenger did so many great things, people always seem to overlook how many mistakes he made, and how many poor seasons he had. On one hand Pep has spent crazy amounts of money, but has given us the most entertaining football ever, and has consistently won. Wenger had so many barren years, and a poor record in Europe, but we saw football only bettered by Pep, and on a smaller budget. Wenger’s overall impact on English football shouldn’t be forgotten either.

    The only way I could answer this is by asking myself, who would I have preferred for 22 years? Pep for me! Wenger is still a legend, but he never won in Europe, couldn’t win back-to-back leagues, went 9 years straight without a trophy, and 14 years straight without winning or even challenging for a league title. Those are huge numbers, and that’s what lets him down.

    1. ThirdManJW says:

      I must also add, that Wenger’s 2-1 win over Pep’s Barca at the Emirates all those years ago, perfectly sums up the debate. Wenger won the battle, but Pep won the war.

  13. herbs of the earth says:

    I have and will always pick Arsene Wenger from all the important angles – impact on the game, style of play, and business. You already know the tremendous impact in terms of health, fitness, video, etc. Style or attractive football is also necessary. It explains why Arsenal games made so much TV monies. Recently I looked at a video of best 50 team-plays in football and Arsenal, Barcelona and Man City dominated. The final area became his downfall. Business: Arsene could field the 6th or 7th most expensive squad and still make top 4. As a result the Americans abused him. Economics is simply about input/output. I will rate a modern manager over Wenger when he can use a cheap team and do unforgettable damage. These squads with a defense more than that of a small country’s budget does not impress me much. Wenger’s last years were hard because, though he demanded better budgets, he refused to blame the Kronkes publicly. Even when the misguided and manipulating groups of people were blaming him, he never told the truth. He took the heat alone. Emery had the most expensive team comparably (inflation adjusted) and look at the disaster.

  14. James says:

    Listen Reggie, noone’s downplaying fergies achievements at United. It’s just that nothing comes close to what wenger did when he came in. He brought in things that noone had ever thought of(including fergie) Fergie, like any other sensible manager USED wengers revolutionary methods (use of tech, videos and fitness guys) to win titles. Now thats greatness. Wenger is the Isaac Newton of the premier league, and Fergie like Einstein comes a close second Einsteins most raved achievement was based off newtons revolutionary approach.

    1. Reggie says:

      Fergusson, you are saying, pinched wengers ideas. What on earth are you saying, i can’t agree with that and even if it WAS true, he made a better fist of it over a long period of time. Wenger never managed to build as many new teams as fergie either. Fergusson knew when his teams and players had run their course. The fact remains wengers best period was when he had inherited GGs defence, he failed miserably and had a massive blind spot to defence, something fergie was a master at. For me no comparison. Wenger did great and a fantastic job for a decade or so, that is it. He made more errors of judgement than fergie and never managed back to back titles. The best manager for me before fergie was Bob Paisley then Fergie took over that mantle.

      1. Reggie says:

        And fergie built a team from scratch with youths that actually was a brilliant football team and a brilliant achievement, possibly never to be repeated in modern football.

        1. SueP says:

          Hi Reggie
          I said this right at the beginning of the discussion
          Ferguson did what no other manager has done since
          If he pinchedWenger’s ideas then it still showed he had the ability to ‘do a Dr Who’ and regenerate and move with the times
          I would have so wanted Wenger to have done the same. My kids grew up knowing the late GG and all the AW era. How lucky we all were
          He is still a legend at Arsenal

  15. koss says:

    Sadly it has to be Fergie, I know it hurts being an arsenal fan to admit this😭

    1. Reggie says:

      The point is, you can actually admit it, thats the important thing. That means you can make decisions without rose coloured specs. Its hard but fair.

  16. Dan the cannon says:

    This is difficult to answer because fergie and wenger were managers of the club where as the modern system is more head coach. Pep, Klopp and Arteta are Head coaches So it’s hard to compare these With fergie and wenger as both of these people changed the whole ethos of their respective clubs. Wenger was the pioneer but fergie was arguably the better at adapting. For me it’s Alex Ferguson at number 1 with wenger at 2 and pep 3rd closely followed by Klopp

    1. Splendid says:

      Putting Klop who’s yet to win the league in 4th position?

  17. Andrew Elder says:

    Judging the best manager on results alone then Fergie wins it easily. However judging it by who had the most influence on the EFL, Wenger walks it and Fergie would probably agree. Also AW never had the luxury of an open cheque book at Arsenal and yet produced two or three great teams who played with such grace and power.

    AW was not only a great manager but also a great person, a classy man who was the greatest Arsenal manager in my opinion.

    1. Andrew Elder says:

      Sorry!! EPL not EFL.

      1. SueP says:

        Sorry to say again but I honestly think that Ferguson had the edge
        However much he changed the boozy players into wholesome professionals it didn’t alter the fact that other managers cottoned to his supreme methods and eventuality overtook him
        My earlier point was that he stayed too long having given all of us an unforgettable journey but he just couldn’t quite let the next generation have their chance soon enough

        1. Reggie says:

          The truth is Sue, wenger implemented ideas he got from Japan. It really wasn’t rocket science to say to a player, you will be better, if you stopped drinking 20 pints a night, stop smoking 40 a day do a bit of pilates and stop eating donner kebabs. The secret was to stop their bad habits.

  18. Innit says:

    Neither. Sir Alex Ferguson

    Wenger was very good for 7 years, then was average for over 10 years

  19. Liam says:

    Sir Alex by a country mile. What everyone praises Wenger for was eventually his undoing. Failure to adapt with the modern game meant we played nearly 8 seasons without a defensive midfielder. Does anyone remember loosing 6-0 3 or 4 times a season ? Even the middle table teams didn’t get hammered like we did. On the other hand Sir Alex was a serial winner. Remember him beating us fielding 3 defenders in midfield? Sold Ronaldo and still won the title the following season. Stealing RVP and winning the title. Writing this annoys me I hate united but I’m a realist and Wenger is behind Sir Alex and debatably Jose and Klopp.

  20. Mohsan says:

    OT, Deloitte football money league is out for this year n no surprise there we are now behind spurs n chelsea by 69-70 million. We are no longer in top 10 either. Thank you Stan for destroying us, he has single handedly destroyed the Arsenal brand. I wish we could have had an Arab owner. Look what they have brought to their respective clubs PSG n Mancity are winning trophies, their revenues n club value is going high every year, their brand is becoming stronger…all because they have owners who are interested in running the club instead of just milking it for money.

  21. mike says:

    How many of the Wenger Arsenal team was part of the 1998 French world cup winning team, go check guys and dolls and lets restart this debate enough said

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