All the following “facts” have been checked by my editor and are true, to the best of my knowledge.
1. Wenger started his career at Arsenal against Blackburn and now on the 13th anniversary of his joining the club, he plays Blackburn again. This is proof that the universe has a sense of humor.
2. Arsenal won 2-0 on that night in 1996, Ian Wright scored both goals.
3. Cesc Fabregas’ first league goal, making him the youngest ever Arsenal goal scorer in the league, came against Blackburn.
4. He repeated that goal in the same fixture the very next season.
5. I got to see Philippe Senderos score on Blackburn, in person, on a crisp Monday night in February, 2008. Senderos scoring on Blackburn proves that, like Lindsay Lohan, everyone scores on Blackburn.
6. Arsene Wenger’s work ethic is legendary, he is the first person at the training ground every day and the last person to leave. This is because Arsenal are so skint that Wenger has to do everything, including clean the tea cart every night.
7. He’s never satisfied with anything, and claims that he questions himself every day. “Shall I have chicken for dinner? No, Pasta! No wait, CHICKEN!” When waitresses see him coming into their restaurant they groan.
8. If this team and the team from 1996 were to get in a knife fight, Wenger thinks that neither team would win but that they should beat it because no one wants to be defeated. Also, that Michael Jackson would make a great video of the event.
9. There have been only 4 red cards given out in all 66 matches played so far in the EPL. Predictably, one of those 4 red cards went to Blackburn.
10. Equally as predictably, the league is hailing this lack of cards as the result of their incredibly successful “Respect” campaign. I agree, that one sending off of Javier Mascherano has clearly reigned in players like Wayne Rooney and Ashley Cole.
11. To be fair, it was either the “Respect” campaign, or referees are just giving fewer cards.
12. Only two teams play the “deeply flawed” zonal marking system during corners and free kicks; Arsenal and Liverpool. Just look at this chartoon,clearly it’s the zonal system that’s causing Pompey, Sunderland, Hull, and Wigan to give up more goals from set plays than Arsenal. If zonal systems are to blame for conceding off set plays what’s to blame for the fact that Hull have conceded 19 goals this season?
13. I am watching bass fishing before the Tottenham v. Bolton game this morning. I knew a guy who had a personalized license plate which said “bassace” I thought he was a great fisherman, but it turns out that he liked to play bass guitar.
Right, that’s it for today, we’re stopping at 13 facts in honor of Arsene Wenger’s 13 years at Arsenal. There won’t be an early blog tomorrow because I am heading to Fadó Seattle to watch the game live. If you live in the Seattle/Tacoma area it’s the only place I know of that is showing the game live. It’s an hour drive each way for me, so there won’t be a blog until around 10am PST. See you then!