Does Arsène Wenger still know? | Soccer


It might be time for Fiver Towers to get a new television set. There is just too much good stuff on, and a Matsui 28-inch purchased in a Currys “everything must go” sale around the time Steve Bruce was starting his 1,000-game managerial career probably isn’t going to cut it. Next week, then: Succession, the tale of awful people doing awful things but in a highly entertaining fashion. A bit like the Premier League, really. And next month: the tale of an international treasure who flew Icarus-like into uncharted territory, captured the admiration of the world, achieving the impossible before it all came apart, rancorously so.

No, not Get Back, the story of the Beatles’ rather less-than-fab final months given enough sheen to make it look like John, Paul, George and Richard were actually having a jolly old time of it. Thankfully, Peter Jackson won’t be stretching out Arsène Wenger: Invincible, the “definitive portrait of one of the greatest football managers of all time” over six hours. Instead, and judging by the trailer you’ve probably seen by now, Wenger will be getting 90 minutes of soft-focus, high-end documentary treatment, including testimonies from Dennis Bergkamp, Ian Wright, Patrick Vieira, Lord Ferg and Gary Wilmot [subs please check – Fiver Ed]. Such things are all the rage at the moment; Ferg had one made by his boy Jason, and there’s a Wayne Rooney special coming soon.

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And we will hear from the man himself, who has lately become more ubiquitous than Danny Baker during his Daz Doorstep Challenge imperial phase, what with being the poster boy for a biennial Human Rights World Cup, and agreeing to coach a Saudi super team that will take on PSG in Riyadh’s Season Cup during the winter break next January. Last week, Le Prof, speaking in his role as a Fifa suit, even suggested there “is a strong chance that the offside will be automated in 2022”.

The man who brought broccoli to the Carling Premiership was always full of big ideas, and retirement from club management and being harangued by Arsenal Fan TV has given him time and space to spew out his opinions and flights of fancy. The new doc will allow us to recall him at his apex, the maestro inspiring that fantastic Gunners team of the late-1990s and early-2000s, when they went the length and breadth of the 2003-04 season unbeaten. Wenger’s idealism allowed his players a freedom of expression paired with an iron will to win forged by their manager. “The achievement stands above everything else,” says old-enemy-now-bosom-buddy Ferg in the trailer. Wise words. Remember Wenger this way.

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“I hope you guys are getting a slap now from your bosses to say that you haven’t done your job. Whoever your source was, whoever it was who was feeding you didn’t get it right, so I hope you’re feeling a bit of heat” – Newcastle boss Steve Bruce, who will still be in charge for his 1,000th game as a manager against Spurs on Sunday, gets his moment.

Steve Bruce there.
Steve Bruce there. Photograph: Serena Taylor/Newcastle United/Getty Images


“Re: memories of thrashings (Fiver letters passim). OK, it was (land) hockey, but I was one of those being hammered 14-1 when playing for University College second team playing against a very small college that was loosely affiliated the to University of London. It was the most awful sporting experience of my life (luckily I was dropped for the match when the school cricket team was dismissed for 13)” – Mike Walsh.

“Re: yesterday’s Live on Big Website. Wolfsburg winning 3-2 at Arsenal the day after they put five past Servette? Pretty impressive. Clearly they beetled over from Germany having been top of the pass(at) charts” – Adam Cummings [apologies to Hoffenheim – Fiver Ed].

Send your letters to And you can always tweet The Fiver via @guardian_sport. Today’s winner of our prizeless letter o’ the day is … Mike Walsh.


Potential match-fixing has been detected in 500 games since the start of 2021, according to Sportradar’s betting monitoring system.

Jürgen Klopp has called on Premier League chief suit Richard Masters to explain why the controversial Newcastle takeover was allowed. “We all know there are obviously some concerns over human rights issues. That’s clear,” he said. “We all think the same there.”

Manchester City’s Raheem Sterling wants more game time and says he’d consider moving abroad to get it. “As an English player all I know is the Premier League and I’ve always thought, you know, maybe one day I’d love to see how I would come up against that challenge,” he cheered. And Pep Guardiola won’t stand in his way.

Paraguay have given head coach Eduardo Berizzo the boot following their 4-0 HRWC qualifying defeat to Bolivia.

And elsewhere in the Fun and Games in South America Dept: Conmebol wants Ifab to increase half-time durations to 25 minutes so it can incorporate Super Bowl-style entertainment.


Ten of your Premier League things to look out for this weekend.

To hairdryer or not to hairdryer, that is the question facing Ole Gunnar Solskjær, according to Jamie Jackson.

This week’s WSL player in focus is … Birmingham’s Harriet Scott.

Fancy stairwell lighting.
Fancy stairwell lighting. Photograph: Blues Women

Bournemouth’s Gary Cahill gets his chat on with Ben Fisher.

The scary state of fan violence in Ligue 1.

It’s the quiz of the week, packed with some football teasers.

And if it’s your thing … you can follow Big Website on Big Social FaceSpace. And INSTACHAT, TOO!


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