Arsene Wenger is one of the most eloquent managers in world football.
An Arsene Wenger press conference is always an entertaining duel. The press love him, because he is always intelligent, always articulate and—crucially—always willing to speak to them.
2013 has been an up-and-down year for the Frenchman. However, one thing has been consistent: his outstanding use of rhetoric.
Over the next 20 slides we run through some of his best lines of 2013.
Arsene Wenger always plays his cards close to his chest when it comes to transfers.
However, on the penultimate day of the transfer window, he did drop reporters a tantalising hint. According to John Drayton of The Daily Mail, Wenger said:
You will see what we will announce to you. If we sign somebody I promise we will be very quick to announce it....maybe we will have a good surprise for you.
Within 24 hours, Arsenal had smashed their transfer record to sign Mesut Ozil.
When Tottenham went out of Europe to Basle in April, Arsene Wenger was withering in his response. According to David Kent's report in The Daily Mail, he told the assembled reporters:
Don't mind and don't care. I'm just concerned with what we do.
We don't look at other teams, just focus on ourselves. We play with the same spirit and go from strength to strength.
Wenger certainly knows how to kick Spurs when they're down.
That’s a question you shouldn’t ask me, but the referees.
The inference was clear: Wenger was knowingly implying that United have benefited from some rather generous decisions down the years.
There is a banner at Crystal Palace that reads, "if you're not up for the fight, stay at home."
Arsene Wenger's team have shown plenty of fight in 2013.
After Arsenal's match against the South Londoners, Wenger told The Independent:
It is people who do not believe that we have a chance, but the only thing we can do is win our games.
The only thing which is important is every win makes you a bit stronger and strengthens the belief.
It has become something of a mantra for Wenger in this year: avoid external criticism and focus on getting results.
Arsene Wenger is growing increasingly reluctant to criticise referees.
After the defeat to Manchester United against Old Trafford, Neil Ashton of The Daily Mail quoted Le Prof as saying:
I need to buy some Christmas presents and all these fines cost me, but the referee got some major decisions wrong.
Wenger escaped an FA Fine, so his wife and daughter can expect to receive their gifts come December.
Arsene Wenger and Arsenal.com recently conducted a "Twitter Takeover."
Wenger's Q&A session was revelatory and occasionally hilarious. He even revealed he has a liking for a particular potato snack. According to Jim van Wijk's article in The Daily Mail, he said:
Yes I like chips! But I try not to abuse it because I have a diet—I have to prepare like a player.
Arsenal fans will hope none of Wenger's players share his dietary indulgences.
It seems as if Arsene Wenger has been at Arsenal forever.
However, recently a journalist from The Mirror asked Arsenal if he would like to remain at the club for such a period. Wenger replied:
Honestly, I would love to be here forever because that would mean I would be immortal! I'm not naive enough to believe that. What I would like to do as long as I am here is to give my best for this club.
One thing is certain: Wenger will be immortal in the hearts of Arsenal fans.
2013 was the year of Arsene Wenger's prickliest ever press conference.
Following the FA Cup exit to Blackburn, he faced a difficult chat with the media before Arsenal's daunting clash with Bayern. However, the newspapers had recently printed an unfounded story suggesting he was on the verge of signing a new contract.
Wenger retaliated. According to The Daily Star's Greg Heffer, he said:
I work for 16 years in England, I think I deserve a bit more credit than wrong information that has only one intention: to harm.
Wenger felt let down and betrayed by the media, and he wasn't afraid to show it.
Arsene Wenger has long derided the football media's obsession with spending money.
After pulling off the coup of signing Mathieu Flamini on a Bosman Free, he told journalist Iain Macintosh:
I said it was a no-brainer. I'm just sorry he didn't cost £25m.
Flamini is turning out to be one the signings of the season.
Arsene Wenger's pursuit of Luis Suarez was one of the stories of the summer.
I don't want to speak about Suarez, because that is between Liverpool and Arsenal. We will completely respect what Liverpool wants to do. We want to (sign the player) if it is feasible in an amicable way.
Unfortunately for Arsenal fans, Liverpool were resolute, and Suarez remained at Anfield.
With these immortal words, Arsene Wenger confronted Daily Mail journalist Neil Ashton about a story surrounding his contract situation.
Wenger was angry and ready to take on the press. As it turned out, he accused the wrong man: the story that had irritated him was actually printed in The Sun!
In August 2013, Wenger was asked whether this would finally be the year that Tottenham beat Arsenal to Champions League qualification. His response was emphatic and unyielding.
He has replicated the feat of finishing above Spurs in every year of his Arsenal reign. Gunners fans do not expect that run to end any time soon.
At that fiery pre-Bayern press conference, Arsene Wenger took issue with the suggestion he had taken the domestic cups lightly. A clearly incensed Wenger told the Evening Standard's James Olley:
"I've been accused of not taking FA Cup seriously. I've won the FA Cup four times. Who has won it more? Give me one name."
That burning competitive desire in Wenger has helped fuel Arsenal through a mostly successful 2013.
When Liverpool owner John W. Henry mocked Arsenal's optimistic pursuit of Luis Suarez, Arsene Wenger was asked to comment on the American's sardonic put-downs.
Wenger took the opportunity to admit Arsenal's pursuit was ill-guided, admitting in Sam Wallace's article in The Independent that the bid aimed at triggering his release clause had been unnecessarily aggressive and based on inaccurate information.
This is the most recent of Arsene Wenger's quips.
After Artur Boruc's error against Arsenal, dallying on the ball before being robbed by Olivier Giroud, Wenger told the official Arsenal website that he prevents Wojciech Szczesny from making the same mistake by asking the Pole to kick the ball out to his manager on the touchline!
This quote is yet another from the tempestuous pre-Bayern press conference. However, it stands out because it exemplifies Wenger's unwavering faith in his team.
The Frenchman told The Daily Mail that one day his team would prove their critics wrong.
As you all know, Arsenal currently sit top of the table. Wenger has been proved right.
This was perhaps Arsene Wenger's most amusing take on the Luis Suarez affair.
Talking to The Guardian, reported in an article by David Hytner, the Arsenal boss reasoned thus:
You've certainly tried to go out with a girl, but find she has chosen someone else. You don't commit suicide.
Wenger was right, and Arsenal have recovered from the blow of missing out on Suarez in some style.
If the 2013/13 Premier League season had started in January of 2013, Arsenal would have been champions.
Wenger made the point back in February, according to The Daily Mail, and Arsenal's food form has subsequently continued into 2013/14.
This time round, Wenger will hope that Arsenal are champions for more than just half of the season.
The pre-Bayern Munich press conference of February 2013 is a veritable treasure trove of Arsene Wenger's best lines.
In this short transcript, he puts a reporter in his place for daring to question Arsenal's trophy-winning credentials:
Q: If this is your last chance to win a trophy this season...
AW: Thank you very much for that question. It’s a long time that we didn’t answer it.
Arsene Wenger ended his tempestuous press conference before the Bayern Munich match by reminding reporters they would miss him in his retirement.
After trawling through this collection of outstanding quotes, it's easy to see why.
What is your favourite Wenger quote of the year? Let us know below.