New stage, old ire as Mourinho and Wenger meet again
The rivalry between the Man Utd and Arsenal coaches enters a new era on Saturday, with the former now defending Manchester United's colours. But the old crackle remains intact.
The rivalry between Jose Mourinho and Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger enters a new era on Saturday, with the former now defending Manchester United's colours. But the old crackle remains intact.
Mourinho branded Wenger a 'specialist in failure' in the second of his two spells at Chelsea - one of numerous barbs he has launched at the Frenchman - and he revisited the theme ahead of their reunion. Indirectly citing the 12 years that have elapsed since Wenger won his third Premier League title with Arsenal, Mourinho claimed he was not afforded the same respect despite having last won the league in 2015.
'Tomorrow, I think between the two managers we are speaking about, I think (there are) six or seven Premier League titles. I have three, he has three or four,' Mourinho told Friday's pre-match press conference.
'Does that mean we should be respected, even in periods where our results are not the best? I think Mr Wenger has that respect from all of you. I don't think I have. Especially because my last Premier League title was 18 months ago, not 18 years ago. I don't think I get that respect.'
Wenger defends his record
Sparks often fly when the pair have to share a touchline, typified by their notorious shoving match during a Chelsea-Arsenal fixture at Stamford Bridge two years ago. Wenger has never beaten Mourinho in the league and has not overseen a league victory at Old Trafford since a solitary Emmanuel Adebayor strike gave Arsenal the points in September 2006.
But with Arsenal six points above United in fourth place, it is Wenger who currently enjoys the upper hand and he dismissed suggestions Mourinho has some kind of hold over him.
'You know, we didn't lose always,' said the Arsenal manager, whose side will provisionally top the Premier League table and leave United nine points behind them if they win. We have beaten them and there were many draws as well. I think I have won against every manager in the world during my 20 years here and I do not make this game a competition between two managers. It's between two clubs and two teams. I can understand that people want to create controversy, but it's not that that makes the audience,' he said.
Wenger will make a late call on the fitness of Alexis Sanchez, who did not report back from international duty with Chile until Friday.