Jose Mourinho and Arsene Wenger have had more playground spats than you’d see in the Big Brother house. We’ve had a name-calling, insult-hurling, tantrum-throwing decade of hostility – and at one point in 2014 we even got very close to fisticuffs.
Or at least the kind of scuffle you’d expect from two 70-year-olds at a wedding. Still, it’s one of the spiciest rivalries in Premier League management and currently there’s a clear reigning champ.
Mourinho has faced Wenger 13 times in competitive fixtures and never lost. His record stands at seven wins and six draws, with Wenger unable to claim a success over ‘The Special One’. Not only has Wenger never won a game, his side have also failed to score in 69 per cent of matches against Mourinho’s men. Jose’s claim that the Arsenal manager is a ‘Specialist in Failure’ clearly has a fair bit of evidence behind it.
To add insult to injury, Jose also showed up to poop the party as Arsene tried to celebrate his 1000th game in charge of the Gunners. Inside 17 minutes on that day at Stamford Bridge, Chelsea were 3-0 up and Arsenal were down to 10 men after Kieran Gibbs was sent off in an extreme case of mistaken identity. Gibbs was given his marching orders, even though it was Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain who had handled the ball on the line.
In the end it was probably a blessing to get off the pitch as soon as possible as Chelsea hit Arsenal for six – giving Mourinho his biggest ever Premier League victory.
Today’s clash has an interesting twist however as for the first time Wenger goes head-to-head with Mourinho in the Premier League, but with Jose no longer at Chelsea. A trip to the Theatre of Dreams is on the cards – but it’s more like a nightmare for Arsenal.
The Gunners have only won one of the last 14 away league games against Manchester United. Emmanuel Adebayor’s 86th minute winner in 2006 is the only ray of light in an otherwise woeful record that includes that infamous 8-2 thumping five years ago.
Yet despite Wenger’s horrendous record against Mourinho, and despite Arsenal’s constant problems at Old Trafford, the Paddy Power traders can’t split the two teams this afternoon. Both sides are available at 13/8 with the draw at 23/10, as Arsene Wenger threatens the greatest comeback since Rocky.
Unfortunately for the neutral, these clashes between Mourinho and Wenger very rarely produce high-scoring thrillers. 10 of their 13 meetings have featured under 2.5 goals with the 6-0 thumping a rarer sight than Gay Byrne riding a unicorn into space. It’s 5/6 that there’ll be under 2.5 goals today, and the 0-0 draw at 9/1 looks like a punt that certainly packs a punch.