Mourinho v Wenger – A Poisonous Rivalry
Manchester United host Arsenal on Saturday, where Jose Mourinho will renew his long-running rivalry with Arsene Wenger.
We take a look at some of their most infamous run-ins throughout the years.
The Early Years
In 2005 Mourinho was unimpressed with Wenger’s opinions on Chelsea’s tactics. The Frenchman accused the Blues of refusing to take the initiative in games – basically parking the bus – and the Special One wasn’t happy.
He proceeded to liken Wenger to a “voyeur…someone who likes to watch other people. There are some guys who, when they are at home, have a big telescope to see what happens in other families. Wenger must be one of them – it is a sickness. He speaks, speaks, speaks about Chelsea”
Wenger didn’t take kindly to this, claiming his rival was “out of order, disconnected with reality and disrespectful. When you give success to stupid people, it makes them more stupid sometimes and not more intelligent.”
But Mourinho stood by his comments, stating he had a file of quotes “from Mr Wenger about Chelsea football club in the last 12 months – it is not a file of five pages. It is a file of 120 pages.”
The prickly relationship between the two didn’t end when Mourinho left Chelsea for the first time.
In 2008, Mourinho found time to muse that “the English like statistics a lot. Do they know that Arsene Wenger has only 50 per cent of wins in the English league?”.
After criticism from Wenger about the behaviour of his Real Madrid team, Mourinho responded by suggesting that “instead of speaking about Real Madrid, Mr Wenger should speak about Arsenal and explain how he lost 2-0 against a team in the Champions League for the first time”.
It didn’t take long after Mourinho’s return to England in 2013 for sparks to fly again between the two.
Wenger felt the need to criticise Chelsea’s sale of Juan Mata – a former Arsenal target – to Manchester United, stating “Chelsea have already played twice against Man United, they could have sold him last week. I think if you want to respect the fairness for everybody, this should not happen.”
Mourinho brushed off the comments, claiming the fixture list favoured Arsenal and that “Wenger complaining is normal because he always does”.
They were sparring again a couple of years ago when the Gunners boss stated Mourinho was downplaying Chelsea’s title chances due to “a fear to fail”.
His comments sparked the notorious “specialist in failure” barb from Mourinho, who claimed he was “not used to failing. But the reality is he’s a specialist because, eight years without a piece of silverware, that’s failure”.
It all came to a head in October 2014 when Wenger shoved Mourinho on the sideline during a fiery Chelsea win, an incident the Chelsea boss felt was deserving of “a stadium ban”.
After comments from Mourinho about Arsenal spending more in recent years than his club, the two met again in last year’s Community Shield.
Jose questioned Wenger’s record against Chelsea, having never won in 13 games. This run came to an end at Wembley but not before the two snubbed a handshake with each other after the match.
Their relationship grew so cold that BoyleSports offered money back if the duo shook hands after Chelsea faced Arsenal last September. A post-match handshake failed to materialise but they did briefly shake hands prior to the game – but couldn’t look each other in the eyes.