Jose Mourinho: “Arsene Wenger is not my rival” ahead of Arsenal vs. Chelsea


On Sunday Jose Mourinho and Arsene Wenger will lock horns on the touchline as Arsenal host Chelsea at the Emirates Stadium (Watch live, 11 a.m. ET on NBCSN and online via Live Extra) with the top two teams in the Premier League squaring off.

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Chelsea needs a win against Arsenal on Sunday and then Leicester City on Wednesday to seal the title, but the Gunners will see Sunday’s match as a great opportunity to extend their incredible winning spree to nine-straight matches with Chelsea’s three main forward — Diego Costa, Didier Drogba and Loic Remy — all struggling with injury.

Fun fact (well, its not fun for Arsenal fans): Wenger has never beaten Mourinho in 12 games against Chelsea with the Portuguese manager at the helm. Wenger has lost seven and drawn five of the previous clashes between the London giants but is confident his side can overcome the Blues on Sunday.

As for Mourinho, in his pre-match press conference on Friday he was asked if he sees Wenger as a rival…

“For me, he is not my rival, he is the manager of a big club in the same city where I work and live,” Mourinho said. “It is a big club with the same objectives we have. Because of that always comes a bit of rivalry, but for me it is not different from when I was at Inter with the Milan manager or at Real with the Atletico manager.”

Ahead of a big game with plenty on the line and plenty of previous difference between himself and Wenger, that’s a typical Mourinho response, isn’t it?

After Mourinho’s comments about Wenger being a “specialist in failure” last season, the two having a touchline spat at Stamford Bridge during Chelsea’s heated victory back in October and various other verbal snipes here and there, it’s safe to say there will be plenty of fireworks in and around the technical areas on Sunday.

Add in to the mix that Wenger and Arsenal is in the ascendancy and will want to put down a marker that they can challenge for the title next season, plus Cesc Fabregas returning to his former home stadium with Arsenal for the first time with Chelsea, and the atmosphere promises to be a bit spicy on Sunday.

Here’s a little video reminder of the pushing match Wenger and Mourinho go into the last time their two teams met…