Dissecting the Mourinho-Wenger, Man United-Arsenal rivalry


Jose Mourinho and Arsene Wenger do not get on. At all.

From pushing on the sidelines, to calling each other out in press conferences and snubbing handshakes, this rivalry is personal.

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It will be renewed in the Premier League this Saturday as Mourinho’s Manchester United host Wenger’s Arsenal at Old Trafford (Watch live, 7:30 a.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com). Over the years the duo’s relationship has deteriorated and in the past two seasons it has become a bitter feud.

When you throw in the fact that Mourinho has never lost a Premier League game to Wenger (won five, drawn six) and has only lost once in 15 matches in all competitions against Wenger, you understand why the Arsenal manager seems so impacted by the media room jibes from his Portuguese counterpart.

Up until Mourinho’s firing from Chelsea last season, his rivalry with Wenger was at its most intense ever. Now, they’ll be reunited on the sidelines as Mourinho has returned to management and the two most successful Premier League managers currently coaching in the PL will lock horns. In the UK there has been a countdown clock for a few days counting down to 7:30 a.m. ET on Saturday when United host Arsenal.

This has all the emotion of a huge rivalry on and off the pitch.

How has become this big? Let’s take a look back at some of Mourinho’s comments about Wenger which have livened up this rivalry in recent years…

In February 2014, Wenger was asked why some of his title rivals (namely Jose Mourinho) played down their title ambitions. Wenger said it was a “fear of failure” which got this response from Mourinho.

“Am I afraid of failure? He is a specialist in failure. I’m not,” Mourinho said. “So if one supposes he’s right and I’m afraid of failure, it’s because I don’t fail many times. So maybe he’s right. I’m not used to failing. But the reality is he’s a specialist because, eight years without a piece of silverware, that’s failure.”

After a fiery battle at Stamford Bridge in September 2015 which saw Chelsea win 2-0 and Gabriel sent off for Arsenal, but Diego Costa latter charged and banned by the FA, Mourinho went all out at Wenger.

“In this country, only one manager is not under pressure. Every other manager is. We cannot be below par. We have to meet the objectives. There is one outside that list, but good for him. You know who,” Mourinho said. “The one who can speak about the referees before the game, after the game, can push people in the technical area, can moan, can cry in the morning in the afternoon, nothing happens. He can not achieve, keep his job, still be the king. In the rule book it says some managers can speak about the referees before and after games. Some others cannot. I am in the list of those who are punished if they speak about the referees.”

In the latest episode of PST Extra, Jenna Corrado and I discuss the bitter rivalry between Mourinho and Wenger, plus weigh in on the injuries facing both teams ahead of this eagerly anticipated clash.

Click play on the video above to get your PST fix.