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Old Wounds Still Sore For Wenger

It may only be February but Pantomime season seems to have arrived early in the Premier League and there’s no prizes for guessing who’s been cast as the villain.
There is a seriously unhealthy obsession with Jose Mourinho in the Premier League. He’s like an itch the football world just has to scratch. A wound that really should have healed by now if it was just left alone – and yet it’s clearly just too tempting to have a sneaky little pick to see what happens……and Arsene Wenger just couldn’t leave it alone.
Not that the Arsenal manager is cast as the baddie in this particular pantomime though, heaven forbid! Quite the opposite, he’s cast as Snow White to Jose Mourinho’s Wicked Witch. Clearly Wenger has spent his entire time in the Premier League nurturing all his little men from Grumpy (Ramsey) to Dopey (Giroud), whilst scattering his petals of love and kindness at all he meets along the way. Whilst the Chelsea boss, the proverbial bad apple, turns up to take centre stage, spewing poison over his rivals.
Over-stated? Google ‘Arsene Wenger on Mourinho’ and what you’ll find is Jose’s subsequent interview, the one he gave after he’d been prompted to respond to comments from the Arsenal manager. You’ll have to be patient to find Wenger’s initial dig at the Chelsea boss though – because it’s conveniently slipping off the page.
What you’ll find in abundance is plenty of outrage at Jose’s audacity to question his rival. How dare Mourinho suggest Arsene Wenger hasn’t really succeeded in doing very much for the past 8 years. Surely he can’t have the brass neck to intimate what is sung to Arsenal week in week out – that a nil return for their efforts since 2004 doesn’t give you much to shout about?
And yet, the Tweets/Facebook statuses/Headlines do much shouting in Arsene’s defence. ‘Wenger has more Premier League titles than Mourinho and four times as many FA Cups’, true, in Wenger’s 17 years at Arsenal he’s delivered 3 Premier League titles whilst Mourinho delivered 2 between 2004-2007 and it’s taken him a full 6 months so far to be in contention for a possible third. It’s also true that Wenger has won 4 FA Cups with Arsenal in 17 years to Jose’s 1 at Chelsea in less than a quarter of that time, but then Jose has been on his travels, cleaning up elsewhere.
You won’t read about Jose’s sabbatical from Stamford Bridge though, we’re just talking English trophies here because otherwise, any comparisons between the 2 managers would then have to acknowledge La Liga, Serie A and Primeira Liga titles along with Copa del Rey, Coppa Italia and even Champions League success – none of which Wenger has.
As ever, when it comes to Jose Mourinho bashing, it’s all conveniently selective. Let’s forget Wenger goaded him into a response he was clearly loathe to have to give. Let’s just focus on the response. We can brush over Wenger’s disrespectful intimation that Mourinho doesn’t take responsibility for defeats and although top of the League, is a bit of a bottle job – and we’ll just twist what were very honest words in his defence:

“If he is right and I am afraid of failure it is because I didn’t fail many times. Am I afraid of failure? What is that? I believe at the end of the day I’ll be [perceived as] the impolite guy, the one who’s aggressive in his words. But of course not. He is saying we’re not candidates because we’re afraid of failure. Failure of what? Not winning a title this year? Or in two years? I have a lot of respect for him. Failure is not winning a title in seven or eight years. That’s failure.”

Now Wenger’s had the reaction he went poking and prodding for, there’s no point whinging it hurts because as we all know all too well, the trouble with picking at old wounds that haven’t quite healed is that they’ll be re-opened and become inflamed.



Blue is the colour is an honest insight to the World of Chelsea FC. Not always pretty, sometimes rather cynical, but always realistic.


February 2014
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