Over the next seven days you can bet your life that the internet will be swamped with stories about the rivalry between Arsene Wenger and Jose Mourinho, including the fact that Wenger has never beaten Mourinho. It’s true, except nobody says anything about the context of those matches. Here is a brief look at the matches played between the two managers so far.
1. Arsenal-Chelsea 2:2 (2004-05)
It was a difficult game to win for Arsenal as we had to play with two youngsters in the middle of the pitch: Mathieu Flamini and Cesc Fabregas. Vieira and Gilberto were both unavailable for the game. Chelsea didn’t have too many troubles – they could easily spend 30 million pounds on one player and buy a dozen top players to make their squad look more similar to a Football Manager one. Still, Arsenal had taken the lead twice through Thierry Henry before John Terry and Eidur Gudjohnsen scored the respective equalizers. Flamini had a penalty appeal dismissed and we had to settle for a draw.
2. Chelsea-Arsenal 0:0 (2004-05)
We had to keep the title away from Chelsea claws for a while at least. We managed to get a point at Stamford Bridge without Henry and Sol Campbell. Pires hit the bar with his early effort while Chelsea threatened to take the lead through Lampard and Drogba. It remained 0:0.
3. Chelsea-Arsenal 2:1 (2005-06, Community Shield)
It was Mourinho’s first victory over Wenger and the first goals from Didier Drogba against us. Drogba scored a goal in each half to give a two-goal lead to the reigning champions before Cesc Fabregas scored a consolation goal for us. We were without Campbell so Drogba used his strength to destroy Senderos all day long.
4. Chelsea-Arsenal 1:0 (2005-06)
Just two weeks after the game in the Community Shield we paid a visit to Stamford Bridge. It ended 1:0 for Chelsea – the first victory for Chelsea since 1995. It was one of the most fortunate goals you’ll ever see – Ferreira’s long ball hit Didier Drogba’s knee and went past Jens Lehmann into the net. Campbell was missed again.
5. Arsenal-Chelsea 0:2 (2005-06)
Whilst it should be said Chelsea were dominating at the beginning of the game with a number of chances missed, it was Henry who should have opened the scoring. It was one of those shots he scored with on a regular basis but on that Sunday afternoon he hit the post. Later on, Robin van Persie scored a perfectly good goal that was disallowed for a non-existent offside. Chelsea took the present with both arms and scored goals via Arjen Robben and Joe Cole.
6. Chelsea-Arsenal 1:1 (2006-07)
We took the lead through a great shot by Mathieu Flamini. The Frenchman scored a goal with twelve minutes to go but our lead didn’t last long as Michael Essien scored arguably the best goal of his career with a Roberto Carlos-esque swerved shot that went around Lehmann.
7. Arsenal-Chelsea 1:2 (Carling Cup Final)
The very first Arsenal goal for Theo Walcott gave the lead to one of the youngest teams – if not the youngest – that have ever started a Cup final. The line-up that was sent onto the pitch was rewarded by Arsene Wenger for reaching the final so we didn’t play with our best team. Didier Drogba’s equalizer wasn’t chalked off even though the Ivorian was offside. He scored once more with six minutes to go. The game was best remembered for the brawl at the end of the game. John Obi Mikel, Kolo Toure and Emmanuel Adebayor were all sent off. Before that Abou Diaby sent John Terry to the hospital with an unintended kick in the face.
8. Arsenal-Chelsea 1:1 (2006-07)
Probably the best missed chance for Wenger so far. We had taken the lead in the 43rd minute with Khalid Boulahrouz receiving the marching orders. Gilberto Silva scored from the penalty spot but Chelsea didn’t lose on their first visit to the new Emirates Stadium. It was Michael Essien again that scored with a spectacular header. Emmanuel Eboue hit the bar in the last minutes of the game.
9. Arsenal-Chelsea 0:2 (2013-14, Capital One Cup)
We started with fringe players like Ryo Miyaichi and Nicklas Bendtner while Mesut Özil and Olivier Giroud weren’t introduced before the second half. Cesar Azpilicueta seized on Carl Jenkinson’s poor handling of the long-ball and Azpilicueta’s compatriot Juan Mata scored a screamer to double the lead for the visitors. We came close through Giroud but it remained 0:2.
10. Arsenal-Chelsea 0:0 (2013-14)
We played this game on the back of a disaster at the Etihad (6:3). We played a clever game, with a tight defence but even in those circumstances it was Frank Lampard who hit the bar. Mike Dean was in charge so no wonder he didn’t point to the spot when Willian fouled Walcott in the box in the first half nor did he send off Obi Mikel when the Nigerian fouled Mikel Arteta with a dangerous tackle. We should have won the game but Giroud’s finishing wasn’t good enough.
11. Chelsea-Arsenal 6:0 (2013-14)
In what was Arsene Wenger’s 1000th game at Arsenal, the players totally let their boss down. We were destroyed at the very beginning and Andre Marriner gave a red card to the wrong player (Kieran Gibbs instead of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain). We were without Aaron Ramsey, Theo Walcott, Jack Wilshere and Özil as well. It could have taken a different turn had Olivier Giroud scored in the opening minutes of the game though, but it was a well-deserved victory for Chelsea. They simply destroyed us down the flanks and our midfielders (especially Chamberlain) did a crappy job under pressure.
12. Chelsea-Arsenal 2:0 (2014-15)
Martin Atkinson was in charge and it was like Chelsea played with twelve men on the pitch. He proved it when he failed to give a red card for a dangerous tackle from Gary Cahill. Wenger wanted to tell Mourinho what he thought about Cahill’s thuggery but the fourth ref saved Mourinho from the first knockout by Wenger. Eden Hazard gave the lead to Chelsea after Laurent Koscielny fouled him in the penalty box. Wilshere ruined a good chance for our equalizer and Atkinson didn’t give a penalty to us when Fabregas handled the ball in the box. It was the Spaniard who then sent the long ball for Diego Costa to put the game to bed. Danny Welbeck made a dangerous tackle on Fabregas in injury time but didn’t get a red card.
Now, can No. 13 be the lucky one for Wenger? As you might have noticed, there are some patterns that go through the clashes between Wenger and Mourinho from the very beginning:
1) Mourinho operates with a bigger squad because of his billionaire sugar-daddy,
2) Didier Drogba scores against us,
3) we don’t hold onto our lead for a long time,
4) we are yet to score against Chelsea during Mourinho’s second spell,
5) Giroud hasn’t scored against Chelsea since his arrival from Montpellier and missed good chances in all three matches against Mourinho’s Chelsea – he has scored against Manchester United, Liverpool (twice) and Manchester City (twice) this season though so he might change his luck against Chelsea too,
6) referees’ decisions are regularly going Mourinho’s way and
7) we get punished from counter-attacks.
If we mark Eden Hazard out of the game, we can win it. Olivier Giroud holds the key to victory – if he scores when the chance arrives, we should win the game. Alexis Sánchez and Danny Welbeck might play a huge role aside from the one in the Chelsea half but more about it in our match preview before the game. Hopefully this one will finally end Wenger’s bad record against Mourinho!