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Arsenal vs. Chelsea: Can Arsene Wenger finally get a first win against Jose Mourinho?

24 Apr | BY Betway | MIN READ TIME |
Arsenal vs. Chelsea: Can Arsene Wenger finally get a first win against Jose Mourinho?

The Gunners chief has never beaten the Blues boss in 12 times of asking – will it be lucky number 13?

After Arsenal had just squeaked past Reading in their FA Cup semi-final on Saturday, manager Arsene Wenger was in a jovial mood when he faced the press.

When asked whether he now thought the Premier League title race was done and dusted after Chelsea’s win over Manchester United at Stamford Bridge, he claimed not to know the score, saying: “I ignore completely what happened.”

The reporter told him Chelsea had won, 1-0.

With all the comic timing of Tommy Cooper at his finest, Wenger replied: “Ah 1-0… the usual,” before grinning and basking in the laughs of the gathered pressmen. “We will see next week,” he added, before leaving the stage, smiling all the way.

But will he be grinning and so full of quips come the final whistle on Sunday?

Consider this: Wenger has faced Jose Mourinho in 12 matches. And not won a single one.

That’s right: seven defeats, five draws, with a total of 21 goals for Chelsea, and six for Arsenal.

Famously, Wenger doesn’t like to change his team or his tactics depending on the opposition. The Frenchman is a fully paid-up member of the Brian Clough school of management on that one. “I don’t worry about the opposition – let them worry about us,” was Cloughie’s mantra.

All well and good when you are sweeping all and sundry aside with your breath-taking, attacking football in an unbeaten season. Perhaps not so good when you haven’t won the league for a decade and are facing football’s finest tactician – bar none.

A meticulous planner for each game, Mourinho and his players are so well prepared and so fully briefed on every facet of their opponents, they probably know their star signs, favourite liquors and Netflix passwords.

There is worse news for Wenger too: after sitting out Chelsea’s last two matches with a hamstring problem, star striker Diego Costa is now expected to be fit for the trip to the Emirates – as are Mourinho’s other two forwards, Loic Remy and Didier Drogba.

And Arsenal defender Per Mertesacker is out with an ankle injury.

Added to the fact that Eden Hazard is showing every inch of the form that has him the favourite to pick up all the player of the year gongs come the end of the season, and it looks a tall order for the Gunners – even if they are on a nine-game winning streak.

Chelsea need just two more wins to clinch the title – Mourinho’s first since his return to Stamford Bridge. In recent weeks they have appeared to be stuttering over the finishing line somewhat – a few too many draws and plenty of wins by the odd goal against relegation candidates. But they’ve always done just enough.

“Ah 1-0… the usual.” That will do Mourinho and Chelsea just fine.