After the latest meeting between Arsenal and Chelsea, which saw Arsene Wenger finally end his long wait for a win over his rival Jose Mourinho, it came as no surprise to anyone that the feud between the two managers came to the surface once more.
It is pretty clear that the two really do not like each other and it appears to be more than the usual rivalry between two people competing for the same thing, which we have seen between Wenger and Ferguson and between Mourinho and just about everyone.
But after the latest episode, in which Wenger seemed to deliberately avoid shaking the hand of the Portuguese coach, there have been calls for the two to put this all behind them, in public at least, for the good of the game. In a Daily Star report, the former Gunner Martin Keown has called for the League Managers Association to step in and have a word.
He said, “At the end of the day it is about respect.
“I hope the LMA chairman Richard Bevan gets these two guys together and they shake hands.
“We had a good game and at the end it was spoilt because they didn’t shake hands.”
But Mourinho has already upped the stakes and had another couple of digs, firstly trying to say that Wenger had abandoned his football principles at Wembley and now trying to suggest that it is the Arsenal boss that was in the wrong and that he would never show the same lack of respect by refusing a hand shake, as reported by The Guardian.
Jose said, “I think the person is one thing, the manager is one thing; it is one thing on the streets, one thing in the football stadium. In a stadium I never refused a handshake with a rival. Out of respect for my club, respect for football, I never refused a handshake with a manager in a football stadium.
“Last season I had fantastic behaviour on the touchline … I was never sent to the stand. I was [even] pushed in the technical area by another manager and it was a good experience – I kept my emotional control.”
He does have a point but then again, there are other ways of showing disrespect and he has certainly used some of them against the Arsenal boss. Even after leaving Chelsea after his first spell in charge he did not stop aiming barbs at the Frenchman. He did, however, say that there was mutual respect when he first returned to Stamford Bridge but as we know that did not last long.
So is this an important issue and should Wenger try to build bridges with Mourinho like Keown suggests? Is it a distraction that Arsenal do not need or does it add spice to the fight for success at the two clubs?