For neutral fans, it is a sight to behold – whenever Jose Mourinho comes in a direct contest with Arsene Wenger. Over his period of stay at the Stamford Bridge, the Portuguese rarely passes up a chance to put one across the Arsenal boss. Even the recent talk about Arsenal spending more than Chelsea stems out of his attitude towards Wenger.
However, when it comes to winning, Mourinho is second to none. Over a period of 10 years between 2004 and 2014 (his two arrivals at Chelsea), Mourinho has won 11 major trophies spanning across three countries. On the other hand, Wenger won two – FA trophies, that too. The cherry on top of the North London cake is the fact that Wenger couldn’t beat him on the pitch in 13 attempts so far.
There is one thing where Wenger definitely has an edge over his nemesis – longevity. Deep down, though, Mourinho wishes that he can enjoy the same stability as Wenger does at the Emirates. The Chelsea owner (Roman Abramovich) is more triggerhappy than his Arsenal counterpart Stan Kroenke if the trophies are not won.
But, there is another side to the story. Mourinho has never come close to a fourth campaign at any of his clubs. He is entering the third season for the second time at the Stamford Bridge. For all his sarcasm and jibes targeted at Wenger, Mourinho likes the Frenchman’s endurance.
Wenger is also renowned for building the club – youth structure, first team etc. On the contrary, Mourinho’s reign is always succeeded with destruction at clubs. His previous reign at Chelsea had to be brought back on track by Carlo Ancelotti. He did that at Real Madrid who had Ancelotti (again) to thank for the fire-fighting. Mourinho did that at Inter Milan too which is still struggling to get their footing back.
The Portuguese bus conductor is also known to buy success rather than patiently build a young squad. In fact, the young players at the clubs Mourinho manages lose interest and move to other clubs. With Wenger, it is never a case. Listing the number of youngsters who prospered under his guidance will be an exercise that may require many hours of writing.
Also, his statements are a testimony to his combative nature which is a streak he loves exhibiting. He has never shown humility to sensitively manage and nurture relationships – both with those above and below him. He wins admirers with his style of play but he antagonizes many more with his style of play.
If Mourinho can stay at any club at least half the time that Wenger spent at the Emirates, he would earn a right to spar. Till that time, we all know, he is playing one of his old mind-games.