Since the race for the last ever Barclays Premier League is over – Barclays have not renewed their sponsorship – and the top four teams will basically be the top four at the end of the season (in some order), there’s been a clamor in the media to figure out what exactly they can write about.
There’s the fall of Liverpool, which has been done to death here and elsewhere. There’s the resurgence of Manchester United under Louis van Gaal, but that felt like it reached its apex in the middle of March, and United have now lost two straight games. Writing about Manchester City and their decline is, like the current state of their squad, rather boring. There’s nothing there that wasn’t written two years ago.
The war of words and clash of styles between the two has been the predominant storyline closing out this season, with both managers not exactly hiding their disdain for one another.
Jose, ever the results based pragmatist, can point to his perfect record against Arsene Wenger as well as not allowing Arsenal to score in more than eight hours of play. Arsene, the hopeless romantic who is more concerned with aesthetics than results, can counter by saying that Chelsea don’t have a particular style of play, that the West London club is boring.
Accusations will lob back and forth between both teams, and of course, nothing will be solved.
Chelsea can say that they have scored more goals than Arsenal, more goals than anyone except Manchester City in fact, but their total of 68 goals isn’t anything to write home about – certainly not after Manchester City’s 102 goal explosion last season, which is eclipsed only by a Chelsea squad managed by Carlo Ancelotti, winners of the double and scorers of 103 goals in the 2009-2010 season.
Arsenal can talk about their impeccable run of form in 2015, which saw them gain more points at 2.54 per match than any other team in Europe. But again, this will prove nothing, except that the Arsenal of Wenger and the Chelsea of Mourinho play the game in extremely different ways.
The one thing this war of words, this clash of styles, is proving is that Arsene Wenger and Jose Mourinho will probably never see eye to eye, and the chances of them being friendly to one another are slim to none.
This will probably be the case for as long as Mourinho doesn’t see Wenger as a threat. As long as Wenger continues to play the way Mou expects him to play, Jose will always have the upper hand, and he will rub that fact in Arsene’s face. He holds the advantage in the mental aspect of this “rivalry”, and until Arsenal either find a way to beat Chelsea or, and this is looking like the more likely scenario, upstage them in the league (that is, finish above them or even win the whole thing), Mourinho’s bullying and disrespect of Wenger will continue.
Then again, this is asking too much of Wenger at this point. The man is an aesthete, and he would rather lose playing his way than win aping someone else’s. This is why Mourinho will always win.
This is why Jose’s words will always hurt.