Up until Jose Mourinho’s Manchester United hosted Arsene Wenger’s Arsenal on Saturday at the Old Trafford, both men had played 11 Premier League games between them.
The Frenchman had yet to emerge victorious; losing 5 times and drawing the other 6 against his number 1 hater in the technical box. However, Today’s game was different as he had an opportunity to make record and a clean slate to rewrite history with.
At least, there are no longer tough-tackling and physically-imposing players donning blues Jerseys and willing to play their heart out just to see him lose, and Mourinho is no longer in possession of the super coaching powers he once wielded.
It was the first time both were reuniting their feud ever since the one-time “Special One” moved to the Red half of Manchester. His team had mustered just 5 wins, drawn 3 and lost the other 3 before the meeting.
They couldn’t be regarded as one of the best sides based on current form, sat on 6th on the log, and had taken a 4-nil drubbing at the hands of Chelsea; a team Arsenal themselves put 3 unreplied goals past.
But everything that threatened to stand against Manchester United, including the absence of their talismanic striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic, and whatever favoured Arsenal was not just going to be enough to see Wenger’s fortune against an old foe change.
Additionally to the Mourinho Indian curse, the Gunners were visiting a ground they last tasted victory in back in September 2006.
So, when Mata put the Red Devils in front with some 20 minutes to go after the few chances the game had seen, it was only history repeating itself all over again and nothing much.
Jose withdrew his star player with 5 minutes to the end of the game and replaced him with Schneiderlin. The change was just another one of the many tactical geniuses the storied Portuguese is known for, so when he pulled it from up his sleeves, it wasn’t the biggest of deals. This was just a regular him teaching the enemy how to do it.
But just like it is with champions – a word that best describes Arsenal pre-match/post-match, it is never over until the final whistle is blown.
Chamberlain surged past a tired Rashford before crossing a fine ball into Arsenal’s box. The usual suspect in these type of aerial situations rose highest to power a header way beyond David deGea’s outstretched arms.
Giroud’s 89th equalizer was Arsenal’s first and only shot on target for the day. But it was enough to seal a valuable one point. That it was undeserved considering the Gunners only had the upper hand in possession doesn’t matter, at least not anymore.
And while Jose would be left ruing his side’s unluckiness as all their hardwork for the day went down the drain, and perhaps also bemoan missing the chance to record a 6th win over Wenger, the Frenchman is more than glad to walk away with 1 point and also prevent a loss against the Portuguese.
He lives to see another day, and that day may as well be his last opportunity to land a blow against Jose. But it doesn’t look like something feasible. Wenger just doesn’t get it right with Mourinho on the other end.