Arsenal v Manchester United used to be big enough on its own, but this season it’s all been about Arsene Wenger and Jose Mourinho.
For as long as the war has been going on between the pair, we’ve been discussing on site how Jose Mourinho’s problem with Arsene Wenger was clear – it was about respect.
For Mourinho, the only thing that matters is winning, no matter how you do that.
For Wenger, it’s not quite as black and white as that.
For Mourinho, all that matters is the here and now, no matter what the consequences are in the future.
For Wenger, he has one eye on the present, another on that future that doesn’t exist in Mourinho’s world.
A man like Mourinho, so self-absorbed, seeks nothing more than respect from all his peers. He does not have it. He looks at Wenger at Arsenal and sees a man who has not won a league title in over a decade and cannot comprehend why he is afforded the respect that is denied to the Portuguese.
As United got ready to meet Arsenal this weekend, Mourinho told us that we’ve been right this whole time:
To Mourinho, the idea of doing anything selfless is alien.
He cannot comprehend how one person would give up ten years of their career to buld a future for a club that comes with no immediate glory, no immediate gratification. He yearns to be liked, to be loved, to be respected.
We watch him in post-match interviews when his side has lost, throwing player after player under his broken down bus. He piles up the excuses before games just in case he needs them and when he doesn’t, he rushes to grab any soupcon of glory that might be floating past. This is not a man able to comprehend his role in anything negative, so fragile is the ego he urges us to believe is indestructible.
This is a man who moaned, consistently, about not being awarded the manager of the month against a man who spurns individual awards in what he consistently tells us is a team game.
Mourinho’s problem with Wenger has always been clear and it has always been about respect.
Saturday’s result didn’t change that. Only Jose Mourinho seeking therapy will.