In Paul Merson’s column before the Chelsea match on Saturday, the former Arsenal man admitted that he actually quite enjoys the mutual dislike Wenger and Mourinho have for each other.
The pundit explained that it makes the rivalry more interesting and it’d be ‘two-faced’ for them to pretend they like each other when they clearly don’t.
“Those two really don’t like each other,” Merson said. “They won’t even shake each other’s hands. It’s probably the last really hostile Premier League rivalry. No one is backing down.
“It’s weird because they’re both top managers – and it’s a real dislike. But I quite like it, to be honest. I think it’s a bit two-faced to pretend you get on with someone when you can’t stand them.
“They don’t like each other and everybody knows it. There’s nothing wrong with that. It just makes watching them go at it even more entertaining.”
Merson added, “I don’t like people who pretend they’re the best of friends in public but are at each other’s throats behind the scenes.”
However, Merson also believes the intensity between the two teams helps Chelsea a lot more than it helps Arsenal.
“Does it have any effect on the pitch?,” he questioned. “I think it feeds into the Chelsea team. But I don’t think it feeds into the Arsenal one.”
It is true that Arsenal are notorious for crumbling under pressure. However, how often have Chelsea needed a win against Arsenal? Now the shoe – or football boot – is on the other foot.
Merson also touched upon the spot light now being back on Wenger, since we lost to Dinamo Zagreb in the Champions League and Chelsea won their match against Maccabi Tel Aviv 4-0. Of course, he’s completely ignoring that fact that the Blues have only won one of their league matches so far this season on the opening day. In fact, in their last Premier League fixture they lost 3-1 to Everton, whereas we won 2-0 to Stoke.
We’re not playing perfectly but it’s absurd to completely brush over the pressure Mourinho will be currently under in the league just because they won comfortably mid-week.