Zee Media Bureau
London: When Arsenal take on Chelsea on Saturday, it will be Arsene Wenger`s 1000th game in charge of Gunners. Popular known as Le Professeur, the 64-year-old first arrived in London in 1996 from Japan to replace Bruce Rioch.
In these 18 years, the former Monaco manager have guided Arsenal to three league titles and four FA Cups. In the continental front, Arsenal have never failed to play in the Champions League for the last 16 years. They came close to lifting the trophy in 2006, but lost to Barcelona in the final.
Wenger`s stability and the management acumen, often with limited funding, have always been regarded as the main reason for the Arsenal`s success. In fact, to the club fans, Wenger is already a club legend.
However, their last title came in 2005, defeating Manchester United in the FA Cup final shoot-out 5-4. The lack of silverware have attracted criticisms from all known sides, from everyone including fellow managers in the league. Among them was Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho, who for all of his specialities, called Wenger a `specialist in failure`.
In contrast, Mourinho has conquered the Europe, winning Champions League with twice, with two different clubs in two different countries with Portuguese club FC Porto in 2004 and with Italian giants, Inter Milan in 2010. Besides the Portuguese has also won league titles in Portugal, England, Italy and Spain.
Besides, Mourinho has not lost to Wenger in 10 meetings.
So, when they square-off once again in yet another London derby, the clash will be much more tha about the points. The Stamford Bridge will witness some simmering moves and tactics, with both Wenger and Mourinho trying to outfox each other.
For the league and points table, Chelsea are sitting atop with 66 points while Arsenal are at third with 62 points with one extra game at hand.
We're building him (RvP) up now because of the World Cup. It’s a pity but we have to or he’ll never be fit.
Louis van Gaal