The touchline rivalry between Jose Mourinho and Arsene Wenger is set to renew this evening when the blues take on the gunners in the Community Shield at the new Wembley. Mourinho appears to be feeling the pressure to sustain a 13-match unbeaten streak against Wenger. He has never lost against the Frenchman, but Mourinho began preparations for this encounter by stating that this unbeaten record means little to him. It must in fact be the opposite, as it gives Chelsea a huge psychological advantage going into games against Arsenal. Speaking ahead of the match, Mourinho said:
“It doesn’t matter about Arsenal, it doesn’t matter about the manager.
“I never made it an explosion of happiness or special pride in my victories over Arsenal. I do not make a drama if one day we lose.”
This factor becomes especially important in the upcoming campaign as the gunners are almost certain to be title contenders this season. Concerns have been raised about Arsenal not making significant additions to their squad in the summer.
They have brought in Chelsea legend Petr Cech, who prepares to face his former club for the first time, for £10 million. The goalkeeper position was seen as a huge liability at Arsenal due to the inconsistent displays from Wojciech Szczesny, who has joined Roma on a season long loan deal. Apart from Cech, though, the squad remains relatively the same albeit with a few departures like that of Yaya Sanogo.
Chelsea, meanwhile, could give a debut to Radamel Falcao, who has joined the West London outfit on a season-long loan deal from Monaco. Asmir Begovic, who has joined Chelsea for £8 million as the second choice to Thibaut Courtois, is expected to remain on the bench. Diego Costa (hamstring) and Gary Cahill (broken nose) were major doubts for the game after appearing to sustain severe injuries in the final pre-season friendly game against Barcelona. However, Mourinho has confirmed that duo will be part of the squad.
Just as before every meeting between Mourinho and Wenger, there has been a war of words between the two managers. Mourinho has pointed out that Arsenal have spent a lot of money in the last two seasons and that they should be in contention for a league title. Wenger has responded by saying that he does not listen to what others say about his club’s transfer policy. Speaking ahead of the game, the Frenchman said:
“We spend when we think we have to spend and do not listen to what people think or say.
“When we don’t have the money, we don’t spend the money we haven’t got.
“When we have the money available, we spend it. We just try to make the right decisions.”
Success in the Community Shield has rarely defined the season for a club, but a victory will always bring positivity. Both Chelsea and Arsenal will be aiming for the same.