How Arsenal Became Chelsea's Favourite Opponent
On Sunday, Chelsea travel to the Emirates to face Arsenal. It will be the thirteenth occasion that managers Arsene Wenger and Jose Mourinho have met. The previous twelve have seen either a Mourinho win or a draw with Wenger still yet to experience victory over the Portguese manager.
Arsenal are on a run of eight successive wins in the Premier League, including victories over Manchester United and Liverpool, yet Chelsea remain the true test of the current Arsenal side. Something has to give.
Opta-powered fantasy football game Oulala took a closer look at the history between the two managers.
The Wenger/Mourinho saga began ten years ago in December 2004. Arsenal were the 'Invincible' Premier League champions and Mourinho - the self proclaimed 'Special One' in his first season of English football. Arsenal took the lead twice at the Emirates, with Chelsea equalising twice to scrape back a 2-2 draw.
The third meeting between the pair came at the Millennium Stadium in the Community Shield in August 2005. The Premier League winners faced the FA Cup winners as the dawn of the Didier Drogba-Arsenal love affair began with the Ivorian hitting a brace in a 2-1 win for Mourinho's men.
The following game two weeks later at Stamford Bridge celebrated Arsene Wenger's 500th game in charge of Arsenal but again Drogba ruined the party with a freak goal in a narrowly fought 1-0 win for Mourinho.
In December 2006, the pair met again at Stamford Bridge in a tense 1-1 draw. Mainly remembered for Didier Drogba's and Jens Lehmann's penalty box antics and later in the game, Michael Essien's excellent swerving strike to rescue a point for Mourinho and extend the hold he had over Wenger to six games.
Two months later the pair met at the Millennium Stadium for a second time in the League Cup final. Again, Didier Drogba came up trumps. With another brace the Chelsea striker led Jose Mourinho to his second League Cup in three years.
When the pair met in March last year at Stamford Bridge it was Wenger's 1,000th game in charge of Arsenal but one he'd rather forget. Chelsea won the game 6-0. However, the game will not be remembered for Chelsea's excellence on the day but for Andre Mariner's mix up when the referee sent off Kieran Gibbs instead of the actual offender, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. Twitter went into overdrive.
And the most recent and twelfth meeting between Wenger and Mourinho, Stamford Bridge last October. Chelsea won 2-0 but it was another game where other events took the limelight over the football after the pair continued their fondness of each other in a touchline tussle.
It's clear that there's no love lost between the two managers. The thirteenth match-up between Wenger and Mourinho should entertain us, even if the football doesn't.