Jose Mourinho and Arsene Wenger’s rivalry was one of the fiercest we have ever seen in the English Premier League.
The two had been at odds for years, and even the most unlikely circumstances occasionally resulted in some type of cruel joke or putdown.
Consider Arsenal’s historic 5-4 victory over Tottenham in 2004. Nine goals were scored in a match between the two north London sides, and the lead changed hands multiple times as the Gunners recaptured first place, thrilling the spectator.
It was an exciting match with goals from Premier League greats like Thierry Henry, Patrick Vieira, and Jermain Defoe.
Jose Mourinho, who was managing Chelsea at the time and had no official connection to either Arsenal or Tottenham, yet believed he could use the triumph to criticize Wenger and his team.
“Five-four is a hockey score, not a football score. In a three-against-three training match, if the score reaches 5-4 I send the players back to the dressing rooms as they are not defending properly.”
“So to get a result like that in a game of 11 against 11 is disgraceful.”
Wenger tried to instill the kind of free-flowing, attacking football in all of his Arsenal sides, but Mourinho is well known for his defensive-first philosophy.
Despite Mourinho’s opinion, few could contest the Frenchman’s assertion that football should be enjoyable. Few could also contest how exciting the victory at White Hart Lane was.
Wenger’s lack of concern with the victory’s method, although calling it “totally ridiculous,” is hardly surprising in light of this.
“Games like these north London derbies are either 0-0 or completely crazy. You could say this one was definitely completely crazy,” the former Arsenal boss explained.
“I’m delighted we are back to winning ways and I think we showed great character because Spurs came back at us even when we were two goals ahead,” he added.
The underwhelming defence was noted by the Frenchman, who added: “Our defenders are not as happy as our attackers, but we are happy to win. I enjoyed it, but there were certainly some uncomfortable moments.”
Unfortunately for Wenger, Mourinho’s Chelsea team ultimately overtook the Gunners and won the Premier League that season, giving them their first-ever championship.
The Blues would go on to win the trophy while also having the best defensive record; Mourinho’s team only allowed 15 goals in the whole season, which is still a record to this day.
Jose Mourinho V Arsene Wenger
There is no denying the animosity between Wenger and Mourinho, but the Portuguese coach has typically outperformed his French adversary.
Mourinho and Wenger met 15 times in all competitions while Mourinho was in charge of Chelsea.
Only one of those contests, the 2015 FA Community Shield, was won by Wenger’s team.
A month later, Mourinho exacted revenge by defeating Wenger for the eighth time with a 2-0 Premier League triumph at Stamford Bridge.
Mourinho was also responsible for Arsenal’s worst loss to Chelsea, a 6-0 thrashing in west London in March 2014.
It was a cruel way for Wenger to celebrate managing the Gunners for 1,000 games.
The two have also faced off in the League Cup twice, most notably in the 2007 final when a Didier Drogba-inspired Chelsea came from behind to win the trophy amidst ugly scenes at the Millennium Stadium.
In addition to the Premier League and Community Shield, where Mourinho defeated Wenger in the 2005 preseason showpiece.