Former Gunners player Paul Merson spoke to the media ahead of this weekend’s eagerly awaited Premier League clash between Manchester United and Arsenal. The Sky Sports pundit has claimed in the build-up that Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger is already making excuses ahead of the game against Jose Mourinho’s men.
Arsenal are already six points ahead of United at this stage of the season but have been afflicted by a series of injuries recently. Santi Cazorla and Hector Bellerin have been ruled out of the fixture and for a considerable period while Chilean International Alexis Sanchez has also picked up an injury to his hamstring which has been classified as a low-grade tear and is a doubt for the clash against the Red Devils.
Merson went ahead and predicted the scoreline saying, “I think this will be a draw. Arsenal thought they could turn up in February and win and ended up getting beaten 3-2.”
The former Arsenal winger who played 328 games for the Gunners between 1985 and 1997 scoring 78 goals has further suggested that Arsene Wenger is using Alexis Sanchez’s injury while on duty with Chile as an excuse before the big weekend game, “Wenger is moaning about Alexis Sanchez and Chile, I think he’s just starting to make excuses already.”
Merson was then quick to point out Jose Mourinho’s record against Arsene Wenger as a possible reason for the ‘excuses.’ “Really, Arsenal should win this game on form but with Jose Mourinho’s record against Arsenal, I think he has a hold over him,” he said.
The Arsenal boss has just won 1 game out of 15 against the Portuguese tactician and Mourinho knows well the superiority he has over his French rival. Wenger’s heaviest defeat against Mourinho was 2014’s 6-0 thrashing by Chelsea at Stamford Bridge and was the worst way possible to mark Wenger’s 1000th game in charge of Arsenal.
Le Professeur will certainly be aiming to break the Mourinho hoo-doo when the sides meet tomorrow at Old Trafford. However, there will be a lot of fireworks when the two teams meet with a lot riding on this crunch Premier League tie. Mourinho has in the past, branded the French manager as a "specialist in failure" and a “voyeur”, while Wenger has retorted calling the self-proclaimed “special one” as “out of order, disconnected with reality and disrespectful.”
There is no love lost between the two and their famed bust up on the sidelines remains etched in the memories of football fans. Whether Mourinho continues his exceptional record against Wenger as Manchester United boss remains to be seen.
That being said, it should be a rather tight affair but both sides will be looking to win the game, and it should be an exciting spectacle to watch come kick off tomorrow.