Celebrating a decade of disconnected decadence

26 10 2014

The history of association football has been reduced to a parade of scintillating articles on scintillating subjects.

Premier League Playback: Can Mourinho vs. Wenger become greatest managerial rivalry?

Gone are the days of Arsene Wenger vs. Sir Alex Ferguson as the Premier League’s most intriguing managerial battle. Wenger now has a new sparring partner: Jose Mourinho.

This feud has been bubbling up since 2004 when Mourinho first managed Chelsea and last season his jibes that Wenger was a “specialist in failure” taunted Arsenal’s boss, as the Portuguese manager has never lost a game to Arsenal. In 12 games vs. Wenger, Mourinho has now won seven and drawn five followingChelsea’s 2-0 defeat of Arsenal on Sunday.

[RELATED: Watch full match replays]

All of that pent up frustration surrounding Mourinho proved too much for Wenger to handle on Sunday on the touchline at Stamford Bridge as Gary Cahill clattered into Alexis Sanchez in front of the benches in the first half.

Wenger was furious and wandered towards the Chelsea bench where Mourinho began to wave Arsenal’s manager back dismissively. Much like a schoolyard argument escalating rather quickly, Wenger shoved Mourinho with both hands in the center of his chest and Mourinho got up in the Arsenal bosses face. Physical confrontations between two PL managers does not happen often, if ever…….

……..Some top managerial duels in PL history

Keegan vs. Ferguson – During the 1995/96 season, Kevin Keegan delivered the famous “I’d love it” speech after Fergie’s accusations. Manchester United went onto win the title with a stunning comeback as Newcastle crumbled but the feud lasted for a few seasons.

Wenger vs. Ferguson – This is the managerial battle all will be measured by. During the 90’s and early 2000’s, Arsenal and United tossed the PL title back and forth. The bitter rivalry between Wenger and Ferguson will be talked about for decades to come. It’s the stuff legends are made of.

Benitez vs. Mourinho – Liverpool and Chelsea battled it out domestically and in the UEFA Champions League with ‘Rafa’ not a favorite with Moruinho or Chelsea’s fans. So much so that when Benitez managed Chelsea on an interim basis in 2013, Blues fans booed him despite a top four finish and a Europa League title. The hatred remains.

Pellegrini vs. Mourinho – Mourinho is a busy man, as he has another potential feud bubbling up as he handles Wenger. Man City boss Pellegrini became riled up with Mourinho last year over several comments and the two keep sniping back and forth. Slow burner, but could overtake Mourinho vs. Wenger……

Warning; the rest of that article contains needless statistical analysis. Now for a bit of commemorative comparison!

Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea 2014/15 Team vs. His 2004/05 Premier League Champions

Still unbeaten this season with just two points dropped in the Premier League, Jose Mourinho‘s Chelsea are looking formidable.

For many, they’re the favourites to win the title, with some even predicting the Blues could go the entire league campaign undefeated, emulating Arsenal‘s “Invincibles” of 2003/04.

That would be a big ask, even of this Chelsea team, but it’s a prediction that comes with it’s merits.

Chelsea look redoubtable right now, and with strength in depth across every position, there aren’t many sides who look like they could get the better of them……

While we’re on the subject of ten year anniversaries.

Manchester United v Arsenal: Pizzagate revisited – 10 years on

“All eyes turned and all mouths gawped to see this pizza slip off that famous puce face and roll down his nice black suit.”

The excerpt from Ashley Cole’s autobiography may sound like a tale from a school dinner hall.

In fact, it is a snapshot from the farcical scenes in the Old Trafford tunnel that followed Manchester United’s tempestuous 2-0 victory over Arsenal on 24 October 2004, a result that ended the Gunners’ 49-match unbeaten run.

As players and officials from both sides clashed in the tunnel, United manager Alex Ferguson was struck by a slice of pizza thrown by an Arsenal player, later alleged to be Cesc Fabregas.

Further details of the so-called “Battle of the Buffet” have always been sketchy, with some tabloids claiming at the time that soup and sandwiches were among the edible projectiles deployed by rival players.

With the help of testimonies from managers and players on both sides, and fresh insight from Phil Neville, who was at the heart of United’s midfield on the day, BBC Sport revisits “Pizzagate”, 10 years on……

The commemoration of a squabble that would shame 11 year olds highlights what many have suspected; football has become little more than another content provider for our media.

Now that we’re on the path to dis-enlightenment we can look forward to celebrating the following commemorations over the next couple of weeks.

26th October is the tenth anniversary of Gary Megson’s “West Brom manager sacking ceremony”.

29th October is the tenth anniversary of Adrian Mutu’s “Chelsea contract cancelling ceremony”.

5th November is the tenth anniversary of Martin Jol’s “Tottenham caretaker manager naming ceremony”.

8th November is the tenth anniversary of the removal of “caretaker” from Martin Jol’s job title.

9th November is the tenth anniversary of Bryan Robson’s “West Brom manager naming ceremony”.

I can’t remember which ring of hell we’re in at the moment.



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