Wenger desperate not to lose tonight's clash with Mourinho
Wenger needs to defeat manager he dislikes most
ARSENAL v CHELSEA
(Tonight, 10pm, Singtel TV Ch 109)
Genuine sporting loathing is a wonderful guilty pleasure.
From Roy Keane and Patrick Vieira to Wayne Bridge and John Terry, a mutual disrespect between professional competitors brings the popcorn to a party.
And Arsene Wenger and Jose Mourinho are bringing the stuff by the bucket-load tonight.
The contempt is real. The intolerance is coldly reciprocated. Both men play mosquitoes; a buzzing irritant neither manager can swat or silence.
The Wembley dugout will divide two incorrigible enemies. They are united only in their mutual hostility.
For that reason alone, Wenger will want to win the Community Shield.
Every rational thought will be consumed with just one number - 13.
In 13 previous attempts, across all competitions, Wenger has failed to defeat Mourinho.
The Chelsea manager has been an unreachable itch, burrowing his way beneath Wenger's skin like insufferable eczema.
The only ointment is victory. In a friendly where a strenuous workout is usually more important than the result, the silverware matters this time.
It's not about bragging rights. That's too simplistic an interpretation for what's really at stake here. This isn't about hubris, but hatred. Two men who genuinely do not like each other are driven to topple the other, in any setting.
Throughout the week, their arena had been the press conference.
With breathtaking hypocrisy, Mourinho accused Wenger of being a chequebook manager.
With the grace of an Olympic fencer, the Frenchman flicked the attack aside and challenged Mourinho's inability to produce young players.
Wenger is ahead on points. But Mourinho has the titles.
Wenger occupies the moral high ground, but Mourinho sits at the Premier League summit.
And that's what this war of words is really all about. Both managers crave what the other man already has.
Wenger wants the trophy cabinet. Mourinho wants the warmth. He has the begrudging respect for his unrivalled success, but he doesn't quite command the genuine affection enjoyed by Wenger for his idealistic commitment to the game's purer principles.
And it drives both men up the wall.
So a single stat titillates Mourinho and traumatises Wenger more than any other.
It can't become 14, not for Wenger, not when the Gunners are considered legitimate title contenders for the first time in a decade, not after a pre-season where North London saw more rigorous transfer action than West London.
It can't hit 14 because the unwanted record will offer further proof that Wenger can match Mourinho's spending, but still cannot match the master strategist in the dugout.
If the season represents Arsenal's best chance of a title tilt, then the Community Shield must be Wenger's best chance of knocking over his nemesis.
The momentum is not with Mourinho's men.
He was obviously sticking the boot in, but Mathieu Flamini was right to suggest that Mourinho acted out of character in wrapping Petr Cech in a pretty red and white bow and handing him to Arsenal as a pre-season gift.
Mourinho doesn't sell players in their prime to domestic rivals, but his hands were tied.
Club owner Roman Abramovich displayed more compassion to a loyal employee than his manager and allowed Cech to leave.
Both Chelsea and Arsenal are still in the market for a striker, but the Gunners have the edge elsewhere in their transfer dealings.
Mourinho can't lock down John Stones and hasn't fortified the midfield ranks behind Cesc Fabregas and Nemanja Vidic, whereas Arsenal are awash with creative and combative midfielders.
The Blues' best 11 remains superior to Wenger's first-choice Gunners, but the latter have rested and recharged after their equatorial exertions in Singapore.
Chelsea have only just returned from a leggy, lethargic tour against European heavyweights in the United States and didn't particularly impress either.
Of course, over-analysing pre-season runarounds can be an exercise in futility, but this Community Shield feels different.
Like the memorable contests between Manchester United and Chelsea in the previous decade, the result will be significant for what lies ahead.
If Mourinho maintains his record, he will not go quietly into the night. He will gnaw away at his rival's psyche. With pins in hand, he will pull out the Wenger voodoo doll at every opportunity.
If Wenger finally prevails, he gets the cackling monkey off his back. A win will spray away the Portuguese pest, at least for now.
The Frenchman needs no further incentive. Hate cannot drive out hate. But it could drive Wenger to victory at Wembley.
Jose aims another dig at old rival Arsene
Jose Mourinho has taken another swipe at old rival Arsene Wenger by claiming the Arsenal manager has only himself to blame for failing to find a solution to his dismal record against the Chelsea boss.
Wenger has failed to record a single victory over Mourinho in their 13 meetings and, ahead of their latest showdown in the Community Shield at Wembley tonight, the Blues chief mischievously suggested the Frenchman needed to work harder to come up with an answer.
Asked what he would be thinking if the roles were reversed and he hadn't beaten Wenger for so long, Mourinho said: "I think I would ask myself why. I would to try to answer but not because of a mental block but because I would want to try to find solutions to help my team to do it.
"Try to find a different way, try to find the reasons why it goes all the time against my team. But just that."
Former Inter Milan, Real Madrid and Porto manager Mourinho says he has never been on the wrong end of such a wretched run against a manager, referencing only successive defeats against the same boss but different teams and in different seasons.
"I lost twice against Tony Pulis," he said. "I lost against Palace (in March 2014) and against West Bromwich (in May 2015). One game each."
The Chelsea boss also insisted that extending his fine run against Wenger isn't his main concern in tonight's curtain raiser to the English season.
"It's not a friendly, but it's not a statement for the season. Arsenal last season won the Community Shield against the champions (Manchester City) and finished third. - AFP.