Only one point separates Premier League leader Chelsea and Arsenal at the top of the table, and now the two teams' London rivalry has become a war of words between managers.
Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho, who has brought the Blues to the top of the league in his first year of his second stint at the club, responded to comments from Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger criticizing Mourinho's "fear to fail." Mourinho proceeded to discuss Wenger's own failures, per Sam Wallace of The Independent:
Asked about that at his weekly press conference at the club’s Cobham training ground, Mourinho said: “He [Wenger] is a specialist in failure. I'm not. So if supposing he's right and I'm afraid of failure, it's because I don't fail many times. So maybe he's right. I'm not used to failing. But the reality is he's a specialist because, eight years without a piece of silverware, that's failure. If I did that in Chelsea I'd leave and not come back.”
Arsenal has led the Premier League for much of this season, but recently fell behind Chelsea in the standings. The Gunners have not won a trophy in any competition since their FA Cup triumph in 2005, while Chelsea has won 11 trophies since then. Though Mourinho has only been with the club for roughly four years of that period, the manager has also won trophies at Inter Milan and Real Madrid.
Both Chelsea and Arsenal are still contenders to win this year's Premier League, FA Cup and UEFA Champions League, but Chelsea's recent form has been far superior to Arsenal's, particularly with the Gunners dealing with injuries to key players Aaron Ramsey and Theo Walcott.
Wenger's original remarks about Mourinho's "fear to fail" followed Mourinho's comments that Arsenal isn't ready to win the Premier League title. Mourinho has said at times this season that his own team will not win the league, a statement that seems more misguided with each victory for Chelsea.
Chelsea and Arsenal will meet at Stamford Bridge on Mar. 22 for their second Premier League match of this season.
Clear winners from a public Mourinho-Wenger public spat: English football. Keeps it high up the sporting agenda — Rob Harris (@RobHarris) February 14, 2014