Friday, 24 April 2015

MARTIN KEOWN ANSWERS YOUR QUESTIONS: Mourinho admires what Wenger has established... he wants similar legacy at Chelsea

Arsene Wenger has never beaten Jose Mourinho in their 12 previous head-to-heads, but will the Frenchman finally get one over his bitter rivals when the teams clash on Sunday afternoon? 
Can Arsenal win the Premier League next season? @thepagooner
It feels like déjà vu! This time last year Arsenal had given up their quest to win it. Then with Welbeck and Sanchez joining in the summer, it was felt they could be the players to make the difference. Then Arsenal started terribly.
Ironically, some of the Mourinho/Chelsea intensity needs to find its way into the Arsenal dressing room. We talk about win at all costs but you need to find the balance between the creative attackers and those who want to do their job, do that defending and occupy parts of the pitch.
Ultimately the balance becomes about blending the players who are excellent footballers and those who really want to win.
Sometimes the flair players may not be up for it every week – that’s when you need others to be a real driving force.
It seems to be a different Arsenal that is finishing this season compared to the one that ended last season. They are coming on strong and that is because there is more steel and determination in their game.
Alexis Sanchez has impressed for Arsenal in his first season at the club
Mourinho has called Wenger a ‘voyeur’ and a ‘specialist in failure’ in the past. He may say all this in public to try and unsettle Arsenal, but he respects the Frenchman really, doesn’t he? Amy Davis via email
I’d like to think so. It was the same with Ferguson and Wenger. I think it’s important for our game that these outstanding coaches have and show respect for each other.
Over the years I do think Mourinho has gone too far with his behaviour but you hope that is something he will start to manage better.
It’s interesting that Mourinho has tried to goad Wenger in the past though there has been a cooling of that relationship recently. Mourinho has shown a bit of respect and said he wants to create a legacy like Wenger. That’s what he looks like he’s going to do at Chelsea.
You have to have competition and great leaders, and people often follow their behaviour but there has to be a standard. We have a game that transcends boundaries around the world. When you look at the impact it has it’s important that there is a degree of respect.
So behaviour from the likes of Mourinho and Wenger is really important. It was unfortunate to see them pushing and shoving on the touchline earlier this season and hopefully we won’t see that again on Sunday.
But I think deep down he admires what Wenger has established at Arsenal and he wants to create a similar legacy at Chelsea.
Wenger and Mourinho exchange words in Chelsea's victory over Arsenal back in October
How comes Jose always, always beats Wenger? What do you think is Jose’s secret when the two meet? @Buyuka_Official
I think Jose feels he knows exactly how Wenger will play every time and Wenger doesn’t create enough surprises for him. He understands his opponent and makes it about himself against Wenger.
He tries to second guess the Arsenal boss and sets his team up to beat them. To be honest it was no different with Sir Alex Ferguson. When I played against his sides they would play an extra midfielder because they knew they would be outplayed if they only had one. It was a compliment and they obviously felt they needed to do it.
It’s the same with Wenger and Mourinho. I’d be very surprised if Chelsea set their stall out to go and attack Arsenal but they will still pack a punch on the break.
Who is better – Sanchez or Hazard? Vicky Christianson, Herts
Hazard is slightly better. Right now he is on another level.
If you give Sanchez time he might get there. It didn’t quite work for him at Barcelona, though when you see the way Messi, Neymar and Luis Suarez are playing, I think Sanchez could easily play in one of those roles.
But I always felt he would be a wonderful signing for Arsenal and he hasn’t disappointed.
It’s difficult to draw comparisons but I think Hazard edges it. He’s in a more successful team and people might think I’m wrong, but the fact he is in a team about to win the Premier League gives him the advantage.
But it’s not just that. In technical terms there is a bit more control in Hazard’s game. He is the boss. If he wants to take a player one way and go the other, that’s exactly what he does.
With Sanchez he plays at such a speed that sometimes things don’t come off for him or he runs into traffic. Hazard is so in control of his movement and always makes excellent decisions. But both are breath-taking players to watch.
Eden Hazard celebrates his winning strike against Manchester United on Saturday
Wenger picked Sanchez over Fabregas. Did he make the right decision? Sam via email
I don’t think that’s a fair question, really. I think what Wenger did in the summer was to pick Aaron Ramsey over Fabregas.
If he had brought in Fabregas, that would have curtailed the development of Ramsey, who was the standout player of last season.
I don’t think it would have necessarily benefited Arsenal – that area in central midfield is very congested. It was time for the club and the player to move on.
He left to join his boyhood club and most let him leave with their blessing. Yes it was a surprise he went to Chelsea as they were rivals, though I think the criticism can be harsh.
Aaron Ramsey in action for Arsenal in their FA Cup semi-final win over Reading at Wembley
Arsenal need to win, Chelsea don’t. What defensive weakness should Arsenal target? @ParisP1010
I’m not sure Arsenal need to win, it’s more about playing for the result and pride. Arsenal will certainly want to win to keep Chelsea on their toes.
As for the defence I think they want to isolate the defenders and get pace in and around them. Ivanovic, Cahill and Terry are not the quickest, so that’s why I expect them to sit deep.
If they leave too much space between the defence and midfield then that might tempt players out of the defensive lines and will leave gaps.
Arsenal like to send waves of players forward and they will try to exploit those spaces. But it’s not like this is an obvious weakness for Chelsea – they are top of the table for a reason.
John Terry celebrates Chelsea's 1-0 victory over Manchester United at Stamford Bridge
How successful was @Arsenal against Chelsea during your era head-to-head? @cskalembo
Everybody says Chelsea only came to power when Roman Abramovich arrived but that was when they went to another level.
Money had already been invested in my era with players like Marcel Desailly, Gianfranco Zola and Gianluca Vialli. They had already spent millions but they weren’t quite finding the level of success in terms of trophies. That’s what Abramovich changed.
For us it was a case of trying to keep our foot on Chelsea. We had a good record against them and though they had decent players and were a good cup side, they didn’t seem to be able to put it together for long enough consistently in the league.
But with the first year of Abramovich’s money they crept through and knocked us out of the Champions League in 2004. Even then they could compete with the best Arsenal teams right from the start but that was because they had put in years of investment.
Both Arsenal and Chelsea have won big games this season by conceding possession to the opposition. How do you think they will approach this game? GoonerGirl, London
I do think it will be Arsenal that will dominate possession. Both sides have had a clear week to prepare and I hope they will have upped the ante in training. Intensity is not a tap you can turn on or off so you need to make sure you are fired up throughout the week to be in a good place for the weekend.
Chelsea are more likely to sit deep and use the pace of Eden Hazard and Willian on the break. Surely Oscar has to play because he was excellent at Stamford Bridge. Quite frankly I don’t think Jose Mourinho loves him as much as his other players.
Mourinho always has a special relationship with his teams – they speak of him almost as a father figure. I don’t see that as much with Oscar. But Chelsea will be very disciplined.
In some ways that is a shame because the players aren’t allowed to express themselves as they might. He creates such an intensity and focus in all his teams that winning becomes a matter of life and death.
When they do win, his players always celebrate wildly. It’s like he’s bottling up all that effort and aggression and then all of a sudden the cork comes out.
Just look at the celebrations when they won the Capital One Cup. When you build an atmosphere like that it creates ultimate commitment but the players daren’t stray from the plan. That’s why I expect them to be so disciplined on Sunday.
But they still have special players like Hazard and Fabregas who aren’t afraid to break from the mould and score. Those players are the icing on the cake.
Oscar played against Manchester United and could be in line for a start at Arsenal on Sunday
Who do you think will win this? In my opinion Chelsea will turn up on Sunday unlike last week @balamufc
It will certainly be an interesting game. Over the next few years Chelsea look like the team to beat, so here is Arsenal’s chance.
With the stadium paid for and Financial Fair Play curbing spending, it looks like Arsenal will finally be competing on a more level playing field, at least financially.
When Chelsea beat Arsenal at Stamford Bridge earlier this season, they pressed Arsenal all over the pitch to stop them playing.
I think, playing away from home, Mourinho will prefer to sit off Arsenal and stay compact to make things difficult. Ramires could come in and sit in that midfield for his mobility and energy.
When Arsenal are at their best there is so much pace to their play, but Ramires has the speed and aggression to try and stop that.
For Arsenal they could have done with this game three or four weeks ago. If they could have dented Chelsea’s points tally back then, that might have affected confidence and made things interesting at the top.
As it is this game is more about pride. But this Arsenal team is young and growing in confidence. They need to demonstrate what they are capable of.
Ramires, in action against Manchester United, could be deployed by Mourinho at the Emirates Stadium
Would Arsene Wenger ever sacrifice his principles to play like Jose Mourinho if it meant winning trophies? Mark, Doncaster
I think what people need to be careful of is underestimating Wenger. It’s not just about style. He plays to win.
There’s no doubt the philosophy Wenger has imposed on the club has made them popular throughout the world – people love to watch them, certainly more than Mourinho’s teams.
But I think Wenger is not so rigid in his philosophy – he always makes changes and adapts during games if it means he has the chance to win.
How many times did you see Thierry Henry put his foot on the ball in the corner late in the game? Nine times out of 10 Wenger wants to take the game to the opposition but he can adapt.
Just look at the game they won at Manchester City earlier this season at the Etihad. That was the perfect balance between attack and defence. But then you can also look at the defeat to Monaco in the Champions League where they were throwing so many punches but were knocked out on the break.
Wenger is a creative person and lets his players play where Mourinho is the ultimate pragmatist.
But now it looks like Wenger is trying to get a bit more security in the team and that can only be good for Arsenal’s balance.
Arsene Wenger and Jose Mourinho almost came to blows at Stamford Bridge earlier this season

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