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14.05.2018 15:06
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Plenty of misery stares Arsene Wenger and Arsenal in the face as he renews hostilities with Jose Mourinho on Saturday, this time at venerable Old Trafford against Manchester United in this early season crunch match of top-six teams in the Premier League table.Wengers inability to defeat Mourinho at any point in his 20-year career at any venue in league and cup play continues to be the main storyline any time these two managers meet, and the pressure to end the spell ratchets higher as time passes. The incessant sniping between the two only adds to the drama, with Mourinho content to wear the black hat and antagonise the Frenchman seemingly to no end.Almost always, Mourinho is the first to add spice -- or vinegar depending on ones fan allegiances -- but hes also backed up all his pithiness with a 7-6-0 mark against Wenger.The one match he did lose, the 2015 Community Shield at Wembley Stadium, Mourinho made the defeat secondary by throwing his medal into the stands for a fan as he walked into the tunnel following the final whistle and claimed Arsenal lost their philosophy by playing that match in a defensive style similar to how he coached Chelsea.And after he took the Manchester United job this summer, he fired a not-so-subtle volley at Wenger, saying: There are some managers, the last time they won a title was 10 years ago, the last time I won was a year ago. If I have something to prove, imagine the others. To finish fourth is not the aim.For this match at least, Wenger is trying to downplay the animosity between the two and instead focusing on the fact Arsenal (7-3-1) -- fourth and trailing the other Manchester side on goal difference but only two points behind front-runners Liverpool -- have a chance to not only put more distance between themselves and United (5-3-3) but also keep themselves in the thick of the title race.Look, I dont think I have to describe our relationship, the manager said at his pre-match news conference Thursday. He will fight for his team and I will fight for my team and I think that is completely normal.You know, we didnt lose always. We have beaten them and there were many draws as well. I think I have won against every manager in the world during my 20 years here and I do not make this game a competition between two managers … I think I can understand that people want to create controversy, but its not that that makes the audience. What will make the audience is the quality of the game.Yet one can point to that quote with Wenger hanging onto that Community Shield win to claim Mourinho is still in his head. And its just not that Mourinho wins these matches, its the fact he completely flummoxes Wenger and Arsenal, one of the most flowing sides in all of Europe.The Gunners have only five goals in those 13 matches, failing to score on a Mourinho-coached team in a league or cup match since Gilberto Silva converted a penalty kick in the 43rd minute of a 1-1 draw on May 6, 2007, a span of 587 minutes.To take it one step further, that drought extends to 708 minutes in the run of play while Mourinho has been on the touchline, dating to Theo Walcotts goal in the 12th minute of the 2007 League Cup final, a match Chelsea rallied to win 2-1.And as the 14th clash between Mourinho and Wenger dominates the storylines while Arsenal look to extend their unbeaten streak in all competitions to 17 matches (12-4-0), there is also the matter of overcoming their struggles at Old Trafford.The Gunners woes there extend back to Mourinhos predecessors Sir Alex Ferguson, David Moyes and the man he replaced, Louis Van Gaal. The lone win in their last 10 trips (1-2-7) was a 2-1 victory in the 2015 FA Cup quarterfinals, and Arsenal have been outscored 20-8 in those nine league matches. The streak is highlighted by Uniteds 8-2 thumping on Aug. 28, 2011.Wenger will have almost all of his first-choice players available except for right back Hector Bellerin, who is expected to miss a month due to a knee injury suffered in the north London derby versus Tottenham Hotspur. There was worry striker Alexis Sanchez would not be available after picking up a leg injury in training for Chile, but the teams joint-leading scorer with eight goals put that to rest by bagging a brace in a World Cup qualifier win over Uruguay on Tuesday.I think were even more determined to achieve something and win the Premier League, but you have to take it slow, said Sanchez, who has two goals in five lifetime matches versus the Red Devils. We have a great team, our ambitions are high and we want to win the league.Wengers top two options to replace Bellerin on the backline are Mathieu Debuchy and Carl Jenkinson, though Debuchy has yet to appear in a match this season and Jenkinson has played just two games. Danny Welbeck, who scored the FA Cup winner against his former team, is sidelined with a long-term injury.Amazingly, Mourinho does not have a stranglehold on the Manchester United storylines. Captain Wayne Rooney, a forgotten figure of sorts having started just once in the clubs last six matches, made headlines for all the wrong reasons this week when tabloids splashed front-page pictures of him appearing inebriated at a wedding reception being held at the national teams hotel following Englands World Cup qualifier win over Scotland.Rooney opted to stay at the teams headquarters rather than venture out with teammates, but the pictures showed he had a good time all the same. He released a statement saying he apologised to both the England FA and interim manager Gareth Southgate -- soon expected to be named the full-time boss of the Three Lions -- but the incident puts more scrutiny on whether the 31-year-old Rooneys days with the national team are numbered both as captain and even as a player.Yet there could be a spot Saturday for Rooney, who has 13 goals and five assists in 30 lifetime matches versus Arsenal, because Zlatan Ibrahimovic is suspended due to a yellow card accumulation. And this match seemed tailor-made for Ibrahimovic, the teams leading scorer with seven goals in all competitions, given how he relishes both the spotlight and the villains role in these high-profile matches.Im sorry I am suspended, the Swedish forward told MUTV. I wish I wasnt as its a game I really wanted to play in. But I have trust in my teammates and the team. I know they can do fine without me.Mourinhos other options are the kiddie corps of Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial. Rashford, of course, burst onto the scene in last seasons fixture at Old Trafford -- scoring two goals in a three-minute span of the first half to power Manchester United to a 3-2 victory.The Red Devils have not won back-to-back games since three victories on the trot at the end of September, and given how this seasons race appears to be more traditional in that all six perennial Premier League sides and neighbours Manchester City occupy the top seven spots in the table, this is shaping up to be a contest United must pick up points to maintain their European aspirations.The team is eager to find a good streak and after defeating Swansea we are looking forward to playing Arsenal at the weekend, midfielder Juan Mata wrote on his blog. The top end of the Premier League table is very tight and we are going to work hard to keep a good streak and approach those top spots.This will be the 224th meeting between the sides in a rivalry that dates back to 1894. United hold the upper hand with 94 victories to Arsenals 80, and the teams have split the points on 49 occasions. Cheap Air Max 97 All Black .com) - The Chicago Blackhawks aim for their third three-game winning streak of the season when they host the struggling Edmonton Oilers in Sundays battle at the United Center. Cheap Air Max 97 Black . The nimble-footed quarterback got his wish, dashing through the snow and a weary defence all the way into the NCAA record book. . During the athletes parade, the 23-strong Ukrainian team was represented by a lone flagbearer in an apparent protest at the presence of Russian troops in Ukraines Crimean peninsula. Cheap Air Max 97 All Red .S. -- Nikolaj Ehlers registered a hat trick for the third straight game and Jonathan Drouin had a goal and five assists as the Halifax Mooseheads hammered the host Cape Breton Screaming Eagles 10-1 on Tuesday in Quebec Major Junior Hockey League action. Air Max 97 Sean Wotherspoon . -- Gus Malzahn finally had his day in Fayetteville. Gold Coast is far better placed to deal with their latest crippling AFL injury crisis than they were this time last year, according to midfielder Aaron Hall.The Suns are limping to the finish line yet again after losing Gary Ablett, Michael Rischitelli and Dion Prestia to season-ending injuries - just when it was starting to look like coach Rodney Eade might soon have had his best 22 players available for selection for practically the first time in his tenure.It would be an unprecedented situation, had almost the exact same thing not happened at Carrara 12 months ago - but there are some key differences.For one, the players who stepped into the void back then - like Hall, Touk Miller and Jesse Lonergan - are now a year older and a year wiser for their early exposure.But importantly, the spine of the Suns team is in good shape as they look towards a run home featuring several genuinely winnable games.The emergence of Peter Wright has provided Gold Coast with a quality third tall option in attack while their defence, at least since the return of Steven May from suspension, has been able to tame some of the competitions premier forwards.I think we definitely sit in a better position, Hall told AAP.Injuries are pretty much identical, but Peter Wrights come on the scene.dddddddddddd I think those talls can really cause some damage for the defence.Then youve got Steven May and Rory Thompson in the backline as well, which really stems us.I suppose you could say our spine is really solid and last year, a few of those guys were injury-hampered as well.The future is looking bright too - the Suns have also stockpiled one first-round draft pick and three second-rounders they traded in last year, to go with their own selections, and academy product Jack Bowes looms as one of the hottest properties of the 2016 draft crop.The difficulty will be competing in midfield, but Hall - who averages 29 possessions a game this season - says he wants to become the standard-setter of the undermanned on-ball group for the rest of the year.I really want to take charge in there and lead that group, he said.Myself, Gaz, Dids and Risch, we started to get a bit of synergy for the last month or so and we started getting on top of other midfields.Those three guys going down in one weeks not ideal but hopefully the rest of us can grow together and create that depth for next year as well as getting some wins on the board. 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