Mour than just ri­valry

> Why Man United vs Arse­nal rep­re­sents more than just Mour­inho vs Wenger <

The Sun (Malaysia) - - SPORTS -

LIONEL MESSI Back then, it was Wenger against Sir Alex Fer­gu­son and there was no love lost be­tween the pair.

Of course, Mour­inho and Wenger will dom­i­nate the pre-match build-up, but there are so many in­trigu­ing sub-plots to this match.

How will Wenger set up? Will he be con­ser­va­tive and go for a draw by swamp­ing the mid­field? Will Mour­inho be more cav­a­lier and try and get United to be more ex­pan­sive?

United need to start putting a se­quence of re­sults to­gether – they cur­rently trail pace-set­ters Liver­pool by eight points in sixth spot.

Un­der Fer­gu­son, United were no­to­ri­ously slow starters, but they would of­ten look un­stop­pable at the turn of the year.

Arse­nal mean­while, have re­sem­bled in re­cent sea­sons a team with an in­fe­ri­or­ity com­plex and lack­ing the men­tal nous re­quired to win the ti­tle.

Yet it al­most feels like the tide is turn­ing in favour of the Gun­ners. Wenger’s men seem to be in a good place and a team with mo­men­tum be­hind them.

De­spite an open­ing-week­end 4-3 de­feat to Liver­pool, a com­fort­able 3-0 vic­tory against Chelsea in Septem­ber and their strong un­beaten run shows they might have the stamina to last in the ti­tle race this time around.

Yes, Mour­inho and Wenger haven’t seen eye to eye. The jibe dished out by Mour­inho of Wenger be­ing a “suc­cess in fail­ure” and the un­seemly touch­line scuf­fle at Stam­ford Bridge a cou­ple of sea­sons ago will add an ex­tra spice to this fix­ture.

But United against Arse­nal his­tor­i­cally should rep­re­sent much more than that.

It’s not just about where both teams have come from, but where they are head­ing, and at the mo­ment, Wenger has more to boast about! – Ex­press News­pa­pers

has re­jected Barcelona’s of­fer of a new deal and will see out his cur­rent con­tract, ac­cord­ing to re­ports in Spain. The five-time Bal­lon d’Or win­ner’s cur­rent con­tract ex­pires in the sum­mer of 2018 and he will run the con­tract down be­fore mak­ing a de­ci­sion on his fu­ture, ac­cord­ing to Span­ish sport daily They claim Messi in­formed the cur­rent Span­ish cham­pi­ons of his de­ci­sion not to en­ter ne­go­ti­a­tions about a con­tract ex­ten­sion whilst on hol­i­day with his fam­ily in July, af­ter Ar­gentina lost in the fi­nal of the Copa Amer­ica to Chile for the sec­ond con­sec­u­tive year.

The rea­son for Messi’s re­luc­tance to sign a new con­tract is re­ported to be his on­go­ing dis­pute with Span­ish tax au­thor­i­ties.

Messi was handed a sus­pended 21-month prison sen­tence in July for tax eva­sion af­ter he and his fa­ther were found guilty of us­ing tax havens in Uruguay and Belize in or­der to hide more than £3mil­lions (RM16.33m) in earn­ings.

It is un­der­stood that Messi’s fa­ther Jorge and his ad­vis­ers acted as

Arsene Wenger (left) and Jose Mour­inho... Past clashes be­tween United and Arse­nal have of­ten re­sulted in ti­tanic tus­sles.

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