Forget It Jose! – Mourinho Can Never Emulate The Invincibles No Matter How Hard He Tries To
Manchester United made a high-flying start to the new Premier League season, and their first couple of performances were truly magical for even their hardest critics. However, their magic seems to have dulled down. Against Liverpool, they managed to stay unbeaten with a stalemate, and scrambled to a narrow 1-0 win against Benfica in the Champions League. Their recent 2-1 league loss to newly-promoted outfit Huddersfield Town only reminded the fans of their dreadful campaign last term.
It seems like Mourinho’s Red Devils start off well but fail to see the campaign through, every single time! And invariably, both times, they got compared to Arsene Wenger’s path-breaking 2003-04 side, who were famously nicknamed ‘The Invincibles’.
That Gunners side will always be remembered for remaining unbeaten throughout the 2003/04 season. Although Chelsea and Manchester United have both collected more than the 90 points that Arsenal amassed that season, neither club managed to remain unbeaten for an entire season, even after 13 years.
More than Wenger’s tactics, the invincibles achieved what they did because of the passion and desire shown by the team. United appear to be lacking just that. Most of the LUHG movement was based on that – Love United, Hate Glazers. Several Red Devils fans rue that the Glazers Foundation are running the club like a corporate. The likes of Lukaku, Pogba, Fellaini and Matic are all influential for United but are they as iconic as Arsenal’s Thierry Henry, Dennis Bergkamp, Robert Pires and Patrick Vieira? Most certainly not.
Back then, Arsenal usually lined up in a 4-4-2 formation, though it could also be labelled a 4-4-1-1 due to the way Dennis Bergkamp dropped into the ‘No.10’ position between midfield and attack. They were remembered for their attacking strength – another factor that is seemingly missing from the United squad.
Thierry Henry was at the peak of his powers and finished 2nd in the 2003 Ballon d’Or voting and 4th in 2004, while Bergkamp was nearing the end of his career without losing his brilliant movement or vision. Pires provided a secondary source of goals, netting 14 in the league, while Vieira was both the heart and brain of the team from central midfield.
On the right, Freddie Ljungberg was a ferocious end-to-end player who often raised his game for the big occasion. It was not just their attack that was strong; the Gunners were also outstanding defensively, conceding just 26 goals that season.
Granted, Wenger has failed to live up to the expectations ever since but in his first decade in north London, he was a brilliant combination of tactical genius and ruthlessness. He was single-handedly responsible for assembling a team that played scintillating football without being intimidated by anyone. Despite stitching numerous unbeaten runs together and coming close to reaching Arsenal’s unbeaten count of 49, Mourinho’s teams have faltered in the end. It just cannot happen, can it?
Jose Mourinho might have won numerous league titles in his career, but none of them will ever be in gold. Happy Birthday, Arsene Wenger! (I know it was yesterday).