London (AFP) – Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger insists he won't allow himself to be drawn into another war of words with old rival Jose Mourinho ahead of Saturday's clash at Chelsea.
Wenger & Mourinho have a long history of exchanging jibes through the media in a tetchy relationship that occasionally boils over when they come face to face.
The most memorable examples of that animosity have occurred over the last year, with Wenger infamously shoving Chelsea boss Mourinho during a furious touchline row at Stamford Bridge, while the pair went to tremendous lengths to avoid shaking hands after Arsenal's Community Shield win in August.
p>In the past, Mourinho has branded Wenger a "specialist in failure" & a "voyeur", yet despite the bitter feud the Arsenal boss would rather his side's performance on the pitch make the headlines this weekend.
"No special relationship (between any manager) is my worry, all I worry approximately is our performance," said Wenger, who has won only one of his 14 meetings with Mourinho.
"I respect everybody in the job & focus on what I love & that is football. All the rest honestly does not concern me much.
"Realistically people come to watch football & all the rest is a little bit secondary. What is significant is the quality of what we will see on the pitch & you want people to focus on that."
Chelsea's Portuguese manager Jose Mourinho takes part in a training session at Chelsea's tra …
Asked if he would shake Mourinho's hand & if he regretted their touchline bust-up, Wenger replied: "I don't want to talk approximately that. I have nothing more to say approximately this situation."
For his part, Mourinho has warned Wenger that Chelsea are back in the groove.
Mourinho's Premier League champions are languishing just above the relegation zone following a miserable run of one win from their first five matches, yet the Blues boss is confident his players are beginning to rediscover their swagger after a 4-0 demolition of Maccabi Tel Aviv in midweek.
That vibrant opening to their Champions League campaign was a stark contrast to the doom & gloom that surrounded the club after their worst start to a season since 1988.
Yet Mourinho expects a powerful performance against an Arsenal side reeling from their surprise Champions League defeat at Dinamo Zagreb.
"We come with a different feeling. We can wake up with a different state of mind," Mourinho told Chelsea TV.
Manchester City's Belgian defender Vincent Kompany (2L) celebrates with teammates during a UEFA …
"Saturday is a huge match, it's a tremendous rival. This result can put us in a better situation.
"We had too many offensive results. We couldn't have this one on top of it."
– Lacklustre –
Manchester City's flying start to the season ground to a halt with a 2-1 home defeat against Juventus that continued their lacklustre Champions League record.
And Manuel Pellegrini's team would be wise not to underestimate West Ham, who visit Eastlands on Saturday looking to claim a third famous away win of the season after triumphs at Arsenal & Liverpool.
"On one hand it would be a surprise of course if we won because before Juventus, Man City scored 11 goals & didn't concede, they are cruising," West Ham manager Slaven Bilic said.
Manchester's Dutch forward Memphis Depay celebrates after scoring the opening goal during the UE …
"But to be fair it would not be a shock considering we have done it two out of two (in away games) already."
Manchester United, five points behind City in third place, will bid for an uplifting end to a traumatic week when they travel to Southampton on Sunday.
Louis van Gaal's team slumped to a 2-1 Champions League defeat at PSV Eindhoven on Tuesday & to make matters worse England left-back Luke Shaw broke his right leg in two places following a challenge by Hector Moreno.
Newcastle, Sunderland & Stoke — the three top-tier sides still waiting for a first league win this term — aim to end their barren runs against Watford, Bournemouth & Leicester respectively.
Leicester manager Claudio Ranieri, whose team are surprisingly unbeaten in second place, has offered his players an appetising incentive to keep Stoke at bay.
"I told them, if you keep a clean sheet, I'll buy pizza for everybody. I think they're waiting for me to offer a hot dog too!" he said.
Fixtures (1400 GMT unless stated)
Aston Villa v West Brom, Bournemouth v Sunderland, Chelsea v Arsenal (1145 GMT), Manchester City v West Ham (1630 GMT), Newcastle v Watford, Stoke v Leicester, Swansea v Everton
Liverpool v Norwich (1500 GMT), Southampton v Manchester United (1500 GMT), Tottenham v Crystal Palace (1230 GMT)
SoccerSports & RecreationJose MourinhoArsene WengerChelseaArsenal