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Arsene Wenger backed to rise above taunts from Jose Mourinho


Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger can easily brush off Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho's pre-season taunts, according to Martin Keown.

Former Arsenal defender Keown believes Mourinho knows full well Chelsea are in little position to accuse rivals of buying their way to the Premier League title given the Blues' history of big-spending under owner Roman Abramovich.

Wenger has not beaten Mourinho in 13 meetings between the two managers, who will lock horns once more in Sunday's Community Shield.

Mourinho raised the stakes again by claiming by now he would have solved the problems dogging Wenger in his winless run against the Portuguese were their roles reversed.

Keown believes the latest jibes will be water off a duck's back to Wenger, paling into insignificance alongside previous criticisms where Mourinho branded the French manager a "voyeur" and a "specialist in failure".

"I think that's just Mourinho being mischievous," Keown told Press Association sport, of Mourinho hinting Arsenal were trying to spend their way to success.

"At the end of the day if Abramovich hadn't arrived at Chelsea they were in serious jeopardy of going bankrupt never mind achieving what they have.

"So they've bought themselves out of trouble, and where they are now is down to the financial reservoir that they have.

"So to accuse Arsenal of the same thing, buying their way to the top, is a bit of an ironic comment from Mourinho.

"I think he's just being mischievous there.

"He has had a go at Wenger on more than one occasion, so this is quite light compared to some of the comments he's made about him.

"So I think Arsene would probably be happy with that in relation to everything else!

"There wouldn't be too many managers that could lay claim to the kind of record that Mourinho has against Wenger.

"Like any record that you have, when Arsenal went unbeaten for the whole season, you start to feel like you're invincible, and you're never going to concede a goal or lose a game.

"And Jose will start to feel that way, and I'm sure such is his ego that he'll feel that way about his team.

"But he prepares his team not to fail against Arsenal. And he'll be doing that this weekend.

"He's very proud of that record, it's an outstanding record.

"Whether it's a hang-up for Wenger I don't think so, I think it's more of a case of beating Chelsea."

Gary Cahill wants Chelsea to lay down a marker in during Sunday's clash as the Premier League champions face the FA Cup winners in the season curtain-raiser, a week before the start of the season proper.

England defender Cahill played down the significance of the result at Wembley on the campaign in its entirety, but nevertheless wants a victory.

"It won't have an impact on the season as a whole, but it's a marker," Cahill said.

"Every time you take to the field you want to win the game. It's a big game, against a local rival and good opposition. It will be a good test for us."

Arsenal are one of the sides – along with Manchester United, Manchester City and Liverpool – expected to challenge the Blues for the title.

The Gunners bolstered their squad by signing goalkeeper Petr Cech after 11 trophy-laden years at Chelsea in a move sanctioned by Blues owner Roman Abramovich.

Asked about facing Cech, Cahill added: "It will be strange.

"He was part of the fixtures and fittings at Chelsea, for many, many years.

"Top goalkeeper, great guy, but it's down to business and I'm sure he'll feel the same way.

"Everyone's professional and everyone will want to do the job and get the right result for their team."

Cahill knows how difficult it will be for the Blues to successfully retain the title they won last term.

He added: "A lot of teams have strengthened again this year. The league is as competitive as it's ever been. It's going to be very tough.

"People want to beat the champions. We were in the same situation. We're going to have that this year.

"We did it last year. We want to try to do it again this year."


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