Former Arsenal defender Martin Keown has stressed Arsene Wenger’s men cannot afford to lose this weekend’s Premier League showdown against Chelsea if they are to keep Jose Mourinho quiet.
Mourinho and Wenger have developed a frosty relationship over the years and Keown fears the Chelsea boss will verbally have a go at his Arsenal counterpart once more if he emerges victorious on Saturday, like he did in February 2014 when he branded the Frenchman a “specialist in failure”.
Champions Chelsea sit fourth bottom in the Premier League after taking just four points from their opening five games, while Arsenal suffered a surprise 2-1 Champions League defeat at Dinamo Zagreb in midweek.
“Both teams’ confidence is brittle going into this,” Keown told The Daily Mail.
“Chelsea will feel that they are bouncing back – suddenly this has become a different game for Arsenal.
“It’s then how they apply themselves. They got a drubbing in early kick-offs at Anfield and Chelsea, and there can’t be any hangover even though they’ll come back late from Zagreb.
“Mourinho’s team will start like a house on fire. Victory rescues their season.
“Arsenal don’t want Mourinho talking afterwards about how special he is again and how Arsenal have failed again.
“Wenger needs to create that urgency that their season hinges on this match.”
Arsenal beat Chelsea 1-0 earlier this season to win the Community Shield.