Arsene Wenger believes Arsenal can exploit the uncomfortable relationship between Rafael Benitez and Chelsea's supporters when the Gunners head to Stamford Bridge for Sunday's crucial London derby.
Chelsea interim boss Benitez, already a hate figure at the Bridge following his
time with rivals Liverpool, has been unable to win over his club's fans since arriving as successor to the popular Roberto Di Matteo in November.
Their stormy relationship hit a new low on Wednesday when the Blues squandered a two-goal lead in a 2-2 draw against Southampton.
Chelsea have won just one of their last seven home league matches. That sole success was an 8-0 win over Aston Villa under Benitez's guidance, but the Spaniard has also overseen embarrassing defeats against QPR and Swansea. In constrast, the Blues have chalked up six wins on the road during Benitez's reign, a pattern that suggests the pressure of playing in the current toxic atmosphere at the Bridge is affecting Chelsea's players. And Wenger hopes Chelsea's home sickness makes this the perfect time to travel to west London.
Bale vs Giggs
Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson believes Tottenham Hotspur's Gareth Bale still has a long way to go before he can be compared to Ryan Giggs, ahead of Sunday's encounter between the sides.
Bale is Giggs' heir in the Wales national side and the fleet-footed left-winger has already scored nine league goals this season, including a fine individual effort in Spurs' 3-2 win at Old Trafford in September. Giggs, however, had already accumulated three league titles, two FA Cups and a League Cup by the time he was Bale's age, and Ferguson believes the Giggs of the early Premier League years had no equal.
"It is all opinions I suppose," Ferguson said. "The boy is a good player. But Ryan Giggs at 23? I don't think there was anyone better." The two sides are the only teams in the division to have avoided defeat in their last six games.
Jose, Ronaldo spat
Madrid: The row between star striker Cristiano Ronaldo and under-pressure Real Madrid coach Jose Mourinho this week will not affect morale at the club, defender Raul Albiol said on Saturday. Ronaldo became the latest Real player to be targeted by Mourinho when the coach reproached him following the side's unimpressive 2-0 Spanish Cup quarterfinal first leg win over Valencia on Tuesday.
According to an account published by sports daily Marca, Mourinho accused Ronaldo in front of his teammates of having gone into hiding in the final quarter-of-an-hour. Ronaldo retorted by telling his Portuguese compatriot he was being ungrateful and that 'I killed myself out there, it is not fair that you criticise me'.
© Copyright © 2013 HT Media Limited. All Rights Reserved.