MM’s six of the best: Mourinho v Guardiola battles

The game everybody has been waiting months for is almost finally upon us – the 175th Manchester Derby.

The Premier League’s top two face off at Old Trafford this afternoon, and we are expecting a cracker two weeks before Christmas Day.

Manchester City look a truly unstoppable force, they have won 13 Premier League games in a row and if they make it 14 they will equal the English record currently held by Arsenal.

Chelsea achieved City’s current feat last season, but were stopped in their tracks by London rivals Tottenham at White Hart Lane 11 months ago when Spurs beat the Blues 2-0. Manchester United will be hoping to do the same, and if they do the gap at the top will be cut to just five points.

In the past Jose Mourinho has stopped Pep Guardiola’s sides from winning on four occasions, but Guardiola has nine wins over his opposite number while they have shared the spoils six times in 19 meetings.

Sunday will be the 20th time the Portuguese and Spanish bosses will face off, and to commemorate the occasion MM takes a look at six of the best Mourinho vs. Guardiola clashes – with each game at a different venue.

Meeting 3 – Internazionale 3-1 Barcelona (UEFA Champions League semi-final first leg, April 2010 – San Siro, Milan, Italy)

Guardiola created a work of art in Catalonia. After winning a domestic treble in 2008/09 which included a UEFA Champions league title, his Barcelona side were favourites to defend crown in 2010. Standing in their way of playing in a final at the home of their bitter rivals Real Madrid were Mourinho’s Internazionale.

If Barcelona were a work of art, Inter were an immovable object. Barcelona, though, managed to move them when Pedro finished off a delightful Barcelona move to put the visitors ahead inside 20 minutes – a lead which they maintained through to half-time.

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In a game of two halves, though, Inter hit back with second-half goals from Maicon, Wesley Sneijder and Diego Milito to give Mourinho’s men a 3-1 advantage to take to the Camp Nou a week later.

The Nerazzurri finished the job in Spain. Despite losing 1-0 on the night they progressed 3-2 on aggregate. Mourinho went on to achieve in Italy what Guardiola had achieved in Spain a year earlier – a domestic treble.

Meeting 5 – Barcelona 5-0 Real Madrid (La Liga, November 2010 – Camp Nou, Barcelona, Spain)

Seven months on from Mourinho’s feeling of sheer ecstasy after knocking Barcelona out of the Champions League, the man who moved onto coach Real Madrid hit rock bottom in his managerial career.

Still his heaviest defeat as a coach now, Mourinho’s Galacticos were hammered 5-0 by Guardiola’s all-stars.

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First half goals from Xavi and Pedro sent the Blaugrana on their way to a historic victory.

The home side continued their dominance in the second half, with David Villa netting a brace shortly after the break before substitute Jeffren capped off a five star performance from Barcelona.

Lionel Messi was the star of the show, the Argentine tormented Los Blancos as he laid on three assists – one for Xavi and two for Villa.  Ramos was dismissed shortly afterwards to rub salt into Real wounds on a miserable night for Mourinho.

The game would kick-start one of Spanish footballs greatest ever managerial rivalries.

Meeting 7 – Barcelona 0-1 Real Madrid – AET (Copa Del Rey Final, April 2011 – Estadio Mestalla, Valencia, Spain)

It was the final everyone wanted to see. After a 1-1 draw at the Santiago Bernabeu four days earlier, both sides travelled to Valencia to play in the annual Spanish Cup final.

A tactical Mourinho masterclass denied Guardiola’s side once again. It was a year to the day since his Inter side beat Barcelona at the San Siro, and a year on Mourinho was once again triumphant over Guardiola in a cup competition. The bigger the game, the more Mourinho thrived under pressure.

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Five months after being thumped 5-0 by Barcelona, Los Blancos turned the tables with a stunning victory at the Mestalla. Barcelona dominated the ball, but a Real side largely camped in their own half held firm for 90 minutes and forced the game into extra-time.

A similar pattern continued in extra-time, but when Real broke up the other end they made their opponents pay. Angel Di Maria’s cross was met in style by Cristiano Ronaldo. The mercurial forward was the match winner in a game where Real defied the odds.

Guardiola’s Barcelona went on to win La Liga and the Champions league in 2011, but Mourinho denied the Spaniard his second treble in three years with victory in the Copa Del Rey final.

Meeting 8 – Real Madrid 0-2 Barcelona (UEFA Champions league semi-final first leg, April 2011 – Estadio Santiago Bernabeu, Madrid, Spain)

In the 2010/11 season, a total of five El Clasico’s took place. The Champions League semi-final first leg was the third Clasico in the space of 11 days, with the fourth taking place a week later in back in Barcelona.

Defeat against Inter 12 months earlier gave Guardiola’s team the ideal motive for revenge, and the home of Barcelona’s biggest rivals was the ideal setting to inflict revenge upon Mourinho.

The game started at a frantic pace, with Real soaking up intense pressure from the visitors who once again took command of the ball from the first whistle. Much like the game at the Mestalla a week earlier, the game was on a knife edge. Until fifteen minutes from time…

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A superb run down the right-wing by Dutch winger Ibrahim Afellay ended with a low driven cross which Messi bundled home, beating Ramos to the ball. With the end of the game approaching, Barcelona and Real appeared to be playing out the game ahead of the second leg, until an individual piece of brilliance from the man of the moment once again…

Messi dribbled from the halfway line through to the six-year box where he prodded the ball past an onrushing Iker Casillas. It was one of the great European away performances, and one of the great individual performances in Champions league history.

Meeting 16 – Bayern Munich 2-2 Chelsea – Bayern win 5-4 on penalties (2013 UEFA Super Cup, August 2013 – Eden Arena, Prague, Czech Republic)

After a year out of the game in the 2012/13 season, Guardiola took the reins at Bayern. The German side won the German treble under Jupp Heynckes in Guardiola’s year of sabbatical.

Mourinho was also in a new job, back in familiar surroundings at Chelsea. The Blues won the UEFA Europa League under the guidance of Rafael Benitez in 2012/13.

Early in their new jobs in different counties, Guardiola and Mourinho renewed their rivalry in the Czech capital.

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The game certainly didn’t disappoint. Although Bayern were favourites in European football’s annual curtain raiser, Chelsea raced into an early first first-half lead through Spanish striker Fernando Torres.

Franck Ribery equalised early in the second half, and it remained 1-1 up until the end of the 90 minutes.

Extra-time started in a similar fashion to normal time. Just as they scored early in normal time, Chelsea also scored early in extra-time as Eden Hazard in the Eden Arena put Chelsea into the lead.

Mourinho looked as though he was going to deny Guardiola yet more silverware as he had done in 2010 and 2011, but Javi Martinez had other ideas. A David Alaba cross was pin balling around the Chelsea box, and it fell to the Basque-born Martinez, who kept the game alive for Bayern by scoring with the last kick of the game.

It was redemption for the Baverians as they won on 5-4 on penalties. Romelu Lukaku, aged 20 at the time, was the only player to miss in the shoot-out – a player Mourinho is now of course re-united with. After nine successful penalties, Lukaku’s spot kick was saved by Manuel Neuer.

“Football is a simple game. Twenty-two men chase a ball for 90 minutes and at the end, the Germans always win.” Gary Linekar’s famous words came true after a pulsating game in Prague.

Meeting 17 – Manchester United 1-2 Manchester City (Premier League, September 2016 – Old Trafford, Manchester, England)

With his contract at Bayern coming to an end, Guardiola agreed to sign a pre-contract agreement to manage City in February 2016. Manchester United responded three months later, and appointed Mourinho as manager to replace Louis van Gaal. With two serial winners at the helm in the same city, it is exciting times for football in Manchester.

In the first meeting between the pair, Guardiola came out on top as his side earned a well-deserved victory over United in just the fourth Premier League game of the 2016/17 season.

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A first-half masterclass from Mourinho’s former player Kevin De Bruyne effectively put the game out of United’s reach. He scored a goal, and shortly afterwards he seen his shot ricochet back off the post for Kelechi Iheanacho to tap in from two yards out.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who played under Guardiola at Barcelona, pulled a goal back for the hosts just before half time and had one cleared off the line by John Stones a minute later.

The game opened up in the second half, with both sides trying to score. But the result remained the same, as City claimed their fourth win in six seasons at Old Trafford.

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