Mikel Arteta is still angry that Jose Mourinho brandished Arsene Wenger a “specialist in failure” – a derogatory tag Arsenal players can lay to rest in today’s FA Cup final against Hull.
It has been nine frustrating nine years since the Gunners last held a trophy aloft, resulting in scrutiny and mounting pressure on the man at the helm.
Fans and pundits alike have made their annoyance known during that period, with that talk fuelled in February by Chelsea manager Mourinho calling Wenger a failure specialist.
The Arsenal boss refused to bite back at what he called “silly, disrespectful remarks” but they clearly irked him, as well as midfielder Arteta.
“If, for you, success is only to win a trophy, it doesn’t matter how, then I think he (Wenger) is the way he (Mourinho) is saying,” the Spaniard said.
“If you analyse everything he has done for the club, then if he is a failure I have a different opinion.
“I don’t like it when someone criticises my team-mates, the staff, the manager, the club because I see what he does every day to look after this club.
“When they are right maybe you can accept, everybody makes mistakes. You can criticise the manager, whoever, but when it comes in a certain moment in a certain way I don’t like it.”
Today’s Wembley showdown against Hull offers Arsenal the perfect chance to answer Mourinho’s criticism, winning what would be a first trophy since the 2005 FA Cup.
“Of course, when you win a trophy and you don’t win it is very different,” Arteta said.
“With the history we have over the last nine years without any trophies at all, obviously it could be a great turning point.
“It’s something else apart from the trophy as to what it can mean to the club, to the fans, to everyone.
“I have not played in a cup final, I had an opportunity with Everton but injured my cruciate a few weeks before.”