2 long unbeaten records come to an end for Mourinho

Jose Mourinho hadn't lost a Premier League game in more than six months. He had never lost a competitive game against rival coach Arsene Wenger in almost 13 years.

Two long, proud, unbeaten records came to an end for the Manchester United manager on Sunday.

United lost 2-0 at Arsenal at Emirates Stadium for a result that, according to Mourinho, makes it "impossible" for his team to finish in the top four and secure Champions League qualification through its league placing.

"All on the Europa League," Mourinho said, piling the pressure on his players ahead of the second leg of a semifinal that United leads 1-0 against Celta Vigo on Thursday.

Mourinho used to ridicule the Europa League. Now, the competition could be his savior.

Leaving Arsenal's ground as a losing coach for the first time in his managerial career, Mourinho bemoaned a grueling fixture schedule that led to him making eight changes — including leaving out the world's most expensive player, Paul Pogba — and giving debuts to two youngsters, 19-year-old defender Axel Tuanzebe and 20-year-old midfielder Scott McTominay.

He also attempted to have the last laugh over Wenger, who hadn't come out on the winning side against Mourinho in 15 competitive games until Granit Xhaka and Danny Welbeck struck within four minutes of each other in the second half.

"Arsene Wenger is not a small manager. He is a big manager so to have that record ... is something that is not normal," Mourinho said.

"Finally, I leave this stadium with Arsenal fans happy," he added. "I leave Emirates, they were crying. I leave Highbury (Arsenal's old ground), they were crying. They walk in the streets with their head low. So finally today, they sing, they (twirl) scarves. It's nice for them."

Indeed, the toughest of Wenger's 21 years at Arsenal could yet have a happy ending.

This win lifted Arsenal to within two points of fifth-placed United, having played one game fewer, and within seven points of third-placed Liverpool, having played two games fewer. Liverpool could only draw 0-0 at home to Southampton in the other league game played on Sunday.

With four games remaining, Arsenal could yet squeeze into the top four and play in the Champions League for a 20th straight season. The team also has an FA Cup final against Chelsea at the end of May.



A disappointing game burst into life in the 54th minute when Xhaka, afforded plenty of space in central midfield following a throw-in, advanced and drove in a 30-meter (yard) shot that struck the turned back of Ander Herrera and looped over goalkeeper David de Gea.

Welbeck, who was sold to Arsenal in 2014 to end a 13-year association with United, powered home a header off the bar in the 57th from Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain's cross to make it 2-0. The striker has now scored in each of his last three appearances against his old club.

"It was a patiently built win," said Wenger, whose side encountered few problems in defense against a United side missing the injured Zlatan Ibrahimovic and the rested Marcus Rashford.

Arsenal will climb above United with a win at Southampton on Wednesday.

United hasn't scored away to a top-six rival all season.



Liverpool hasn't scored a goal against Southampton in four matches this season — two in the league and two in the League Cup.

Even when the team was gifted a penalty, Liverpool couldn't capitalize.

James Milner's perfect record from the spot this season ended when his kick was saved by Southampton goalkeeper Fraser Forster in the 66th minute of a lackluster game at Anfield. The penalty was awarded for a handball against Jack Stephens.

Milner scored from his first seven spot kicks this season and hadn't missed a Premier League penalty since 2009.

The point lifted Liverpool back into third place above Man City.


Steve Douglas is at www.twitter.com/sdouglas80