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Arsene throws down gauntlet to Jose

By Jack Pitt-Brooke

Arsene Wenger pointedly re-iterated that there is a duty to entertain in football, as he prepares to battle his old defensive enemy Jose Mourinho again today.

After years of unpleasantness between the two, Wenger avoided direct criticism of the Manchester United manager. But he did say that the popularity and reputation of English football demanded an "interesting game" at Old Trafford.

While Wenger did not directly engage in the Mourinho topic, he did lay down a challenge to his counterpart, one that the United manager has not always met. He said that given European competition, the future health of English football needed both teams to rise to the occasion.

"The audience is demanding," Wenger said. "But it is not the controversy before the game that can attract people. The audience is for the quality of the game. Today, the audience tests the game, if the quality is not good, not whether United or Arsenal win. Afterwards you can contrast the styles, but the game has to be interesting, and it can be with differences in style."

United's visit to Anfield produced a 0-0 draw with Liverpool.

"We have seen a few games that did not respond to the expectation level between two big teams," said Wenger. "It is important that it is a top-level game, it will be watched over the world. For the reputation of the Premier League, it is important the game is good."

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