Just when we all thought the long-standing duel between arch-nemeses Arsene Wenger and Jose Mourinho had surely concluded, it appears that the conflict is far from over.
While the dramatic conclusion of last season featured Wenger leaving Mourinho marooned on an ice-planet soon to be struck by an approaching meteor, seemingly facing his ultimate demise, it was natural for fans to wonder whether the clash between the feuding generals could truly have turned its final page.
The final episode left viewers to believe that Mourinho was doomed, and even gave significant airtime to an exultant Captain Wenger and his crew, among them the turncoat Doctor Eh-Va-Car-Neer-Os, as they escaped to safety in hyperspace. Their excitement is understandable, as there was no reason for them to doubt that they had finally defeated the evil Mourinho in utterly convincing fashion, after being bested by him so many times in the past.
However, after the credits, a lone escape pod could be seen drifting slowly toward a cargo freighter in the distance. Rumours swirled; fan forums exploded as users raced to post their theories as to who was inside, with every guess seeming to become increasingly more far-fetched than the next.
Three plausible candidates emerged.
Among the first was that the bandit Vardee was attempting to escape from the frigate Lay Ai Chest Star, fresh off an unexpected pillaging of the Home System. However, few fans were able to supply a plausible motive for his unexpected departure.
Many others claimed that the pod contained an hitherto unknown Neo-Viking mercenary of considerable power whose talents were available to the highest bidder.
The third, and now, it seems, correct suggestion, was that the pod contained none other than Mourinho, who had somehow miraculously survived the destruction of the frigid and wasted blue planet upon which he had been abandoned.
To make matters more worrying, if the leaked previews are to be believed, Mourinho has emerged from his would-be annihilation stronger and more formidable than ever before.
We have only a few weeks till the upcoming season to see how our hero Wenger will respond to the reemergence of his longstanding foe… and if rumours are to believed, this may well be Wenger’s final stand.