Albert Einstein once said insanity could be defined as doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. So it is true with Sir Alex Ferguson and Arsene Wenger.
Sir Alex Ferguson was this week suspended for five games by the English FA for comments he made about referee Martin Atkinson in the wake of Manchester United's loss to Chelsea. The United gaffer said on seeing Atkinson had been selected for the game that he "feared the worst". As is often the case with the Scot, no-one's quite sure of the absolute meaning of his words but their tone is certainly overwhelmingly negative. The three game ban administered by the FA was supplemented by a two-game penalty suspended from a similar offence last season; this means United will be in Mike Phelan's care for matches against West Ham, Everton, Fulham and, crucially, trophy rivals City and Arsenal.
In a similar-but-different story, any expectation of Wenger remains that he's unwilling or unable to purchase defensive solidity. After yet again being exposed by physically stronger opposition on Saturday at Old Trafford, Wenger's policy of buying football-savvy youth may once more fail to pay dividends. Wenger's stock, never higher than in the Invincibles season of 2004, has - if anything - slipped to the point that he's gone from "bankable" to "futures". Almost immediately after that memorable season, Wenger's focus seemed to shift unwaveringly onto youth. Unfortunately for Gunner fans, the lack of development shown by some of his proteges (among them Senderos, Vela, Denilson and Abou Diaby) is balanced - at best - by that of Wilshere, Ramsey and Djourou. The common and probably unflawed logic is that until the Gunners develop a midfield "destroyer" in the mould of Vieira: the player Diaby and Denilson were each supposed to become.
Like cheap toilet paper, Ferguson will continue to remain a right royal pain in the FA's butt just as Arsene Wenger will persevere with playing his brand of football. Ferguson probably feels his quarter of a century at the Red Devils entitles him to say whatever he pleases; in itself an amusingly misguided attitude which likely will not change and makes him the FA's number one recalcitrant. With both his goal of nineteen titles and his seventieth summer in sight it's hardly likely that a five match suspension will change the famously hard-headed Ferguson's modus operandi: let's remember Ferguson has won any clash he's fought over his tenure with hard men and club icons alike. In this case he can't beat the FA, but surely this late in the game can play for a draw.
The same rings true with Wenger. While his club success means he's deservedly rolled in plaudits since he arrived from Nagoya Grampus in 1996, that damned youth policy has been an identifiable part of North London philosophy for over half a decade now. To expect him to change it would be misguided. After putting in so much work creating this team it's possible, probable even, Wenger feels to bring in an established, premiership-hardened - and therefore costly - centre-half/goalkeeper would betray his principles. There remains hope for the Gunner faithful that he will spend this offseason but it is hope which fades day by day.
Einstein was perhaps the world's most famous physicist. He could have doubled his fame and money had he turned to football punditry.