Right, so we’ve finally reached the summit. Here we find the rentier class, the top six sides in the Premier League. The best in show. Bollinger and Caviar for everyone!
Championship Pretenders Fourth Place Contenders:
Current League Position: 4th
Pre-season Prediction: 6th
Revised Prediction: 6th
Going by what some, mainly Liverpool, fans were saying on Twitter – okay, okay I know – on the eve of the season, you would think Spurs had assembled one of the best squads of all time. It was pathetic, spineless self-loathing stuff, to say the least.
The truth is they sold the second best player in the league last season, who also happened to score an inordinate number of match winning or point accumulating goals, and replaced him with batch of players, who range from good to very good. That’s it.
So let’s document all of Tottenham’s main summer moves:
In: Paulinho, Christian Eriksen, Erik Lamela, Vlad Chiriches, Etienne Capoue, Roberto Soldado and Nacer Chadli
Out: Benoit Assou-Ekotto, Scott Parker, Steven Caulker, Tom Huddlestone, Clint Deadeyes Dempsey and of course, Gareth I have a shaved side parting which means I’m an ubercunt Bale.
To quote Ray Wilkins, my word. I stated in my commentary of Norwich City in part one that continuity as a footballing cliché, or meme if you prefer, was overrated, and that having significant financial resources was more likely to lead to improvement. Well Spurs might be the shade of grey that ruins my categorical position on that. They had the money this summer to overhaul the squad, but a lot of it came at the expense of losing their best player. The early returns suggest that this formula doesn’t lead to improvement, at least immediately.
But you simply can’t blame Daniel Levy for relinquishing Gareth Bale. That transfer fee was obscene, a once in a lifetime opportunity, and the player wanted out. Bale was also unlikely to repeat last season’s heroics. If there was a mistake made it was waiting until the end of August to allow the deal to be completed. Real Madrid, or rather their clown of a president Florentino Perez, was hard for Bale, he openly bragged about being willing to pay €100m for him. To use a great Scouse colloquialism, what a beaut. Had Levy set an earlier deadline for the deal to be completed, or even compromised on taking less money upfront, rather than haggling over the structure of the deal, not the fee you’ll note, you wonder whether Spurs might’ve gotten a better striker than Roberto Soldado, for example.
By selling Bale the squad is now better, there are more options, particularly among the attacking midfield positions. But having come so close on many occasions the goal for Spurs is to reach the Champions League this season, and while they were selling their best player, the other top clubs who’ll rival Spurs for a top four place were keeping theirs, and they were improving their squads too. You wonder if at one point Daniel Levy was having second thoughts about selling Bale. At one point it looked like Suarez might leave Liverpool, Arsenal weren’t doing anything in the market, and David Moyes was now the manager of Manchester United. A window appeared to be opening.
I just wonder how much pressure Andre Villas-Boas will come under if they fall short of the Champions League holy grail (meh) again. Unfortunately last season and Spurs’ summer activity have worked together to skew expectations somewhat. Even with Bale and everything that he did, they still only finished fifth. He did paper over some sizeable cracks, a dreadfully trite adage I know. Spurs had poor play from their strikers, and a midfield and defense which was decent, but nothing more. I think Spurs have improved in midfield, but are now weaker, overall, in attack, not just without Bale’s goals, but minus his presence too.
While having greater squad depth is nice, you also need to have some semblance of an idea of what your best side is to maximise your squad’s potential. Clearly Soldado is a better striker than Jermain Defoe and the chronically unreliable Emmanuel Adebayor. The balance in midfield is a puzzle which Villas-Boas needs to solve, and the sooner the better. Spurs have a glut of players who prefer to play in the number ten position: Lewis Holtby, Christian Eriksen, Gylfi Sigurdsson and Erik Lamela. Now here’s where things get tricky. Lamela can play wide, but a large part of why Spurs paid so much money for him was down to his form for Roma last season, where he finally fulfilled his potential when he was afforded more freedom playing centrally off the striker. Will Spurs allow him that same freedom? Lamela started his first league game for Spurs after injury against Hull City recently, starting on the right. Sigurdsson is good player, better than I thought. He’s been used on the left quite a bit by Villas-Boas, and it’s worked quite well. Eriksen, so far, has been given first shot at the central position, but is that because he’s the best option there, or because he’s less versatile than Lamela or Sigurdsson? The most important question is which of these three is likely to help Spurs the most by playing there? Maybe it’s none, what about Paulinho? Would he benefit from being liberated from concentrating on the defensive duties of playing in a deeper central midfield position? When Etienne Capoue is fit again Spurs will have Moussa Dembele, Sandro, Paulinho and Capoue for two central midfield spots, you can only play eleven players remember. My head is spinning.
And I didn’t even mention the genuine wing options, who, if the numbers tens are accommodated in wide areas, wouldn’t start: Aaron Lennon, Andros Townsend and Nacer Chadli. And yes the Andros Townsend hype is fucking annoying, isn’t it? The lad’s a decent player, but enough already. His game consists of the same insidious move onto his left foot. There have been a number of games this season where he’s been neutralised quite easily. But you don’t hear about them, do you?
It all comes back to the same theme here, Spurs have a talented squad, but how does it fit together optimally?
The impression that Villas-Boas is still searching has been solidified when coupled with how Spurs have performed so far this season. They’ve been, at times, ineffective in attack, only nine goals so far, but to be fair they’ve only conceded five. I suspect this will take more time than Spurs fans expect or want it to, and they may still not have enough quality. I also wonder whether Villas-Boas is entirely satisfied with the balance of the squad he’s been given. Franco Baldini is the director of football. They had all that Gareth Bale money, yet the after the transfer window had closed their two best options at left back were Danny Rose (mediocre) or Jan Vertonghen (a very good centre back being used out of position). At best it suggests poor planning, at worst it’s an oversight.
There’s always January of course, and they should still have funds available. But will it be too late by then? If they’re to finish fourth this season then things will have gel and improve more quickly than they are currently.
Current League Position: 8th
Pre-season Prediction: 3rd
Revised Prediction: 5th
Given the obvious chasm in ability between David Moyes and Alex Ferguson, Manchester United needed to do more in the transfer market to make up for this significant shortfall than they did.
I’ve already hammered David Moyes enough here, so I won’t go over it in such detail again, except to say that it’s still fucking hilarious that he’s their manager.
There is good news. Adnan Januzaj has signed a new deal. Cracking talent. Robin Van Persie is still around and Wayne Rooney is playing his best football in a couple of years. That’s what the motivation of knowing you’re playing for your last big money long term contract will do for you. The only thing more inevitable than night following day is Leighton Baines arriving in January. He’ll replace Patrice Evra, who’s been shite this season.
But back to the bad news, Moyes is United’s manager, and United, by their standards, have been very mediocre.
Most worryingly the style and quality of football has deteriorated, the passing isn’t as sharp or as crisp, nor is the movement. There are fewer players arriving in the box now, something that they’ve done so well out of, at least domestically, for years. Despite being managed by Moyes United just have too many gifted players who know how to play, and win, that it wasn’t going to completely disintegrate overnight. But technical quality can only go so far when faced with tactical ineptitude and insipid coaching. Moyes is an average coach who lacks sophistication. Even as Liverpool fan, watching Moyes marginalise Kagawa has made me wince. Especially as it’s so he could play Ashley Young. Young is a woeful footballer, he is incapable of going to his left in possession, and as such is easy to neutralise. His only move is to shuffle the ball on to his right foot, cut inside and deliver an inaccurate cross. It’s the sort of low percentage play that Moyes favoured at Everton, so I suppose it’s appropriate that Moyes started the season with him in the team. Young’s the sort of ordinary player Moyes has been used to coaching and managing his whole career. Shite always has a way of attracting flies. Perhaps there’s hope yet for Moyes though. Thankfully Kagawa has been playing more and at worst the emergence of Januzaj into the first team should make Ashley Young obsolete. Sadly there’s nothing to be done about Fellaini, who is a complete lemon, and worryingly indicative of the signings United fans can expect in the future if Moyes somehow manages to reach the minimum requirement perennially, whatever that may be. In the short term, will Michael Carrick last the season carrying Fellaini on his back?
I know the Premier League has mandated these pointless home grown rules, where clubs are required to have a certain number of players who have been developed by the club, preferably English. But c’mon now, are Danny Welbeck and Tom Cleverley really Manchester United standard? Watching Cleverley stink the joint up by passing the buck, or just not passing it quickly enough full stop, really drives home what a ghastly error United, and Ferguson it has to said, made in letting Paul Pogba leave for Juventus. The double whammy is that had Pogba remained Moyes might’ve been less inclined or discouraged completely from buying Fellaini. As for Danny Welbeck, well he looks a bit Emile Heskeyish to me. I can’t see him lasting, unless Moyes…well you get the drift.
The word on the street is Malcolm Glazer is a fucking vegetable. Not that this makes a difference really. His sons are clearly cut from the same cut throat cloth. As long as the Champions League revenue continues to arrive, along with the TV rights money from the Premier League (of course) they won’t care if first becomes fourth and the hardcore United support are put off by Moyes’ mediocrity, average football and his negative waves. There’s more fake fans who’ll pay through the neck to take their places.
But this is a nightmare scenario I can’t envision. Sense, at some point, will prevail. As nice as it is to dream of Manchester United going through a full metamorphosis to Moyesification, the signing of the absolutely useless Fellaini being only the first step in this process, it won’t happen. With Disco-Dave’s mediocrity, and such is the sheer competitiveness among the Premier League’s top teams, that would ultimately mean no Champions League football, and that’ll mean less revenue, and that’s when the Glazers will start to care. United is their golden goose, who lays the golden eggs which props up their floundering Mall empire in the US. And there’s also the issue of United being able to sustain the interest payments on the purchase debt the Glazers landed them with. Once that’s paid off, United will be worth fortunes, but only if they’re still a top club, in fact it can only be paid if they’re dining out at the top table financially. Moyes is more a McDonald’s man.
Thinking about it, the ideal decline for the United detractors would be slow and insidious, or anything that leaves Moyes in charge for as long as possible. The longer Moyes stays the more damage he’ll do. So ideally they’d finish fourth this season and trophy-less. The Glazers would be happy for Moyes to retain his position for another season because ‘Champions League soccer, good job, great profit margin’. Next season would see more deterioration in the squad through Moyes getting his type of player (shudders), then they’ll finish outside the top four the following season. Moyes would be sacked, at a great cost (six year contract) and the replacement would have a harder job turning around Moyes’s mess.
If they fail to make the top four this season I just can’t see Moyes surviving, as that would likely mean they’ve been mediocre, as they largely have been so far, for most of the season.
Leaving fantasy behind, do I honestly think they’ll finish outside the top four? Not really. It’s still more in hope than expectation, at this stage. At worst, this is the third best squad in the league. That should transcend the ineptitude of their manager.
Even so they’ve been that average so far that they deserve to be dropped down a place. What I am sure of is that they’re not winning the title. All thanks to ‘The Winner’. The chosen one? If you mean by fans of other clubs? Too right.
Current League Position: 3rd
Pre-season Prediction: 5th
Revised Prediction: 4th
Here’s a few stats:
Number of minutes Luis Suarez, Philippe Coutinho and Daniel Sturridge have spent on the pitch together this season: zero.
Number of goals scored by Suarez and Sturridge in the four games they’ve started together in the league: Ten. Six for Suarez, four for Sturridge.
Nothing emphasises Liverpool’s progress better than this stat I saw on Twitter: even if Liverpool lost their next six games, they’d still have one more point this season than they would after the same number of games (fifteen) last season.
It’s not all peaches and cream though, the football’s been less aesthetically pleasing (less possession) and less statistically efficient (allowing more shots on goal), which makes the progress seem less emphatic and perhaps more circumstantial and as such unsustainable.
The good news is that stats, by their very nature, are subject to the inevitability of change and the application of different parameters. The different parameters in this case being Suarez and Sturridge both being excellent players, and them developing an instant understanding. Brendan Rodgers deserves some credit here for deciding to accommodate them both centrally at the expense of his favoured formation.
I think everyone would agree that the top five strikers in the league are Luis Suarez, Daniel Sturridge, Sergio Aguero, Wayne Rooney and Robin Van Persie, in some order.
However, Luis Suarez is clearly the best of the five. Yes, I’m a Liverpool fan, but anyone who disagrees, well, I’ll be polite – they either don’t watch football or know much about it. Simple. Suarez and Sturridge aren’t the only strike partnership in that top five, but unlike Van Persie and Rooney they have the advantage of not being managed by David Moyes.
It’s understandable that Suarez and Sturridge have hit it off, both, as a first instinct, look to eliminate defenders with their first touch. Get facing the goal is always the goal for both. They have tricks, awareness and speed, and in Suarez’s case his supreme balance gives him immense strength while dribbling. Is there another player in the league who’s as terrifying in possession? Defenders don’t know what’s coming next because Suarez probably doesn’t. And if Suarez isn’t enough to cope with, Sturridge looks world class these days. Just as well Chelsea have all that money given how foolish they can be.
Liverpool’s best performance this season was in their most recent game. Against West Brom we saw high pressing all over the pitch, and Sturridge and Suarez running riot. West Brom were made to look extremely average even though the Baggies have already drawn at home to Arsenal and beaten Manchester United at Old Trafford. However, this performance needs to be the norm moving forward if we’re to finish in the top four.
I’m a Liverpool fan, and believe me I want to believe that we could genuinely be this good. But I simply can’t, not at this point. Why? This team finished seventh last season (and I’m being kind when I say we’ve been mediocre for the last four years), has no European football as a result and flunked out of Europe and the domestic cups early last season. There’s a lack of depth up front, an injury to Sturridge or another Suarez flaky and we’re short. I thought Fabio Borini was harshly binned after an injury riddled first season. He’s in the same position at Sunderland as he was here – on the bench, so what was the point of loaning him out? Iago Aspas hasn’t looked up to scratch so far – what is he? Bonus points here, as I saw someone ask if ‘he was named after that bloke in Othello?’ Majestic stuff.
Now it’s time to pose the crucial question – how does Coutinho fit in, given Brendan Rodgers has gone three at the back since Coutinho got injured?
The two events might be linked. Perhaps Brendan will go back to a back four at some point, so Coutinho can play in the number ten role while maintaining the Suarez and Sturridge partnership, where they can continue to go when and wherever they please as they do now. I think Rodgers will want to keep the midfield three of Henderson, Gerrard and the essential Lucas in place. If Rodgers and the players can pull it off, well, I’m salivating at the thought of an attacking axis of Coutinho, Suarez and Sturridge. Premier League defences certainly won’t be.
My only gripe with Rodgers so far is him persisting with Martin Skrtel, who is poor footballer, and even worse a defender prone to ghastly errors. Part of Liverpool’s problem in recent years is they’ve had to carry too many mediocre players in the first eleven. We’ve almost reached the point where that’s no longer necessary. So it’s frustrating watching Skrtel dither in possession, take poor angles to the ball and generally look all at sea and an accident waiting to happen when Daniel Agger is being left on the bench. Hopefully Brendan sees sense quickly, Coutinho’s reintroduction will force a change, somewhere, so perhaps, hopefully, it’ll be at the expense of Skrtel.
Still, I’m going to remain positive, and there’s plenty to be positive about. I want to thank Manchester City for letting us have Kolo Toure for free, that was dead nice of them. Sakho’s far better than I thought he would be in possession, he has the capability to change his mind, most centre backs don’t. The team spirit looks great and so do Brendan’s new pearly whites. We’re grinding out results when we need to. I’m enjoying this season. We are contenders for a top four place. Right, I’ll stop now before I say something silly about us being genuine title contenders or something.
The Title Contenders (yet I don’t really ‘rate’ any of them):
Current League Position: 7th
Pre-season Prediction: 1st
Revised Prediction: 2nd
Pfft. I’m not impressed. With their resources they should be better than this. Much better. Both on paper and on the pitch.
It’s one thing to have money, it’s quite another knowing how to spend it, and City certainly haven’t maximised their immense financial advantage as well as they could. Just look at some of those signings. Jack Rodwell, Alexander Kolarov, James Milner and Javi Garcia. That’s €80m on those four if you’re counting. Like Chelsea it’s just as well they can absorb such mistakes. An outlay that has produced such average returns would be near fatal for quite a few clubs.
Still, those responsible for those mistakes and for packing City’s squad with too many marginal talents have now gone. So what of Txiki Begiristain and Manuel Pellegrini, the new Director of Football and Manager respectively? Have their signings been an improvement?
So far, not really. Stevan Jovetic is clearly a very good player, but he’s barely played so far due to injuries.
I’m not sure why they went for Jesus Navas and Alvaro Negredo. Well I tell a lie, I know why they went for them, because they know them. But Negredo and Navas, while both good players, are firmly in the second tier of Spanish talents. Navas always struck me as a decent player, nothing more, and City already have plenty of those in their squad. He’s better than James Milner, for example, but not by much. Navas is a head down winger who occasionally gets tunnel vision. There’s nothing worse in a winger. I could easily see Samir Nasri playing more games as the season wears on, he’s a far superior footballer.
Fernandinho is an upgrade on Gareth Barry, but given Barry’s slower than the proverbial these days that wasn’t going to be hard. He probably won’t justify that laughable fee, but at least Fernandinho is a more cerebral technically accomplished midfielder than City have tended to sign in the recent past. Yaya Toure aside, they’ve been big lumps who were average in possession. Coming from the Barcelona school Begiristain is looking to shift the emphasis more towards skill and intelligence.
Which brings us back to the new team in charge of City. I’ve never seen the fuss with Pellegrini. Getting Villarreal to the European Cup semis was a good achievement, he couldn’t win the title with Real Madrid, though there’s no shame in getting sacked by them. His teams have a reputation for playing a good style of football. However, so far I see no difference in style or the infuriating propensity for inexplicably bad results that we saw under Roberto Mancini. Perhaps it would be sensible for me to wait and see at the end of the season if things have improved. But let’s not forget that Mancini did win the league for them. Pellegrini’s not won anything in the ten years he’s been managing in European football. Pellegrini was brought in because his philosophy closely mirrors that of Txiki Begiristain, and you suspect to get Manchester City past the group stages of the Champions League for the first time. Look, regarding Txiki Begiristain, I’ll come clean, I copy and pasted his name from Google. I’ve looked at it twenty times and I still can’t spell it. I feel like a dyslexic, yet I can spell dyslexic, look, see, I did it again. There’s hope for me yet.
You suspect if City are to go close that Yaya Toure, David Silva and Sergio Aguero will be the ones doing most of the heavy lifting, again. All three were inherited by the new so called brain-trust. I can’t see any of the new signings becoming as integral to the side as they are and will continue to be.
One final point, it’s easy to mock Joe Hart right now. So I won’t do it. He’s another in a long line of English players who got overhyped, which leads to them becoming overrated, and when they fail to consistently reach that artificial expectation they become the subject of ridicule. That’s the better scenario, somehow, it’s worse if they continue to succeed or should I say exceed expectations. That’s when people resort to tearing them down for petty irrelevant things that have absolutely nothing to do with their main talent. It’s a British disease and I despise it thoroughly. You can see it happening with Russell Brand right now. People are using his irreverent quips as evidence of him being a bit of a misogynist. It’s a way of sounding intellectually relevant, and or being contrarian to hide their jealousy. Even if Brand is a bit of misogynist (I don’t know if he is or not), does it make what he’s saying any less valid? Perhaps it’s just a lot simpler than that, and that Brand’s success, especially if you don’t rate or like him as a comedian, and his ability to articulate himself, just makes people feel inferior and or inadequate.
What isn’t easy to figure out is how Man City’s season will pan out. I’ve put them in with the title contenders out of respect for the talent they do have and the fact that they’ve finished in no lower than second in each of the last two seasons. But I’m not convinced they’ve improved since last season, and so essentially any improvement in position will be as a result of teams getting worse.
Current League Position: 1st
Pre-season Prediction: 4th
Revised Prediction: 3rd
Ahhh, vindication. I fucking love it.
Of course Arsenal were always going to sign someone, or more than one before the end of the summer window. They had to. The fans were rabid. Mutiny beckoned. And of course Arsenal just happened to get the best player who was readily available late in the window. Mesut Ozil fell into their laps and they smashed their transfer record. Questions will remain as to why Arsenal pissed about all summer though. First with the haggling for Gonzalo Higuain, and then with those derisory bids for Luis Suarez that in turn practically ended any chance of them having a bid accepted by Liverpool.
Given all that the fee for Ozil was surprising, Manchester United passing on Mesut Ozil for Fellaini wasn’t a surprise given the ‘winner’ they’re now managed by. Even so I felt the signing of Ozil alone wasn’t enough to turn Arsenal into title winning side. But now, seeing how United have struggled and City look desperately unconvincing, well, who knows? Even if Arsenal don’t win the league the Ozil signing is a start to rebuilding fan confidence that Arsenal can genuinely challenge, and maybe just maybe it could change the mood around the club itself. Being practical, of all the positions that Arsenal were deficient in, creative midfielder wasn’t high up the list, in fact it wasn’t even on it. However, you don’t turn down quality like that when you can get it.
Quick tangent, but what the fuck were Real Madrid thinking? They sold one of the best number tens in world football, to buy the homeless man’s version of Cristiano Ronaldo. Ronaldo certainly wasn’t pleased. Madrid should’ve built the side around the Ozil, Isco and Ronaldo axis. Still, Madrid’s stupidity is Arsenal’s gain, and long term, if Wenger can find a way to get Ozil, Cazorla and Wilshere on the pitch at the same time, without compromising shape or solidity and allowing Giroud and Walcott to also play, maybe, just maybe, Arsenal can go close.
Still, this is a work in progress (Arsenal fans are getting sick of it) but this side could develop quickly with the right signings. It then becomes a question of whether Ozil was a one off, or the start of a new transfer strategy? By failing to get either Suarez, Higuain or any half decent striker Arsenal went into the season with Nicklas Bendtner as their backup striker. NICKLAS. BENDTNER. Perhaps we’ll see a bid for Christian Benteke or Jackson Martinez in January? Laurent Koscielny and Per Mertesacker have formed a decent partnership, but another reliable centre back will be needed at some point. A holding midfielder will surely be on Wenger’s to do list. There was a reason Mathieu Flamini was a free agent. Mikel Arteta is decent but over thirty now and Aaron Ramsey is woefully miscast as one, even more so that he’s scoring goals when playing further forward. Ramsey’s general play has been excellent so far, a mistake against Dortmund not withstanding, even if his shots on target to off target ratio, and his shots on target to goals ratio are probably unsustainable.
I have to say I’ve enjoyed watching them so far this season, mostly because I’ve been vindicated in my defense of Wenger. You never get rid of someone like him for a maybe.
In recent seasons Arsenal’s have tended to go the way of a flasher with erectile dysfunction, first they tease, then they fail to please. Usually around late February early March time. Perhaps, perhaps, this time will be different.
Current League Position: 2nd
Pre-season Prediction: 2nd
Revised Prediction: 1st
Jose Mourinho is a sociopath, can we agree on this?
Right, with that settled, can those who obviously dislike him and who choose to obsess over his record as manager, please stop doing this? I can’t stand him but I don’t resort to that nonsense. The pathetic attempts to weave a narrative that he’s somehow not very good at his job, that’s he’s lucky, or that his success is purely down to the fact that he’s always managed clubs with money (like he did at Porto?), or that he’s just a motivator who relies on defensive football, are all pathetic arguments. So just please stop it. It’s embarrassing drivel.
I was sceptical that his return to Chelsea would work for either party. I wondered from afar whether his vulgar tantrums and hate inducing shtick were finally starting to wear thin with everyone in football. Or maybe a return to Chelsea, where he’s adored by their appropriately cuntish fans and a fawning Sky Sports, who have a twenty-four hour news channel to fill don’t forget, was just what he (and they) needed?
Early returns provide no evidence either way. They’re joint second, where I expected them to be.
Chelsea certainly need to do better in the league than they have in recent seasons. Abramovich’s insatiable need to have a go at Football Manager in real life and his occasional vanity signings haven’t helped. When Mourinho returned I felt their summer transfer business would make sense again, but it didn’t. They didn’t address their biggest deficiency: central midfield. Frank Lampard is still a good player, but he can’t play as often as Chelsea need him to. Ramires still isn’t a central midfielder. Michael Essien is ghost of the player he was in his pomp and John Obi Mikel just never lived up to the hype that caused Chelsea and Manchester United to fight over him. Nemanja Matic was linked, and while I’ve never seen him play, perhaps Chelsea would feel a bit embarrassed for selling him for £5m, only to buy him back a couple of years later for the asking price set by Benfica at £30m. Even billionaires have a limit, or so it seems.
Chelsea also needed to get better up front, but they haven’t. While allowing Sturridge to leave to sign Demba Ba made sense at the time, and didn’t happen on Mourinho’s watch, he has no such excuse in deciding to loan Romelu Lukaku to Everton to sign a past his best Samuel Eto’o. It’s good for Chelsea that Fernando Torres has looked sharp recently, but Chelsea fans and the rest of us have been here before. He’s had patches like this before returning to a state of indifference, which has been the norm during his time at Chelsea.
Many, mainly jealous fans of other clubs, have bemoaned the marginalisation of Juan Mata. But I wasn’t surprised. Mourinho likes his attackers to have pace, as Mourinho places a great importance on the effectiveness of the counter attack and part of that is the threat of the counter attack permeating the approach of the opposition. Mata is a player who prefers the slow build-up into feet, Chelsea do that too, but Chelsea have other attacking midfielders who can do this and are quicker than Mata, particularly Oscar and Eden Hazard.
Chelsea’s biggest summer signings were Andre Schurrle from Bayer Leverkusen, and Willian from Shakhtar Dontesk. Fair enough, both good players and significant improvements over Victor Moses. Problem is they’re best used on the left wing, and so is Eden Hazard. Oscar and Mata are best in the middle and nobody of the five prefers to play on the right, yet someone will have to. I suspect Chelsea didn’t have a strong inclination to sign Willian. But because he was available for less than expected and Spurs were close to signing him, they decided to buy him anyway, because they could. Moderation seemingly isn’t easy in the face of temptation when you can afford anything.
One thing Mourinho does deserve great credit for is fomenting a seemingly permanent winning mentality in Chelsea’s squad. It has lived on without him for six years. They never act like they’re beaten, they never show mental weakness. I don’t see this quality at the other top clubs in that abundance. So because of this, despite their individual flaws, and uneven squad, I expect those plastic flags to be flying high in May. Jose Mourinho and John Terry will still be cunts though.
So there you have it, a team whose owner ripped off thousands of working class people, and who spends his stolen billions on a football club with some of the most cuntyish cunty cunt fans in Britain, and who are relatively mediocre given the amount of money that’s been spent on them, and are managed by an unbearably smug, snide sociopathic cunt, will win the richest, greediest and seediest league in the world. The Premier League, don’t ya just love it?