It wasn’t quite Groves versus Froch but Mourinho versus Wenger had all the ingredients of a heavyweight title fight and just as we saw on that night, the pretender was dispatched by the Champion. We had the pre match slanging match and press conferences, the ever growing tension and Arsene Wenger’s scuffle with the Portuguese that culminated in a damp squib for his Arsenal team.
Just as he did to Pep Guardiola in his time at Real Madrid, Jose Mourinho has been his usual confrontational self. He wasted no time in taking a swipe at Wenger on his return to England, when he brandished the Frenchman an ‘’expert in failure’’ after the Arsenal chief endured a six year barren spell. He also felt the need to claim that ‘’we don’t want a trophy for finishing second, third or fourth……like some other guys want’’, throwing more fuel to the fire in the process. To some he is the smarmy, egotistical boss that goes too far in his evaluation of other managers. For me, he is a tactical genius that wins the match before his team have taken to the field.
Arsenal supporters are constantly cursing the lack of a defensive midfield player, a proven centre forward and an experienced centre half. Contrastingly how often do you hear Chelsea supporters calling a radio station to whine about the incompetency’s of an area of the team? This season their squad looks perfect and could yet go undefeated from what I have witnessed up until now.
As far as Arsenal are concerned, Arsene Wenger’s argument that his squad were up against a side with financial muscle was as feeble as his push on the Chelsea boss. This from a man who has spent £42.5 million on Mesut Ozul, £35 million on Alexis Sanchez, £16 million each on Danny Welbeck and Callum Chambers, £12 million for Matthieu Debuchy and £3 million on David Ospina. Granted he has sold Thomas Vermaelen to Barcelona for £15 million, though I am not sure how selling him in the first place was a good idea.
A Bridge Too Far
Speaking about the decision not to sign Fabregas, Wenger stated that, ‘’Arsenal have Cazorla, we have Wilshere, we have Ramsey, we have Oxlade-Chamberlain, who are all offensive players’’. That may be so although all of the above were offensively ordinary against Chelsea and completely outshone by Fabregas, Oscar and Hazard. Wenger complimented Diego Costa’s adaptation to English football prior to the match.
You wonder if he appreciated the relationship that his former prodigy has with the forward as much as the Stamford Bridge faithful do. Chelsea’s second would have been more befitting of the Ryder Cup and was a pass of the same standing of Jamie Donaldson’s game winner. Picking up the ball behind the half way line, the Spaniard’s scooped pass eliminated Chambers and Koscielny and was put on the plate for Costa to lob past woyzeck szczesny.
Unfathomable is the word I would use to describe Arsenal’s manager and I am sure I wouldn’t be alone in this stance. He has this idyllic picture of winning trophies through tiki-taka football. Ray Parlour summed his chances of doing so up when he stated that ‘’the Premier League has improved’’ since the days of Arsenals invincible. No longer is it enough to outscore teams and the competitiveness of the league has greatened substantially.
Simply put, Arsenal should have signed a player of Costa’s pedigree that would bully centre backs and score goals. Likewise, they should have signed a player such as William Carvalho who was apparently on their radar. Never mind if Sporting are looking to keep him and the player’s preference is to stay-make a case for joining Arsenal. Paul Merson reiterated the need for this type of player by making a case for Jon Obi Mikel. I don’t think Mourinho would sell him to Arsenal and he came on yesterday so a replacement would be required first. The defender that should have been acquired was Bruno Martins Indi. He joined Sporting after a solid World Cup with Holland and would have relished the offer of Premier League football. As it happens, I was certain he would join Manchester United and was shocked that nothing materialised given the shortage of experienced defenders at the club.
After City’s impressive victory over Aston Villa, the Premier League is a two horse race that could go to the wire. My own thoughts are that Chelsea could win it at a canter if they continue in this vain of form and even go the season undefeated.