By Bulldog Drummond
Mourinho will be defensive, and be happy with a draw. That’s what everyone seems to be saying, and it is probably true. It might not be worth the £1000 a ticket that is said to be the going price.
We have been awaiting a Mourinho “voyeur” statement, or the production of a dossier showing how much Wenger thinks about Chelsea (but which of course revealed nothing other than how much Mourinho wants to be like Arsenal, with a lovely stadium, and 13 league titles and eight runner’s up spots (as opposed to four and four for Chelsea as of today).
Or indeed 11 wins and 8 runner’s up slots in the FA Cup (as opposed to seven and four for Chelsea).
To be fair, they’ve also done their European stuff recently and have a better record than us, but the “specialists in failure” t shirts that some Chelsea fans wear seems to reflect more on their overall achievements than ours.
Arsene Wenger by and large lets it slip by these days, saying little more than “1-0: the usual,” on hearing Chelsea’s score.
Mourinho these days talks about his “strategic” way of playing football – which is a new name for the same old. He blames “Injuries and suspensions,” and so we must look at the Physio Room report on injuries.
Chelsea has Drogba, Remy and Costa injured at the moment, which if my maths holds up is three. Arsenal have Mertesacker and the Ox which is…
But now add in the fact that Diego Costa is said to have made a quick return from his hamstring injury and actually is ready, and that Didier Drogba is available, suddenly it all changes and they have one injury, to our two.
And he talks about suspensions too: Diego Costa injured, suspended; Matic suspended, injured; Fabregas injured, suspended; Diego injured again… In football, when you are in trouble, when you are in the sea and have no boat, you need something to survive. A raft. In football, team spirit and team ethics, and strategy, is this.”
It is an alluring picture, and one that Arsenal have themselves adopted over the years to cope with the lack of financial resources during the building and paying for the new stadium, and the resourceless assaults on our players but those from other teams who have ceaselessly gone unpunished.
Surviving against the fate on the one hand, and Type III refereeing throws against teams seems to be the order of the day for Chelsea, on the one hand and Arsenal on the other.
The trouble with Mourinho however is that he can say things that you know he doesn’t believe. But he does it with the same face as the stuff that he probably does believe.
So when he says of Arsene Wenger, “He’s not my rival. I don’t feel that. He’s a manager of a big club in the same city where I work and live,” you know he doesn’t believe that, because if he did, how can he explain all the “dossier” stuff and the accusations against Mr Wenger of obsessive behaviour and voyeurism. Which makes me wonder, which bits of what he says does he believe? Any of it?
So, looking ahead can we find weaknesses in Chelsea? According to Whoscored.com they have two weaknesses: protecting a lead and defending against through ball attacks. Since Arsenal are the masters of through ball attacks, that could be interesting.
Whoscored summarises the Arsenal game as