It seems that wherever Jose Mourinho ends up, the media has a field day. His days running Real Madrid were filled with controversy and headlines sparked by the media after every loss (or even draw). Everything this man does is overly analysed and, perhaps improperly blamed on the vocal coach who is never short of something headline grabbing to say. As a fan of world football, I see articles everywhere talking about Chelsea’s latest mistake and what Mourinho needs to do to right the ship, but after looking a little deeper, it seems that a lot of this criticism is simply too much.
How disappointing can second place be?
For example, let’s just look at the Premier League for a second. Many football aficionados will tell you that this is the single toughest league in the world. While not everyone gathers headlines like Chelsea, Man U or Man City, there is a healthy level of competition from top to bottom in the EPL which makes it impressive for any team to hold a position near the top of the table. This is exactly what Mourinho has done in his current stint at Stamford Bridge – situating his squad in a tie with Liverpool for second place and only two points behind Arsenal who just got thumped at the hands of Man City. Could Chelsea be at number one right now? Absolutely, they’ve had their chances, but so have many others. Second place after the first half of the season is nothing to be ashamed of.
Finding a way to score
Despite a relatively successful start to the campaign, this Chelsea team is struggling to score goals – a problem that started well before Mourinho arrived. This team doesn’t look good enough to be at number 2 in the league on paper. Fans and critics around the world compare to this team to the absolutely stacked squad of a few years ago when the likes of Didier Drogba, Michael Essien and others formed the group that took home a Champions League title, but the truth is that this current version of Chelsea is only a shell of that team talent wise.
Fernando Torres was brought in to be the man, but never has shown more than flashes. He always seems to be just one or two plays away from breaking out and becoming the threat he was supposed to be, but his two goals this season have supporters once again scratching their heads. Perhaps he can’t handle the pressure, or maybe the style of play in England doesn’t favor his game – regardless, Jose Mourinho has a huge opportunity coming up with a new transfer window opening up in January. There will be goal scorers available, and if this team is to hold up at the top of the table, the Special One needs to bring in a body or two that can put the ball in the net. Diego Costa has been repeatedly linked to Chelsea, but it is hard to see Atletico parting ways with their leading goal scorer considering they are only a handful of points behind La Liga monsters Barcelona. Could Radamel Falcao be snatched away from Monaco’s billionaire owner? Perhaps, but until anything further comes out of Stamford Bridge, it is nothing more than Mourinho’s dream.
Chelsea could be compared to Major League Baseball’s Yankees in that fans and sports writers alike tolerate nothing more than perfection and championships. It gets ugly in the media when things don’t always go Chelsea’s way. Jose Mourinho’s squad is not the most talented squad in Europe, or even England and sitting in second place should be considered a minor victory at this point. I’m not saying this season has been a resounding success for Mourinho and company – it is simply still too early to grade this team until we see if they take home any pieces of hardware. It’s a long season, and a lot will happen between now and the end of May.
This guest post was written by Harry Snell, founder and owner of Bigfreebet.com, a free sporting bets website and football betting tips blog.