Jose Mourinho’s high risk strategy is beginning to pay off. Just a few days after a seemingly humiliating 3-0 defeat to my beloved Manchester City and Pedro is no longer moving to our quiet Manchester neighbours but signing for Chelsea. I expect a couple more players to follow Pedro and Rahman into Stamford Bridge, maybe even before Saturday.
The work done for such signings was all done on Sunday. It was a 'good' defeat for a manager who knew what needed to happen to give his team a chance to retain their title. High risk for sure by going five points behind City at this early stage but better that than a point ahead and no pressure on Abramovich to open his cheque book!
I was expecting the City win on Sunday. We started rather fast and slick away to West Brom in the opening game. Silva and Ya Ya Toure looked like two guys who had just had their first break from football in quite a while. Indeed the latter’s improvement on last season looked like a new£50 million signing! Sterling had a great pre season and his speed opens up the gaps for Silva to thread his visionary passes. After a good holiday, Kompany is back to his best too and Mangala looked like the player we thought we had bought a year ago.
So I was sure we would beat a Chelsea side without Courtois, lost to suspension, and a club in a little disarray after Jose tantrum’s with the club medical staff. Just before kick off, however, I wondered if I had lost my mind. Nobody beats Chelsea easily, specially the top clubs because Mourinho is always so tactically astute that they are always likely to scrape a win even if they are under power at this stage of a season.
Ten seconds in and City were running riot, Aguero at his sharpest even without a summer off. Yes, at only 1-0, instead of the 5 we should have been leading, with just over ten to go I was concerned but two more goals and a 3-0 victory didn’t flatter. When Jose called it a ‘fake result’ Alan Shearer agreed and said it should have been 5 or 6!
In the middle of it all and at the press conference Mourinho made the tactical move of the game. High risk maybe but in a moment he played the card that might well win him the title. Substituting John Terry at half time was a statement to Terry for sure. This is his best buddy and long term leader on the pitch. 16 year old Reece Oxford was having the same experience at West Ham. Terry might not have the youthful age to explain to his family or the years ahead of him to bounce back. Humbling!
Mourinho, however, wasn’t making his statement to John Terry. There were two other targets of his message. Firstly, he needed to tell the club owner that the team needed a quicker centre half. He pointed it out with a Gospel preacher’s turn or burn clarity in his after match interview.
Jose hopes that one other person was at the altar waiting for a conversion experience. It is well documented that Everton’s John Stones is a target of Mourinho’s. Getting Abramovich to splash the cash is one thing. Convincing Stones to sign for Chelsea is another. Everton have started the season looking more than solid. Their first half display against Southampton was excellent. Stones might well think that it is not a time to leave. He might also be wondering if signing for Chelsea would have him warming the bench for the rest of the season. After all they have a solid centre half partnership in Cahill and Terry… well they did until Sunday at 5pm. See my point!
I do not think that all things are well at Chelsea. It is however, not about doctors or that, another doctor, Dr Spock’s ears have a point more than the Champions. It is that the manager knows that they need to strengthen to be able to retain the trophy and relations with the owner are what is strained the most.
City look fantastic. Will they have the consistency? Arsenal looked good until West Ham shocked them. Liverpool with Benteke and United with Memphis are both stronger contenders this season and if they have struggled in their opening games they have 6 points which again is 5 points ahead of the Champions.
So, expect a few signings very very soon or a speedy September exit for Jose! Expect that come May we will look back at this last weekend and say that is where it started going right for Chelsea. High risk but maybe Mourinho had no other choice. I find him a detestable individual whose greatest achievement in football is making Sir Alex Ferguson look like a decent chap but he is clever.