By: Bamidele Salako
Mourinho: On a quest for redemption
The top-of-the-table clash between log-topping juggernauts, Liverpool and daredevil defensive exponents, Chelsea, was a much anticipated match, billed the “title-decider”, not as much for the blues as it was for the reds. A victory for Liverpool on a ground that had seen them crush all-comers for the better part of this season would have had them needing only to claim four points from their last two games against relatively beatable opponents. It wasn’t to be! A certain self-styled “Only One” unsurprisingly made sure of spoiling the party at the red half of Merseyside with a devastating 2-0 victory.
The only surprise, perhaps, which in fact makes this victory all the more special was that Jose Mourinho accomplished the remarkable feat with his side missing no less than seven assured starters had the game held in different circumstances. Etoo, Hazard, Oscar, Ramires, Terry, Luiz and Cech, were all missing due to injury, suspension and the manager’s decision to rest players with an eye to a crunch European date with Spanish league leaders, Athletico Madrid, in the diary. The Blues had almost 70% of their first team out.
That victory made it eight wins, three draws and one loss (Everton away) for Mourinho’s Chelsea out of 12 games against the division’s top seven sides (Liverpool, Manchester City, Arsenal, Everton, Tottenham and Manchester United)- the best such record this season in the English top flight, accumulating an outstanding 27 points from a possible 36 in the process. And as he rightly stated after the Anfield victory, whichever of Liverpool or Manchester City eventually wins the league, the passionate Portuguese would have beaten either both home and away.
The possibility of Chelsea winning the league now lies rather hopelessly in the realm of mathematical calculations. The league is undoubtedly City’s to lose, or Liverpool’s, depending on what rude twists or turns yet await us in the coming weeks of a season that has certainly not been short of surprises. Just last week, it looked liked the stars were well aligned for Liverpool to go on and claim their first title in 24years, with Sunderland aiding their cause in no mean measure as the Black Cats popped up as party poopers at the Etihad and Stamford Bridge successively within a matter of days. Yesterday, it was Chelsea’s turn to be spoilsports.
With the remote prospect of a league and European double in view or at least, a more realistic European triumph on the cards, Securenigeria365 revisits an article written by SN365 columnist, Bamidele Salako on what was then the prospective return of Jose Mourinho to Chelsea, few days to his announcement as the club’s new manager. Still on a quest for redemption at Chelsea following a somewhat disappointing three years (disappointing by his standards) in Spain, Bamidele explored, in that article, the possibility of Mourinho reclaiming his self-conferred “Special One” status at the club where his image as one of the game’s true managerial greats was first forged. A wonderful read:
(Article first appeared on Securenigeria365.wordpress.com on April 28, 2014: https://securenigeria365.wordpress.com/2014/04/28/anfield-masterclass-offers-hope-in-mourinhos-quest-for-redemption/)