Mourinho's tactics bore, but Chelsea FC win
Chelsea beat an in-form Manchester United side – albeit without two key players in Michael Carrick and Daley Blind – 1-0 in an ugly game at Stamford Bridge. Hazard, who was nominated for the PFA Player of the Year award earlier in the week, showed that it was a fitting selection as he scored a wonderful goal in the 38th minute off a brilliant back-heel pass from Oscar.
Even though they were playing at home, Chelsea enjoyed just 30 percent of possession and allowed The Red Devils to boss the game. Mourinho started two defensive midfielders Kurt Zouma and Nemanja Matic to combat United’s Marouane Fellaini in the middle of the park and to provide a defensive shield in front of the back four.
The manager who went off on West Ham’s manager Sam Allardyce for ‘parking the bus’ last season – to his credit Allardyce responded that ‘we out-tacted and out-witted him’ (which was true) and that he doesn’t ‘give a sh**’ about what Mourinho has to say – implored the same boring and defensive tactics.
Despite using the same tactics, Mourinho’s game plan did not come under as much criticism as did Allardyce’s last season, as Chelsea is a big club that spends boatloads of money, is on top of the table and has a manager that is both revered and thought of as god (by some). ESPNFC.com polled its readers asking if Mourinho’s tactics were boring or brilliant, and 55 percent of viewers voted that he is boring; in contrast, ESPNFC’s Nick Miller wrote that this win showed the great one’s tactical brilliance.
The question of whether Mourinho’s approach was the right one is a relevant question as soccer purists want to see the beautiful game played as it should be played while some fans just want a win. Furthermore, if the Barclays Premier League is the best soccer league in the world, shouldn’t its best team play like they did at the start of the campaign? Scoring goals for fun and winning games due to attacking brilliance not defensive fortitude?
Either way, The Blues are now 10 points clear of Arsenal, their opponents this upcoming Sunday.