ANOTHER LOVELY MASSACRE OF TOTTENSHAM [by Gary Watton]
Those of us of a blue persuasion should thank God that he invented Tottenham Hypespur. Admittedly, they twice have conquered us 2-1 in domestic cup finals, but the second best team in north London have consistently been a generous source of Premiership points, and last night was no different.
Of course, our routine demolition of the mythically ‘mighty’ Spurs was in the balance, after a first-half stalemate. However, Chelsea turned the heat up again in the second half for the second successive week and proceeded to emulate Manchester Mercenaries and Liverpoo by trouncing Tottenham. An understandably irate Tim Sherwood was correct in denouncing his hyped team’s latest “capitulation” against a top four team.
As for Chelsea, well they might be increasingly touted as champions-elect, much to the preposterous surprise of Jose, but they need to be more effective in the first 45 minutes of future contests. In recent weeks, we have been held 0-0 at the interval against Evercrap, Foolham, and now Tottensham, before emerging victorious. This may reveal that the Blues are finishing matches really strongly, but there is no way that Chelsea can continue to rely upon second-half heroics to bail themselves out. Admittedly, Chelsea managed an early goal in Turkey and failed to hold on for a win. Nevertheless a few goals in the first half would be rather useful in future occasions too!
Although Saturday was another routine triumph over the ‘great’ Spurs, it was unique in being one of the few occasions in recent years when Chelsea have had the luxury of playing against ten men. It seems that nowadays referees are most reluctant to grant the Blues a one-man advantage in any contest, even if an opponent has clearly earned himself an early bath. I have a theory that referees take the view that because Chelsea have the apparent advantage of being such a wealthy club, then it is necessary to provide the opposing team with the benefit of the doubt and not rob the disadvantaged opposition of a player. Perhaps referees need to just officiate everything on its merits and disregard which club is richer and which team deserves the benefit of the doubt.
Of course a multitude of Spurs supporters will be in denial about the eventual outcome. They will queue up to bemoan a questionable penalty decision and a subsequent sending-off which combined to conclude the contest. Credit must go to red-hot Hazard for slotting home the decisive penalty. However, the painful reality for Tottensham is that the encounter did not exactly hinge upon the actions of the referee. The bottom line is that for all their effort, the visitors had not scored. Secondly ‘old man’ Eto’o had given us the lead, after another Torres injury had granted the African legend a reprieve. Thirdly, the contestable penalty arose from a Chelsea attack. Clearly the Blues were in the ascendancy, and any team that rails against a seemingly unfair penalty award should remember that if they had the ball and were going forward, then they would not be placing themselves at the mercy of a dubious penalty judgment. Penalties are a punishment to teams that are forced to defend. For any Tottensham follower to suggest that the penalty and sending-off was the “turning-point” is merely denying that Chelsea were dominating and were likely winners, with or without the one-man advantage.
Moreover, Chelsea could teach the slow learners of Three Points Lane a lesson or two about how to cope with the burden of depleted numbers. A couple of years ago, we famously bounced back from two-nil down in the Nou Camp to draw two-two with only ten men. (Has any other team on this earth ever accomplished such a remarkable achievement?) Secondly, Chelsea were reduced to nine men in the first half of a fixture at QPR two seasons ago by the dastardly Chris Foy and we had the opposition on the ropes and we came close to escaping with a draw. If Chelsea can cope with the handicap of a sending-off, then the Chelsea-wannabes of norf London need to do likewise. In recent times, the far from ‘mighty’ Spurs have been reduced to ten men against Liverfools, Manchester Mercenaries, and now Mourinho’s little pony, and on each occasion gutless Tottenham have thrown in the towel. No, the referee didn’t ruin Tottenham’s chances. They achieved nul points by their own capitulation.
Meanwhile, those non-football fans who are more interested in the little sideshows on the bench and in the dressing-room are now denouncing Mourinho for disrespectfully shaking hands with the Tottensham management and leaving early. Oh seriously people, let’s not get distracted by Chelsea’s four goals bonanza and dwell on the Jose soap opera. If Mourinho chooses to leave early, then that is his prerogative. Perhaps the humble one had to answer the call of nature. Perhaps he needed to contact loved ones. Whatever the justification, it would have been a darn sight worse if Jose had departed the proceedings and not shook hands with his opposite numbers. That would have been rightly perceived as a snub. Oh, talk about a storm in a teacup, people!
Ultimately, Jose Mourinho is a 21st century Brian Clough. He speaks his mind, even if it offends that nice Bob Wilson, even if his honest appraisals are scorned as outpourings of arrogance from the Chelsea-begrudgers, and he doesn’t conform or stand on ceremony, which is why tossing his medal into the crowd or leaving a match early are lambasted by those who on the surface despise the man, but who would welcome him with open arms if their club owner had the supreme fortune and good fortune to hire him.
Of course the latest media attempt to vilify the happy one is but a shabby trick to obscure the glorious fact that three of Chelsea’s four goals were scored by their oft-criticised centre forwards. Rather than pay tribute through gritted teeth to the excellent finishing of Demba Ba and Samuel Eto’o, the media morons would much rather throw rotten tomatoes at the alleged misbehaviour of Mourinho. The Leveson Enquiry should have led to the widespread slaughter of the media. Instead of which, the malice-mongers are as unrepentant as ever and still far more inclined towards covering touchline incidents than to reporting on-field heroics. You can bet your last penny that if one of your team scores a hat trick, the non-football loving press pack will pay more heed to the fact that your manager looked at one of the opposing fans the wrong way. What a terrible tragedy that soccer in Britain is covered by sports reporters whose knowledge of and love for the game is so limited that they much prefer to fill their column s with a ritual tut-tutting of Jose and other assorted bete noirs. Oh la la.
In defence of our much-maligned strikers, it should be stated that Torres has missed a lot of matches through injury, while Eto’o has also been absent from a number of matches for the same reason. Meanwhile the criminally-underused Demba Ba has been afforded very few starts this year. Let’s face it. Even the best scorers in the world would struggle to achieve any momentum to their goal-scoring exploits if they were unable, by circumstances, to enjoy a prolonged run in the team. Also, with the phenomenal Luis Suarez scoring goals with such alarming regularity, then everyone else suffers when measured against the loose cannon from Uruguay.
Finally, before we raise our glasses or spectacles and toast the goal-scoring double from Demba Ba, it is worth asking which team did AVB cheer on yesterday, since he holds the unique distinction of having been sacked by both clubs? It’s about the only thing that high-flying Chelsea and the norf London pretenders have in common!
[The author can be stalked at http://chelsea.thefootballnetwork.net]