Jose Mourinho the key to the title race?
There is still plenty of football to be played but it looks increasingly likely that the Premier League title is returning to Stamford ...
There is still plenty of football to be played but it looks increasingly likely that the Premier League title is returning to Stamford Bridge. The decision to rehire Jose Mourinho in the summer is now looking like the most crucial moment in this season’s title race.
Chelsea’s 3-1 win over Fulham at the weekend and Arsenal’s loss to Stoke saw the gap at the top rise to four points, with Liverpool now looking a more realistic challenger than the Gunners.
Six points behind but with two games in hand are Manchester City. The Capital One cup winners will overtake Chelsea if they win those matches but that remains a big ‘if’. Their success in the League Cup and FA Cup has created a fixture backlog and reduced their chances of winning the title.
City play Wigan in the FA Cup quarter-final next weekend which will almost certainly see them reach the semi-finals. If Chelsea can beat a Spurs side that are looking pretty poor right now, then the gap between the sides will stretch to nine points.
Three of Manchester City’s come away from home. Their form on the road has been patchy all season and with trips to Old Trafford and the Emirates scheduled within four days of each other, it would be a major surprise if points were not dropped.
Mourinho has claimed that Chelsea’s lead is fake given City’s games in hand, but he surely knows that his team are increasing the pressure on Manuel Pellegrini’s side with every win. The bookies certainly don’t think that there’s anything fake about Chelsea’s lead, with Betfair making them the to win the Premier League.
If Chelsea do find themselves clear at the top with so few games remaining, then they can be thankful that it was they that made the correct call to recruit Mourinho. Chelsea are winning the title race with a very talented but unbalanced squad and that’s down to the man in charge.
Manchester City have a stronger group of players and you can only imagine where they would be if they’d gone for Mourinho rather than Pellegrini in the summer. Chelsea are competing with City despite not having a single striker that would make it on Pellegrini’s bench regularly.
Across Manchester, those in charge at Old Trafford are surely regretting that they chose David Moyes for a job that Mourinho coveted. It seems almost impossible to think that United could be challenging for the title this season given their woeful performances, but we should not forget that this is a side that last season.
It was Alex Ferguson’s freakish ability to get the best out a mediocre squad that made last season’s title win a reality. Mourinho has a similar ability and would have been the perfect manager to ensure that there would be no fall from grace, as has been witnessed under Moyes.
When you appoint Mourinho you are pretty much guaranteed a title challenge. His relationship with his players and employers may have broken down at the end Real Madrid but his achievement there should not be dismissed. The La Liga title win in 2012 was Real’s first in four seasons, as they got the better of a Barcelona side that can be ranked amongst the finest in history.
In Pep Guardiola, Mourinho had a rival that was his match. In England, no one comes close and that’s why he’ll lead Chelsea to another Premier League title this season.