OH HOW we’ve missed you Mourinho.
The Special One is well known for doing things his own special way, and that extends from the touchline to the transfer market, but this week’s work will take some beating.
Despite a medical being completed and a transfer fee being arranged between Anzhi Makhachkala and Tottenham Hotspur for midfielder Willian, an 11th hour bid by Chelsea this week saw the Brazilian winger change his mind and agree a move to Stamford Bridge.
This is despite Chelsea owning more attacking midfielders than you can shake a Oscar, Juan Mata, Eden Hazard and Andre Schurrle-shaped stick at – a strange move it seemed at first.
Rumours were rife that the swoop would allow Mata to become the bargaining chip needed to prise his top target Wayne Rooney away from Manchester United – which could still be a possibility.
But now it appears that Gareth Bale’s mooted £93m move to Real Madrid is on hold as Daniel Levy won’t let Bale leave without a replacement in the bag.
So the Willian move has messed with both Chelsea rivals Spurs and former employer Madrid’s dealings, and made his own business look much more likely too – talk about two birds with one stone, Jose.
THIS season, more than any I can remember anticipating, is a hard one to call.
The top three teams from last season, Manchester United, Manchester City and Chelsea, all have new men at the helm.
Arsenal underperformed last season – but then, Arsenal have underperformed for a good few years now – while Spurs and Liverpool could both be facing up to life without their star men next season.
I can’t see any other team seriously breaking into the top four, but which of these six elite squads will is a hard call.
There’s my disclaimer out of the way.
But neck on the line I find it hard to see past Mourinho’s Chelsea for the title.
His team has a strength in depth matched only by Manchester City, with some real creative talent in the form of Hazard, Mata and Oscar – plus if anyone can hit the ground running it’s the Special One, a manager adept at settling into new clubs, with the benefit of having been here and done it before.
It’s this that gives him the edge over Pellegrini’s star-studded legions of Manchester City, who I’m placing second come May.
Last season, Arsene Wenger’s Arsenal gave themselves a mountain to climb, and they climbed it admirably during the second half of the season. If they come out of the traps in the same form as they finished last time around, I can see them overhauling David Moyes and Manchester United’s defending champions, who’ll have to settle for fourth place.
Liverpool and Spurs I see missing out, without the depth in their squad to maintain a season-long campaign – although I will tip the Lilywhites’ new boy Roberto Soldado for the Golden Boot.
Tomorrow, I’m going to have a look at the other half of the table and predict who’ll be relegated…
ARSENAL and Chelsea should pip Spurs to the Champions League places for next season, say surfers of this site.
A few days ago, Goaltastic posted a poll to ask which of the three sides currently contesting the two Champions League berths alongside Manchester United and Manchester City should miss out.
And after a huge number of votes in just a couple of days, an overwhelming majority (61.98 per cent) feel that Tottenham should finish fifth, rather than Arsenal (18.23 per cent) and Chelsea (19.79 per cent).
Of course, the reality of the situation may not match the results of the poll – but whatever happens it should be an exciting run in this season.
CHELSEA, Arsenal and Spurs are currently locked in one of the closest races in Premier League history.
Sadly for the trio, it’s not the title at stake, but to secure Champions League football.
Anyone who says that Germany has now eclipsed England and Spain as the top league on the continent should cast an eye at the strength of the squads vying for third and fourth places – with World Class talents like Juan Mata, Theo Walcott, Gareth Bale, Eden Hazard, Santi Cazorla, Jermain Defoe and more facing off for the right to represent England over the next few weeks.
And sadly, one of these squads – all of which could arguably challenge for the European crown next season – will miss out.
It’s a hard one to call – but you can vote for who you think should miss out with out vote below…
SPANISH sensation Juan Mata has been irking me since his arrival in the Premier League.
A lot of people have said he looks a bit like his manager, Andre Villas-Boas, but that comparison was missing something – and then it hit me.
He looks like a hairy Rooney as well.
Hopefully the above equation sheds a little light on my lookalike thought process – fooballer lookalike suggestions in the comments below, via Twitter @goaltastic, or e-mailed to me at Isaac_Ashe@MRN.co.uk, are very welcome.
CHELSEA new boy, £26m man Juan Mata, has wasted no time in endearing himself to the Stamford Bridge faithful.
Before even kicking a ball in the Premier League, the Spanish international has put the boot into his new London rivals.
He said: “I want to come to England to win trophies – and that’s why I accepted Chelsea’s offer.
“It was also a question of sporting achievement, not money.
“Arsenal and Tottenham were both interested in me but they did not compare with the Blues.”
Zing, as they say.