This weekend, Jose Mourinho faces a return to Chelsea that’s about as welcome for the Man United coach as a back massage from Freddie Krueger. With United miles off the pace, dressing room unrest, fans turning against him and Chelsea flying high, this is arguably the worst possible place for Mourinho to go and have to get a win.
And win, or possibly draw, he must. With more talk in the media that Mourinho will be sacked by the time the X Factor theme tune kicks in on Saturday evening, Jose could be managing his last Premier League game back where it all began. Halloween may be round the corner but Mourinho’s coffin is one nail away from being shut for good. And Hazard and co have been down B & Q and bought a job lot of nails.
Maybe history can provide Jose and United fans with some hope though? United need to treat this Chelsea game like a battle and there are some interesting parallels from the past that resonate with United’s current situation.
When it comes to epic battles of the past, 1066 and the Battle of Hastings is right up there with the battle of Helms Deep and Endor for me. So it’s interesting that a couple of weeks before the battle of Hastings, King Harold (Mourinho) fought another battle. At Stamford Bridge, against a huge Viking army. Having defeated the Vikings, Harold then marched his victorious army to Hastings to take on the flamboyant foreign invader William the Conqueror (Ronaldo). And got annihilated.
So maybe Chelsea can be Mourinho’s Stamford Bridge, then Ronaldo will finish him off at Old Trafford next Tuesday night? Or you can look at recent stats that show Mourinho has visited Chelsea three times with United, lost all three, and scored none. Hope or realism? It’s up to you.
Either way it’s fair to say that while the international break may have provided some much-needed respite for Jose, there’s nowhere for him to hide over the next few weeks. No home games against relegation fodder, no staged training ground fallouts to detract from humiliating losses to Championship sides. This is Mourinho’s last stand and it’s going to be epic.
Finally, it would be remiss of me not to mention the possible takeover bid. Reports of billionaire Saudi Arabians buying United from the Glazer’s has got some United fans as excited as a skeleton in a biscuit tin. The prospect of United chucking money around like confetti and being able to bring in the best talent in the world means we’ll win the Premier League, Champions League and Grand National every year for the next decade.
Or does it?
Money makes things easier in football but if Football Manager has taught me anything over the years, money in the wrong hands can cause untold damage to a football club. What if these new owners decide they want a hands on approach and want Messi to play in goal? Or appoint Fellani as manager?
Be careful what you wish for is all I’d say. Football has become very flippant over recent years and it’s littered with short term gain causing long term pain.