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Can Liverpool Break Jose Mourinho’s Cynical, Anti-Football Tactics At Chelsea?

jose mourinho2 Can Liverpool Break Jose Mourinhos Cynical, Anti Football Tactics At Chelsea?

While everybody is raving about the competitiveness of this Premier League season, it is entirely possible a single team will run away with the league still, as half the fixtures remain to be played. That side is Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea. Call it cynical or anti-football, but what Mourinho is doing again at Chelsea is setting up his team to maximize results, while annoying neutrals in the process. In this era of English self-loathing and obsession with style, Mourinho’s willingness to buck conventional norms must be considered refreshing, though his self-promoting narcissism prevents us from fully embracing him as a counter-revolutionary figure.

Chelsea has won all but two of the matches against the top seven sides at Stamford Bridge. If Chelsea are not conceding goals and are keeping their shape away from home, it is difficult to see where they will drop enough points to keep an untested side like Arsenal and a mistake-prone side like Manchester City around.

Mourinho instinctively is a defensive manager. He attempted to bend to the personnel he inherited after years of binge buying by Chelsea of largely repetitive attacking players. After a few months of frustration and quite frankly lots of good fortune, Chelsea find themselves right near the top and have adapted new tactics designed not to entertain but to win trophies.

Programming note: For viewers in the United States, the match between Chelsea and Liverpool will be shown live at 11am ET on Sunday on NBCSN and Telemundo.

Given Jose Mourinho’s record in setting up deep, absorbing pressure but winning important matches, who would bet against him? Mourinho’s tactical adjustment also potentially means the opposition has to be nearly perfect to beat the Blues for the league title this season. Manchester City for example cannot let leads slip again against the likes of Cardiff City or Aston Villa. Arsenal cannot drop points at home to the likes of Everton again.

The Blues change in tactics has potentially turned the title race completely. As a neutral, my hope would be that Liverpool, perhaps one of only two sides that can get behind Chelsea when playing this way, pinch a victory tomorrow at the Bridge. This would force a Mourinho rethink again. Anything short of that, and we may see the Blues playing out the season with drab, lifeless football that gives them a comfortable Premier League title by let’s say five to eight points.

English Football itself might better off without Mourinho’s negative tactics and his constant whining. But unfortunately for non-Chelsea fans, he is poised to have the last laugh this time.

Editor’s note: For the latest Blues news, analysis and opinion, visit the Chelsea team page.

This entry was posted in Chelsea, Jose Mourinho, Leagues: EPL, Liverpool. Bookmark the permalink.

About Kartik Krishnaiyer

A lifelong lover of soccer, the beautiful game, he served from January 2010 until May 2013 as the Director of Communications and Public Relations for the North American Soccer League (NASL). Raised on the Fort Lauderdale Strikers of the old NASL, Krishnaiyer previously hosted the American Soccer Show on the Champions Soccer Radio Network, the Major League Soccer Talk podcast and the EPL Talk Podcast. His soccer writing has been featured by several media outlets including The Guardian and The Telegraph. He is the author of the book Blue With Envy about Manchester City FC.
View all posts by Kartik Krishnaiyer →

12 Responses to Can Liverpool Break Jose Mourinho’s Cynical, Anti-Football Tactics At Chelsea?

  1. Smokey Bacon says:

    I think Ken’s head just exploded.

  2. Mufc77 says:

    Chelsea has the potential to run away with the league this season said NOBODY EVER!!!

  3. Harry says:

    Yeah, it’s not like he’s ever managed teams that scored 100+ goals a season or gain 100+ points a season either. I mean, look at Ronaldo. He suffered from negative tactics didn’t he? Arsenal under George Graham created “boring” football believe me. If teams of expensive players can’t break down an organised defence then more fool them. Chelsea’s defence has also been anything but organised most of this season. Arsenal created far less last monday. That currently makes them boring and anti-football right?

  4. SmACK says:

    Kartik, take a break from giving your thoughts.

  5. Trevor says:

    Kartik,

    This article is hyperbole times infinity. The ‘Chelsea play anti-football’ straw man is one of the laziest platitudes in football. Have you watched our recent games? You do realize that we outshot Arsenal by a decent margin (13 to 7) while playing our ‘cynical football’, away I might add.

    As for Swansea, we had seventeen shots. SEVENTEEN. If we had a half decent striker we’d have won three or four nil. How is that negative? Are we no longer trying to tiki-taka teams to death? Perhaps. But that does not instantly mean Chelsea are cynical. To raise a hoop-la about a “major change in tactics” after those two games is sensationalism. I understand your distaste for Mourinho, especially after his celebrations v. City, but it seems to coloring your analysis quite a bit.

  6. CTBlues says:

    Just because the team you root for isn’t playing in a game doesn’t make you a neutral.

  7. abdirahman says:

    plz katrik take a breather little while!yu simply showed us that yu are anti-chelsea&mourinho.its christmas and new year’s festive!

  8. Ianor says:

    lol.simply agreed this is hyperbole……take a break fro football.

  9. Len F says:

    Unless you are talking about college football, there is no such thing as style points… it’s about winning.

    I’m an Arsenal supporter so I have no interest in supporting Mourinho but he’s absolutely doing what is in his club’s interest.

    What’s more outrageous in my mind is Pellegrini complaining about Palace’s tactics today. I’d like to see how he would manage a side that is on the wrong end of such a resource disparity.

  10. Guys I am actually complimenting Mourinho if you read this piece carefully.

    “Call it cynical or anti-football, but what Mourinho is doing again at Chelsea is setting up his team to maximize results, while annoying neutrals in the process. In this era of English self-loathing and obsession with style, Mourinho’s willingness to buck conventional norms must be considered refreshing, though his self-promoting narcissism prevents us from fully embracing him as a counter-revolutionary figure.”

    I am a well known admirer of both Sam Allardyce and Tony Pulis. I don’t believe teams should unilaterally disarm. My annoyance is that the title race I feel could be done and dusted if Mourinho isn’t beat soon when playing this way. But as a manager it is certainly within his rights to play any way he wants and ignore the moral indignation of the British press. Man City won a title playing this way in 11-12. Had Fergie played more cynically, United almost certainly would have won the title as they had the better side (except in the direct matchups between the teams but had 6 more points against the rest of the league that season) and would not have dropped points from winning positions against Blackburn and Newcastle at OT that year.

    So I actually would do the very same thing if I were in Jose’s position. Arsenal and Manchester City have both proven they have a hard time breaking down well bunkered sides. I just think for the neutral it would be better if his teams were forced out of their shell.

  11. Ken says:

    You need to give up mate because you have been made to look a right Humpty.

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