Following a 0-0 draw at the weekend between Arsenal and Chelsea, the Blues took a giant step towards their fifth first division Premier League title in club history. Tonight’s 3-1 victory over Leicester City, and Chelsea will surely parade begin celebrations at home to Crystal Palace this weekend.
The goalless draw on Sunday was met with “boring, boring Chelsea” chants throughout the stadium from Arsenal supporters. Chelsea boss, Jose Mourinho, was quick to hit back at the mocking chant, as the 52-year-old manager took shots at Arsenal’s recent title drought. Mourinho stated, “You know, ‘boring’ I think is 10 years without a title: that’s very boring.” (Imagine what 50 years without a title was like, but I digress).
“You support a club and you’re waiting, waiting, waiting for so many years without a Premier League title, so that’s very boring. But maybe they aren’t singing at us. Maybe, when you’re the home side and you want to win a game but you take your number nine off (with six minutes remaining) … maybe the home fans want to see (Danny) Welbeck and (Olivier) Giroud up front together.”
The boring chants are hardly anything new to Chelsea and their manager. The Portuguese boss has regularly been ridiculed for advising his team to “park the bus” during matches. “Parking the bus” usually consists of 10 players being deployed behind the ball, mostly in front of goal, at all times during the game.
Liverpool’s Brendan Rodgers and Manchester City’s Manuel Pellegrini are two of many Premier League coaches to call out Mourinho’s tactics. Following a match last April, Rodgers proclaimed, “They parked two buses, rather than one. From the first minute they had 10 men behind the ball.”
The Liverpool manager went on to finish, ”It was difficult because (Chelsea) virtually played right from the off with a back six. They had a back four, with two wingers back and then the midfield three in front of them. Just putting 10 players right on your 18-yard box is not difficult to coach, but it is obviously much harder to try and break through it.”
Pellegrini, on the other hand, encountered the Chelsea bus earlier in this season. The Chilean boss said of the controversial move, “I think we played 90 minutes against a small team trying to defend, trying to keep 10 players in front of their goal, and (we were) a team that wanted to win from the beginning. I think we played against exactly the same team we played against Stoke here.”
While many fans/managers/pundits would agree that Mourinho’s Chelsea club can certainly be hard on the eyes, the question remains: does it ultimately matter? Yes, Chelsea is boring under Mourinho. Yes, the Blues have only scored 17 goals over their last 12 league matches (heading into tonight’s match) and tallied more than one goal in only three of these games. However, they are on the cusp of a Premier League championship.
Although surely most would agree that they want their club to play attractive soccer while winning the title, Mourinho has chosen to this particular style. Despite the fact that an overwhelming majority of supporters from the other 19 Premier League clubs would most likely rather see any other club win the Premier League championship, Chelsea have been the best team in the country during the season, boring or not.
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