Back pages: laughing at Chelsea, mocking Manchester United and dreaming of Leicester
“Chelsea’s flops are turning on boss Jose Mourinho,” write Andrew Dillon and Shaun Curtis. A “source” tells us that Jose is being “SLAYED IN CHELSEA”. We’re then asked to wonder if Jose is morphing into Rafa Benitez, a man not all that popular at Stamford Bridge. But unlike Rafa, Jose’s job is safe because there are no “viable alternatives”.
In “no fight club”, Chelsea fan Rory Jennings says the team are “soft”. He evokes players like Ron Harris, Dennis Wise and John Terry to emphasise just how tough Chelsea used to be. He omits to mention that before Roman Abramovich’s billions, Chelsea were losers who sold cars by the side of the pitch and pulled in smallish gates as one of the Second Division’s larger clubs.
Chelsea fans moaning about their “crisis” is laughable. But, then, for most current Chelsea fans their support began when dad took them to a padded seat at the Bridge on their way to the rugger.
After three pages of what’s wrong with Chelsea, football fans get one page of what’s right with Leicester City, who sit top of the Premier League after victory over Jose’s overpaid dullards. News is that Riyad Mahrez and Jamie Vardy will not be sold in January. Good. Of course, should a huge offer come in for one or either, Leicester might be tempted.
Returning to the Sun’s Manchester United’s scoop, the story is that some players at Old Trafford have found reason to think Louis Van Gaal’s tactics are a bit plodding. Which they are. A few players have told him where he’s going wrong. The odds on the hammer headed Dutchman listening to their advise is thinner than Jose’s smile.
The Star leads with more Chelsea news. Readers learn that Roman Abramovich will “NOT sanction a Chelsea spending spree next month”. This is the same Roman who made Chelsea what they are today with a £1bn interest-free loan. One page on and we lean that the Blues have £40m for Everton’s John Stones. The Blues buy players. It’s what they do.
The Express’s lead story is that Stones is gong nowhere. Yet.
The Mirror leads with news of players leaving Chelsea. The back page has Jose telling Eden Hazard “I should have sold you in the summer”. He’s right. One year ago, Hazards was being talked about as one of the game’s greats. This season he’s a busted flush, trying but lacking inspiration and zip.
Over two pages, the Mirror looks at Leicester city. It invites seven of the game’s names to answer the question: “Will Leicester in the Premier League?” All of them say…’no’.
Or as it reported yesterday:
So much for the glory game.