In March 2005 Chelsea secured the legal rights to Jose Mourinho’s trademark for 20 years. This means that should Manchester United hire Mourinho, a move that seems as certain as Katie Price sleeping on her back, the Red Devils will be unable to stick their new manager’s name on such items as teddy bears, aftershave, computer games and all manner of tat. But how important is the Jose moniker?
In an “exclusive”, the Times says Chelsea’s ownership of the Mourinho trademark “will not delay his appointment at Old Trafford”.
Or as the Mirror puts it: “Jose Mourinho’s appointment as Manchester Untied manager is being delayed because Chelsea still own his signature.”
Not so, say the Times, which states: “Until recently Mourinho’s former employers [Chelsea] also owned the rights to reproduce his signature, but that ten-year trademark expired earlier this year…”
The Mirror then says United “face a six-figure bill to secure the rights to his signature and name”.
The Times says Chelsea could demand “several million pounds”.
The Sun says United will have to “£1million -plus” to use the name Jose Mourinho on merchandise.
The Mail says the 20-year licence Jose signed with Chelsea in 2005 expires in, er, 2013. That Mail says it’s between 2013 and 2015. The Times says it’s 2025.
Such are the facts.
As the Premier League season ends big media turns to transfer rumours. One issue is deciding how much each club has to spend on new players. With every club in line for a £99m bonus next season, you’d suppose every PL club can spend large on recruitment.
Sunderland: “Sam Allardyce will demand a summer war chest of up to £50million” – Sun
Spurs: “Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino to be handed £60m war chest to strengthen squad” – Mail
Arsenal: Arsene Wenger £75m transfer fund this summer to bolster fragile defence and midfield” – Daily Telegraph
Everton: “£100m war chest to fund spending bonanza” – Daily Mirror
Liverpool: “Liverpool boss handed £100m summer transfer warchest… and targets have been identified” – Daily Star
Chelsea: “Chelsea to use chunk of £130m warchest to beat Arsenal to Alexis Sanchez replacement”
Manchester City: “Manchester City to hand Pep Guardiola a huge transfer chest for the summer” – Manchester Evening News
Manchester United: “Manchester United boss Louis van Gaal to get £150m war chest even without top-four spot” – Daily Express
Manchester United: “United Uncovered: Jose Mourinho’s £300m warchest” – Daily Express
Such are the facts…
£20m over three years (Mail)
£18m over three years (Sun)
15m over three years (Guardian)
£6.5m a year (Guardian)
£9m a year (Times)
As the papers do the sums, Dominic Fifield looks at what new faces Chelsea fans can expect to see that the Bridge:
While Conte is also pushing for the addition of Roma’s Belgian midfielder Radja Nainggolan, who is available for €35m, and further experienced defensive cover such as Leonardo Bonucci, Kostas Manolas, Kalidou Koulibaly and Antonio Rüdiger have been scouted at Juventus, Napoli and Roma respectively, where the latter is on loan from Bayer Leverkusen, it is perhaps telling he is to adopt the title head coach rather than manager. That would appear to reinforce Emenalo’s position at the club despite Chelsea’s patchy recent record on recruitment.
The Mirror says Conte will get shot of John Terry and Thibaut Courtois, replacing the latter with Southampton’s Fraser Foster. The Times points to Everton’s Romelu Lukaku making a pricey return, Edinson Cavani, Gonzalo Higuain and Artuo Vidal.
But Conte’s “top priority” (Mirror) is keeping Diego Costa. The Sun says Conte will “demand, discipline, decency and respect”. He might consider recruiting a psychologist to get Costa to fit the mould. And then order a personality transplant for the sneaky striker. But not matter because the Telegraph says Costa’s on his way to PSG.
And Conte has another pressing issue, says the Mail in the lead story “match-fix trial dogs new Chelsea boss”.
Conte’s legal team were in court in Cremona on Monday for the latest hearing of the match-fixing trial in which he is embroiled. It continues on Tuesday, when he will learn if the prosecution are seeking a fine or a prison sentence — though the latter is unlikely. Conte maintains his innocence and a decision is expected by mid-May.
If any fine is linked to his salary, you wonder what newspaper the judges will use as their source?
It represents a coup for the Arsenal academy who have traditionally not competed with the likes of Chelsea and Manchester City for the top teenage talent in Europe and beyond.
The Mail says that the deal has not yet been done:
Arsenal to complete signing of Chelsea starlet Domingos Quina in next 48 hours
The Indy then takes the Telegraph’s fact that isn’t and slips inverted commas around it:
Domingos Quina to Arsenal: ‘Gunners win race’ for teenager after he quits Chelsea
Just three days ago, the Metro told its readers:
Manchester United are clear to sign Chelsea wonderkid Domingos Quina
Two days ago the Sun said:
“Chelsea starlet Domingos Quina quits club and plans to join Premier League rival – Ace walks out on Blues with Man Utd, Spurs and Liverpool closing in”
Not deal is done until it’s done.
Wonderful work in the Daily Mail, which takes a break from appraising women’s bodies with a sneering look at Chelsea footballer Eden Hazard. Jeff Powell spotted Hazard swapping shirts at half-time with PSG’s Angel Di Maria when the clubs met in the Champions’ League last week. Powell wrote:
The tell-tale elements of that picture are the roll of blubber around the belly and the first signs of man boobs on the young Belgian who we elected as this country’s Footballer of the Year last season. At only just 25, Hazard looks as if he would be more at home propping up saloon bars along the King’s Road than kicking a ball around the pitch at Stamford Bridge.
Get a load of that bloater:
Jeff Powell is rarely pictured with his shirt off.
‘Fat’ Frank Lampard is away.
For a few hours yesterday the big talking point was England’s unexpectedly exiting win over Wales in the Six Nations rugby. But then the story broke that Chelsea’s Diego Costa had bitten someone on the BBC’s FA Cup coverage. After England had made a meal of beating a late-arriving Welsh team, the Chelsea striker was making a meal of Everton’s Gareth Bale. Well, so goes the allegation, which Costa denies.
The papers lap up the meaty juices. To the Mail this is “Costa’s Shame”, which is tabloidese for “Thank god we didn’t have to lead with the rugby”. So excited is the Mail that the Costa ‘bite’ features on two issues:
It’s all delicious stuff.
We’re awaiting a few words from David Cameron and Jeremy Corbyn to break from talking over the future of the EU, the economy, war and the planet to tell us how much sports matters and that Costa is a role model.
As it is, if you can’t tell a bite form non-bite, it can’t have been much of bite in the first place.
PS: Was it a bite? No. Gareth Bale says it wasn’t. Which makes us wonder why Diego Costa nuzzled Gareth Barry, and when being over-friendly becomes sexual harassment?
Chelsea’s former doctor Eva Carneiro wants Chelsea’s former manger Jose Mourinho to give her a public apology. She wants the public apology as part of any settlement in her employment case, reports the Guardian.
Carneiro is suing Chelsea for constructive dismissal and has a separate but connected personal legal action against Mourinho, the team’s former manager, for alleged victimisation and discrimination. The case appears destined for a full employment tribunal pencilled in for 6 June after a private mediation hearing in Croydon… did not yield a compromise over a financial package for compensation and damages.
What looked like a minor disagreement escalated. Jose’s pride had been wounded.
The doctor had been criticised by Mourinho and demoted from first-team duties after she and the physio Jon Fearn, waved on by the referee, entered the field of play to treat Eden Hazard in stoppage time at the end of a 2-2 draw with Swansea City on the season’s opening day last August. The Portuguese, manager, who was sacked by the struggling Premier League champions four months later, branded the pair “impulsive and naive”, with their actions having, in effect, left his side, already depleted, down to nine men for the final seconds.
Carneiro’s barrister, Mary O’Rourke QC, told ITV News:
“We’re not expecting a resolution today. The two sides are so far apart financially. And we want Mr Mourinho to make a public apology.”
She seeks control over Mourinho, the master media manipulator.
Rosy Smith notes in the Times:
Anyone who has even a passing acquaintance with the Portuguese notes just how proud he is. Most managers believe they are always right. They have to if they are to survive. Mourinho exists in a profession where pride is a necessity. And even by those standards, he is quite enormously proud….
Even if he knows, deep down, that he went too far with Carneiro, that he over-reacted, that he let the situation slip from his control, he is not likely to admit it publicly. That is not what Mourinho does…Instead, his approach seems to have been a relentless session of double-or-quits: not content with criticising her, he removed her from the front-line; not content with that, he banned her from the hotel. If Carneiro made a mistake, it was a minor one: acknowledging the support she had received by posting a message on Facebook. It was an entirely understandable thing to do – she is not, remember, used to being in the public eye in the way she has been – but it gave Mourinho a pretext to continue his draconian approach. She had broken the circle of trust. She could not be allowed back in.
So, about that public apology…
The Sunday Times says Chelsea have made a “shock” move to “tempt” Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino. He’s been added to Chelsea’s “shortlist” of future managers.
The Sunday Times has been informed that Chelsea officials approached representatives of the Tottenham Hotspur manager towards the end of last month to discuss the possibility of him filling the vacant position.
Shocking stuff- but not to Independent readers who read the same story back on January 26:
Mauricio Pochettino to Chelsea: Tottenham manager added to Blues wish list
It was also shocking in February, when the Daily Star reported on the rumour:
Shock of shocks…
Photo choice and caption work from the Telegraph is A++today, says @ashleyconnick
Chelsea captain John Terry has show the home shrine he keeps to his career. It’s full of trophies, England caps, shirts, bottles of man-of-the-match champagne, and what could be joss sticks (second shelf down).
He likes order, doesn’t he. The place looks like a smart changing room at an expensive health club.
Bobby Charlton was a bit more fun:
The newspapers are torn: did Manchester City throw their FA Cup tie against Chelsea, losing the match 5-1? The Telegraph says Manuel Pelligrini’s decision to field a greatly inexperienced side “backfired”. The inference is that the City manager thought an experimental City youth side could defeat the Chelsea first team at Stamford Bridge. Surely not. City came to chance their arm and gain experience for their young players.
Chelsea v City was scheduled for late yesterday, before the Manchester side play Wednesday’s Champions League match against Dynamo Kiev in Ukraine. Then City play Liverpool in the Capital One next Sunday.
City have higher priorities.
The Mirror accuses City of being the “Cup Killers”.
Pelligrini has hammered another nail into the demise of football’s oldest Cup, says the Mirror. Says Pellegrini:
“We were forced to select that team, we couldn’t play another day and didn’t have any more fit players. We knew it was a difficult chance to carry on in the FA Cup. We cannot do anything more. If we play on Saturday, it is better for us, then we play in the Champions League for England. We have six players injured and cannot take any more risks. We played against a very good team and that’s why they won.”
The Sun mocks Pelligrini’s claim that city did it for England:
Is Pelligrini wrong to claim England came first? Not entirely, no.
The Barclays Premier League claims four spots in the Champions League. Italy’s Serie A has three. That could change. Slots are allocated according to how well a nation’s sides fare in both European competitions. The Uefa club association co-efficients are:
1 Spain 85.142
2. Germany 66.749
3. England 65.034
4. Italy 60.605
5. Portugal 44.582
(Top three associations currently have four Champions League places)
The Times notes:
The Italians cut the deficit by more than half last season, thanks to Juventus reaching the Champions League final and a strong showing by Napoli and Fiorentina in the Europa League.
Should England’s representatives struggle again this year, it is conceivable that Italy might catch them at the end of the campaign – meaning England would only be able to send three teams to the Champions League in 2017/18 – though the following season is more likely.
So, Pelligrini might not be “kidding”, as the Sun puts it.
Meanwhile, Chelsea move on, travelling to Everton on March 12 – three days after they play PSG in the Champions’ League.
This is tremendous. Former Sky Sports pundit Andy Gray now works in Dubai with BeIN Sports. On those fascistic sandy wastes, Gray talks footy matters with his old Sky mucker, the absurd Richard Keys. Last week, while listening to a post-match interview with PSG defender David Luiz after the French side had played Chelsea, Keys and Gray attempted to translate the Brazilian’s words.
Gray was all barstool expert – until Graeme Souness told him that,er, Luiz was speaking Portuguese.
Transfer Balls: The Daily Star has conjured a headline to seduce fans of the five biggest Premier League clubs to a non-news story:
Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Man City and Man Utd in epic transfer fight for German whizz
Alex Harris writes:
Mundo Deportivo claim Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City and Manchester United are all in the hunt for the Schalke attacking midfielder.
The SEObot that might well be operating Harris won’t bother to follow the link. But we will. Over there we hear from one Oriol Domenech, who says Real Madrid and Barcelona are in for Leroy Sane.
Number of quotes to support his story: nil. Number of facts of any sort in either story: nil.
In other news, the Mail asks today: “Is Leroy Sane really worth £42m?”
But the clickbait-bonkers International Business Times say he isn’t, declaring in a headline: “Barcelona spy on Schalke 04 starlet Leroy Sane in Bundesliga match ahead of £28.8m summer move.”
A summer move – but to where – and for how much?
The Daily Mirror is at pains to tell its readers how good a football Angela Di Maria is. The aim is less to praise the Argentine player than it is to make his disappointing time at Manchester United look like the fault of his former manager, Louis Van Gaal. Last night Di Maria was part of the PSG side that defeated Chelsea 2-1 in the Champions League. Ben Burrows lays it on thick:
Manchester United should be kicking themselves
Whatever Louis van Gaal thinks, Angel Di Maria is an exquisitely fine footballer. Tonight in Paris the Argentine showed everyone, including his former employers, all of the quality that made him the Champions League final’s man of the match just two short seasons ago. In the hosts’ early blitz, the 28-year-old was central to everything PSG did well, which was an awful lot.
And he was tremendous thereafter too, providing the game-winning assist no less. Unsettled or homesick or whatever, he certainly looks a player United could do with right about now.
Whatever Louis Van Gaal thinks… What about what the Daily Mirror thinks?
Di Maria was, according to the Mirror, the worst PSG player on the pitch.
On the BBC, Chelsea Alan from Twickenham is worried that the soul is being “ripped out” of Chelsea. He fears the Blues are becoming “a Man City who are full of mercenaries”.
“I look at Hazard and I look at Costa and I don’t like what I see, I don’t like their behaviour,” says Alan. “I look at the team and wonder where’s the soul of it?”
Did the soul of Chelsea vanish when Roman Abramovich bought the club and tossed a billion pounds of interest-free cash at it? Those millions bought great players who won lots of cups. Is City’s soul a concern for the club’s fans who watched that brilliant homemade Old Trafford clock click the years over and over since the Citizens last won a cup – the fans who stuck with their team, waiting for the sublime moment when Sergio Aguero would score that goal to win the title on the final day of the 2012 season?
A few years back I went to a FA Cup even sponsored by Budweiser. At a Q&A session with John Barnes, a prosperous looking man asked a question. He had a broad US accent. The compere, also an American, invited him to speak. “Hey, Barnsey,” he said, “What do you think of The Blues’ chances this time?” Another journalist sat beside me muttered, “More chance than you have of recognising John Hollins.”
It was easy to see that new Blue as part of the problem, a soccer fan who’d adopted the winning club as his own. But so what if he had? This new globalised Premier League is exciting. As Gary Lineker put it after Arsenal’s Danny Welbeck had scored a last gasp winner against Leicester City, “There is nothing quite like football for filling you with joy one minute and tearing your heart to shreds the next.”
Who can blame the American for wanting in to all that emotion?
Alan the Chelsea fan you can hear in the audio above is a whiner. At one time or another, most fans are. He wants his team to win. When they don’t, he looks for the problem. Right now he wants soul. But Chelsea have only the Belgian Hazard, a player unable to recapture last season’s brilliance. Ask a fan of the once mighty Leeds if they’d swap Hazard for a local lad who can run and play a bit, who sleeps under a Leeds duvet and can give you the name of Billy Bremner’s milkman, and they’d not refuse the offer – even the player’s mother, if she were a true Leeds fan, would wish her lad well as he packed his bags.
Hazard and Costa are not hollow-eyed mercenaries here to kill the game. They’re here because football fans pay to see them play.
Fans come to see the thrilling and the unexpected. Did Chelsea look like future Champions’ League winner when they were relegated to the then second division in 1988? Was that night at an expectant Anfield in 1989, when Arsenal won the title with pretty much the last kick of the match, more or less thrilling because it was so utterly unexpected? Arsenal fans who made the journey didn’t go to see their team win; they went because something extraordinary might just happen.
And the unexpected has been happening with increasing frequency. The Economist revealed that up until December 19 2015, the Premier League had the highest number of games won by underdogs in history:
Last season’s Blues were the first team in EPL history to lead the league wire to wire: they held at least a share of first place every day from start to finish. They were often compared to the unbeaten Arsenal “Invincibles” side of 2003-04 and Manchester United’s treble-winning squad of 1998-99, albeit without emulating either feat. In fact, most gambling companies wouldn’t have offered the bet: you could have taken 250 to one for Chelsea to finish in the bottom half, or 7,500 to one for the club to be relegated. Perhaps a generous bookie might have staked a mere 1,000 to one against Chelsea dropping into the bottom six in the depths of December…
Leicester’s improbable rise and Chelsea’s unprecedented fall have certainly been the biggest shocks of the 2015-16 season. But they are far from the only ones. Plucky West Ham have beaten Arsenal (at odds of 11 to one), Manchester City (11 to one) and Liverpool (eight to one) away from home. In the last fortnight, tiny Bournemouth have vanquished Manchester United and Chelsea, whilst struggling Newcastle have beaten both Tottenham and Liverpool—combinations that according to bookmakers were respectively 3% and 2% likely. Perhaps the only predictable feature of the Premier League in 2015-16 has been the regularity with which pundits have described it as the most unpredictable season ever. According to the betting lines, 42 of 160 games (26%) thus far have been won by the underdogs; since the turn of the century, no Premier League season has ended with the unfavoured teams winning more than 23% of matches.
It’s great when your team wins. And when they win when you least expect it, it’s magic. Will Chelsea come again? Sill Spurs rekindle those glory glory days? Are Leicester on the cusp of a coruscating victory?
We don’t know. And that’s that makes the Premier League so captivating.
The Star has news of Vladimir Howard who “lost his entire memory” of last year’s season at Chelsea, when the Blues won the Premier League. “I can’t remember the title-winning season at all,” says Vladimir, who lost his memory after being attacked.
Chelsea fans watching their team this season are experiencing much the same sensation.
Big news is that China is buying up footballers, spunking even more cash than desperate foreign-owned English clubs do on mediocre foreign talent.
The Sun leads with “The Great Haul of China”. The shock news is that foreign footballers don’t come to England just for the weather and lap-dancers – they come for the cash. And China has oodles of the stuff. Can Chinese money usurp the Premier League hype factory? The Sun says Chinese club Jiangsu Suning bid £57m for Chelsea’s Oscar.
The Telegraph and Daily Star says that’s not true:
Is it £57m or is it £75m? Or doesn’t £18m matter in the ugly football meat market?
The facts are murky but the money is there. This week Alex Teixeira joined Jiangsu Suning from Shakhtar Donetsk in a €50m move. Jiangsu, coached by the former Chelsea defender Dan Petrescu, earlier invested €21.5m Ramires from Chelsea.
Jiangsu was established in March 1994. It became Jiangsu Suning F.C in 2015, when the Suning Commerce Group bought it. Suning operates about 1,600 shops in China. It has a market cap of $16.2billion.
Could China pop the Premier League bubble? Would English football fans welcome the end of the money game?
On February 1, Manchester City manager Manuel Pelligrini told the Press he’d know for ages that Pep Guardiola was replacing him next summer. That news came as shock to Chelsea fans who seeking information about their club’s next boss turn to the Daily Star and Daily Express.
Transfer balls salutes the Daily Telegraph, which declares: “Everton close in on Niasse.” That’s Oumar Niasse, the Senegal international who has now joined Everton in a £13.5m move from Lokomotiv Moscow.
What’s odd about the Telegraph’s report is that it features on the paper’s “Chelsea transfer news and rumours” page. Niasse has no links to Chelsea – he’s not one of their myriad loaned players. So why is he on the Chelsea page? Helpfully the Telegraph explains:
“What does this have to do with Chelsea?” I hear you ask. Well, quite a bit, actually.
You see, Chelsea are a team who get googled a lot, so if you have the word “Chelsea” in your headline you’ll get lots of clicks and the sweet, sweet literal fractions of pence that accompany each one. I mean, they’re googled enough to warrant a transfer blog all to themselves even though they’re not going to do anything (where’s my SJA nomination, come to think of it?). Anyhow, that means that a bunch of websites are retrospectively making Niasse a Chelsea target when reporting that Everton are going to sign him, even though they’d never mentioned Chelsea’s interest in the past.
This is how transfer deadline day reporting works. Lap it up.
Having earned clicks from Chelsea fans for that report and misleading headline, we wonder what the Telegraph has said about Niasse? Well, on January 9 this year, the paper of record stated:
Chelsea transfer news and rumours: Chelsea poised to make £15million swoop for Oumar Niasse…Whilst Manchester United prepare to launch a £40million bid to sign his compatriot Sadio Mane… Chelsea are hoping to pick up more of a bargain in signing Niasse for around half of that figure.
Having learned that £15m is about half of £40m, readers were also told that Chelsea and Tottenham wanted to sign the player. Mentions of Everton’s interest: nil.
Such are the facts in the Telegraph.
The news moves quickly – too quickly for the dead tree press. This morning, the Times leads with “Chelsea snub Terry hid for new contract”. News is that John Terry, the Chelsea captain, is to leave the club this summer when his current contract expires. He wants to stay but the club are happy for him to go.
“It’s all over,” says the Mail. “Terry’s Chelsea days finished.” It’s the “Blues boot for JT,” says the big story on the Express‘ back page. “Captain. Lever. Legend,” puns the Mirror. “Captain. Leaader. Legend, Leaving,” retorts the Sun.
But what does Terry say? “They said that when the new manager comes in, things might change,” Terry said. “It’s a no at the minute.”
So he could stay? He wants to.
This morning Chelsea have made an announcement: “John requested a meeting with the club the week before last. In that meeting he asked about the possibility of an extension to his existing contract. John was advised that while no new deal was currently on the table, that situation could change in the coming months. The club has the utmost respect for John and everything he has helped us achieve to date. He is a fantastic servant of Chelsea Football Club and a superb captain and, as such, the club will keep the channels of dialogue open.”
Stories of John Terry’s demise have been premature.
John Terry, 35, says he’s leaving Chelsea this summer. The club haven’t offered their skipper a new contract.
So he’s leaving the club he’s played for since age 14. He takes with him a haul of four Premier League titles, five FA Cups and the Champions League. He says:
“Ideally I would have loved to stay, but the club’s moving in a different direction. I couldn’t play for another Premier League club. It will be elsewhere for sure. I feel as though I’m in great nick, I’m playing great and I’ve got a couple of years to go. It’ll just be elsewhere. The club will move on. No player is ever bigger than the club. No doubt they’ll sign one or two great centre-backs.”
The best thing a non-Chelsea fan can say about Terry is that unlike many new fans who see Stamford Bridge as a stepping stone to the rugby and a nice tea, Terry hasn’t left the match before the final whistle. He stayed at the club until it not longer wanted him. He gave it his all.
Now we await his book. It should be a good read – although we also expect it to feature entire chapters in parentheses with reams of footnotes lest any word be removed from context – cultural and historical – and misinterpreted, to be used against Terry in a court of law, football phone-in or controversial handshake.
The Metro’s Jamie Sanderson spots Chelsea target Alexandre Pato on a tweet. The free paper contrives to make a story from it. Readers are told:
Alexandre Pato pictured in London ahead of Chelsea transfer
Maybe Pato has been pictured in London ahead of signing for Chelsea – but in the Metro’s tweeted phone Pato’s at Guarulhos Airport in São Paulo, Brazil.
You can find the snapshot of Mr Duck on the Globo website.
Arsenal lost 0-1 at the Emirates to Chelsea, who even without Jose Mourinho cannot lose to the Gunners. The game went Chelsea’s way when Arsenal’s beanpole defender Per Mertesacker was beaten for pace by Diego Costa. The German slid in. He missed the ball. Did he catch Costa? It’s hard to tell. The TV cameras don’t always pick everything up. But Costa made the most of it, heading to the turf and tumbling like a round cheese down a Gloucestershire hill.
Arsenal fans say Costa dived. Well, they would do. But what do the experts in the Press say?
As usual, when things happen in a rush, there was the debate about whether Costa was taken out, clipped, dangled a trailing leg or merely fell over taking evasive action. It really doesn’t matter. Mertesacker’s tackle was wild and did not allow Costa to continue his run on goal. Of course, the same could be said of a challenge made by Nicolas Otamendi on Michail Antonio during Manchester City’s match with West Ham on Saturday, and that was only judged to be a yellow card.
Mertesacker stretched into the challenge that he had to make but Costa was too quick and, in the blink of an eye, the Chelsea striker was rolling into a series of exaggerated rolls and everybody inside the stadium knew what was coming next. The referee, Mark Clattenburg, flashed the red card. He had no other option.
The German dived in, stretching out a leg to try to reach the ball, but he made contact, however slight, with Costa. The Spain forward went tumbling, rolling theatrically, his right hand touching his right knee as he fell. Mark Clattenburg had no hesitation and rightly deemed Mertesacker to be the last defender. The referee reached for his top pocket and brandished the red card.
Arsene Wenger at Post-match Press conference:
“We have 35 journalists here, I am sure you have all seen it again and analysed it and know much more about that situation that I do. I can’t comment because I didn’t know if Costa was offside or not or if Per touched him or not. I don’t know. It was of course frustrating but it is a decision and we had to get on with our job, which we did.”
The Mirror quotes him:
“Look, I have not seen it again. In the first game he got Gabriel sent off and today he got Mertesacker sent off. It’s a tackle regular or not. Did he touch him or not?”
Replays suggested minimal contact with Costa, who was nonetheless unable to hide his agony from public view, face contorted as he completed a harrowing triple roll that suggested at the very least a pair of broken limbs, possibly even that rare thing, death by ankle tap.
Chelsea FC website:
Chelsea continued to go at the Gunners and with our next foray forward came a big moment as Diego Costa was played through in behind the defence and was scythed down by Mertesacker.
Mertesacker looked across, desperately hoping for offside, desperately hoping for Laurent Koscielny to be closer, but then tired to steal the ball away from Costa, catching him. Referee Mark Clattenburg showed the red card – the fourth Arsenal have endured in the last five Premier League matches against Chelsea.
Did he dive? No.
Jose Mourinho has written a “six-page love letter to United”, says the Independent.
Sadly, we don’t get to see any extracts from the former Chelsea manager’s love letter. We just get told how respectful Jose is to Louis Van Gaal, the current Man United boss. Which sounds a lot of utter balls when you realise the Dutchman’s contract runs until 2017. If the letter exists, it is surely a pitch for the man’s job and with it his sacking.
The Indy notes:
Though many among the United hierarchy were more open to appointing the Portuguese than they were when Sir Alex Ferguson retired in 2013, the former Chelsea manager’s camp were made aware that there was a still a considerable faction at the club opposed to hiring him. The reasons are thought to range from Mourinho’s regular controversies, his style of football and his failure to nurture young talent.
The Portuguese is well aware of this thinking, and that is why he took the decision to write a lengthy document, emphasising just how much he wants the job and how he would be willing to adapt his style to meet United’s principles. They have traditionally prided themselves on playing open, attacking football, and they have always set great store on developing their own young players.
In his submission Mourinho also presented a forensic analysis of this season’s team…
Is this PR dressed as a new story – dire off the missive, leak it to the Press and see what occurs? Look out for life-size cardboard cut-outs of Jose Mourinho in the Old Trafford stands.
And are United fans so desperate they want Mourinho, a man who delivers silverware but in a caustic style of management reliant on slash and burn-out? Is Jose so desperate to get one over on Chelsea, keen to show the club where he cemented his reputation and from where he was twice sacked that it wasn’t him, it was them? Could any Chelsea fan stand to be on the receiving end of his snark and sneer, to see him lead United to glory?
Mourinho’s agent Jorge Mendes says the letter is nonsense, writing on his company’s website:
With regard to news published today in the British Press about Jose Mourinho, Jorge Mendes explained the following: “It does not occur to anyone that a coach like Jose Mourinho can write letters to clubs offering their services. It is absolutely ridiculous and totally absurd. “
Absurd. Ridiculous. But believable. This is Mourinho who once hid in a laundry basket. He wants that Man United job.
Who is the top target for the Chelsea job? The papers haven’t a clue:
Daily Express (Jan 14): “CHILE boss Jorge Sampaoli has handed Chelsea a major boost in their pursuit of him…”
Daily Star (Jan 10): “Guus Hiddink backs Pep Guardiola to be the next Chelsea boss.”
The Independent (Jan 7): “Pep Guardiola: Chelsea and Manchester City to fight for Pep…”
Daily Express (Jan 6): “CHELSEA have set their sights on Atletico Madrid’s Diego Simeone as their next permanent manager.”
Maybe Chelsea will just four mangers in one go and line them up, saving time looking for the next head coach between sackings.