gave a stark reminder of just what Chelsea are missing with their 1-0 win at
Stamford Bridge - a certain Portuguese manager.
had said it was not about revenge or getting one over Roman Abramovich, and
that he did not want to ram victory down the throats of his former employers -
even though he would have been perfectly entitled to do so given the way he was
unceremoniously shown the Stamford Bridge exit door.
speak louder than words, and in the end he did not need to say anything. Abramovich
was forced to watch as his team were comprehensively beaten over two legs by
far the better team, one coached by the man he sacked two-and-a-half years ago.
And Abramovich cannot have failed to notice that the brand of football so effectively employed by the
Italian side had a rather familiar feel to it. What do you know? Inter looked
exactly like Chelsea from three years ago!
that Mourinho's Inter have been crafted from the very same anvil as his Chelsea
team were - full of endeavour, confident on the ball, skilful, proficient in
frustrating opposition, strong, athletic and well organised.
being Mourinho and Inter being an Italian side, there was also the employment
of a small measure of cynicism. Didier Drogba, himself so usually proficient in
those very same dark arts of the game, found it all too much in the end, losing
his cool and getting himself sent off. You could call that delicious irony.
Chelsea were beaten by a team better at being them than themselves. After all,
the team Ancelotti inherited is still very much Mourinho's side, at least in
terms of personnel.
fairness, Ancelotti has done his best to move Chelsea away from the Mourinho
years and has even got them playing a more attractive game, at the behest of
Abramovich. Yet as the Portuguese pointed out before the game, it was his
management, not that of his successors, that has proved the most effective and delivered
"important" silverware to the club.
Chelsea are still in with a chance of capturing the Premier League and the FA
Cup, the one trophy the owner craves more than anything - the Champions League
- remains elusive.
more it seems Abramovich's best chance of finding his own personal holy grail lay
with the man he deemed unsuitable for the job two and a half years ago.
- - -
surprises to see Steven Gerrard avoiding punishment for his apparent forearm
smash on Michael Brown. As expected, referee Stuart Attwell confirmed he had
seen the incident and deemed it unworthy of punishment and therefore retrospective
action was not required.
Nor was it
surprising that the decision caused a storm of controversy. It's an opinion
splitter, for sure, as proved by the comments on our message boards.
arguments go like this - on the one hand Gerrard got away with murder, the FA
are gutless and if it were any another player he would be facing a three-match
And on the
other, Gerrard is entirely innocent, he reacted after being on the receiving
end of some rough stuff all evening long, it was hardly a life-threatening blow
and anyway, it's a man's game, so just get on with it.
entirely sure, but with each replay of the incident, the more difficult it becomes
to side with Team Gerrard. Certainly, ED won't be getting a T-shirt
printed just yet.
What is for
certain though is that Gerrard's assault/tickle on the shoulder, deliberate or
otherwise, could not have been delivered to a nicer guy.
real previous, and has the dubious distinction of being the only man to have
managed to rub the normally placid Ryan Giggs up the wrong way, eliciting a
previously unseen retaliatory challenge from the Manchester United man back in
That and his
prominent role in the Battle of Bramall Lane in 2002, a violent spat with
former team-mate Sean Davis and a much-publicised stamp on Ashley Cole in 2006.
best, and most ironic, blot on Brown's copybook has to be the headbutt he
delivered on Liverpool's Xabi Alonso in the penultimate game of the 2007season
when playing for Fulham. Then, like on Monday, the ref took no action but the
official did not see the incident and Brown was later handed a three-match ban
after being retrospectively found guilty of violent conduct.
- - -
FOREIGN VIEW: For those left thinking that it is too easy
to get away with things following Gerrard's latest escape, spare a thought for Chinese
referee Lu Jun, who could face punishment ranging from administrative sanction
to the death penalty if found guilty of match fixing. Gulp.
VIDEO OF THE DAY: No one likes to see an adult really trying
against kids - it's all a bit too Competitive Dad from the Fast Show. But how
about when a team of adults takes on 100 kids? Talk about a level playing
field. Only on Japanese television could such an event be made possible - watch
the extraordinary match here.
QUOTE OF THE DAY: "Sometimes in football you win because
you're lucky. Sometimes you win because you are the best team. Sometimes you
win because you were the best team from the first to the last minute. That team
was my team and my players. I'm not very happy because they (Chelsea) lost. I'm
very happy because my players are happy, my supporters are happy, my president
is happy and because I worked so much for this game. As a professional, that's
the best feeling you can have. I'm not happy because my ex-players or Roman
(Abramovich) lost, or that Chelsea supporters go home sad. I'm not happy about
their unhappiness." Good to see Mourinho is as self-assured as ever.
COMING UP: We'll know the identity of the Champions
League quarter-finalists tonight after Barcelona take on Stuttgart and Bordeaux
face Olympiacos - we'll got the usual live coverage of both games along with
Newcastle v Scunthorpe in the Championship and live scoring of Exeter v Bristol
Rovers in League One. Before all that, Jim White will be filing his thoughts, presumably
on the phenomenon that is Jose Mourinho.