14 October 2015

Dear José Mourinho: Cram it with walnuts.

Dear José—
We went into the international break enjoying your club's best imitation of used toothpaste swirling the drain. I thought that an extra two weeks of seeing you and Chelsea flirting with relegation would be enjoyment enough. However, we then enjoyed an international break in which our lads escaped injury, and we saw Alexis, Cazorla, Giroud, Ramsey, Ox, Walcott, Akpom, Gnabry, and Campbell score (oh, and van Persie albeit against his own country), and Alexis and Özil tallied assists. Now, it seems, we now get to sit back and watch you implode to an even more-embarrassing degree. Just when Diego Costa is set to return from his three-match ban, you might soon serve one of your own. Couldn't happen to a nicer guy.

To be clear, you face the looming threat of a "suspended one-match stadium ban", which would be "immediately invoked should [you] be found by an Independent Regulatory Commission to have committed a further breach of FA Rule E3 for any comment or statement to or through the media before 13 October 2016." Phew. That's a lot of words and, what's more, a lot of syllables. I'll try to distill it down to the basics: basically, if you continue to complain as you so often do, you won't be allowed to enter any stadium in which Chelsea are playing for the duration of the match.

In other words, José, you have to at least pretend to play nice for a little while. You've now been fined more than £100,000 since returning to Chelsea, and this marks your fifth FA sanction. You might point out that Arsène has escaped similar sanctions despite pushing you at Stamford Bridge just about a year ago and again for calling Mike Dean "naive" and "weak" just a few weeks ago. Here's a key difference, and one that might escape you because it does involve subtle nuances that frequently escape the megalomanical, the paranoid, the narcissistic: Arsène had a point. He may even have been in the right. Moments before Arsène pushed you, Alexis suffered a harsh tackle from Cahill, the kind that can hyperextend a knee or worse. Unlike you, José, we at Arsenal are not used to buying and discarding players like Kleenex, and so Arsène was a bit miffed at Alexis's treatment by Cahill.

As to Arsène's comments regarding Mike Dean's performance at Stamford Bridge a few weeks ago, well, we know how that turned out. Costa's provocations were blatant enough to earn him a retroactive three-match ban, all but confirming Arsène's accusations that Dean was in fact naive and weak for overlooking Costa's slaps, elbows, scratches, and chest-bumps (head-butts?) on Koscielny and Gabriel and for sending Gabriel off for his reactions to Costa's provocations.

When you then accuse that you are being "punished" because you were not awarded a penalty against Southampton (who might rightly respond by suggesting that there were two more-blatant penalty shouts that they could make...), even you have to admit that you're squealing louder than a stuck-pig. The hyperbole is intentional, José, because few managers in the history of football have glutted themselves at the trough of sugar-daddy owners as you have. You're a flat-track bully, José, and like any bully, you bray like a donkey when confronted with proof of your own cowardice.

None of this restores the three points we lost a few weeks ago or those we lost last year (when Hazard went to ground faster than, well, he went to ground so fast that I can't compare to anything that does so faster), but it does suggest that there's something for us all to consider. Your methods—the mind-games, the financial doping, the passive-aggressive machinations—might pay off in the short-term. Let's be honest: in the short term, they do pay off. However, in the long term, those same methods are exposed for what they really are.

So Southampton got away with might have been a penalty awarded to Chelsea? Have you noticed the gulf in class between your squad and theirs? They're polar opposites. Southampton sell and sell and sell again in the hopes of reloading from their academy. Chelsea buy and buy and buy in the desperate fear that they can cow their opponents into submission. When it fails, José, you look like you've lost a game of strip-poker to The Emperor Who Wears No Clothes. It's unseemly. It's unsightly. No one wants to see it. In fact, the less the Prem sees of you, the better-off we'll all be.