21 January 2016

Dearest Guus Huddink: could you wear a Mourinho-mask, or get Clattenburg to don a Dean?

I'll admit, I'm miffed. Perturbed. Disappointed, even. Ever since Mourinho's minions managed to escape Stamford Bridge despite playing twelve against nine, I've looked forward to this one. I'd been relishing the chance to rub Mourinho's smirky, passive-aggressive face into the Emirates pitch for weeks; meanwhile, I milked the sweet ambrosia that has been Chelsea's flirtation with relegation, eagerly anticipating the chance to not only exact revenge but to do while showing your plastic fans what football should look like—no amount of bus-parking or cynical fouling or hoofing it forward would save you. And then, your sugar-daddy had to go and spoil it all by sacking Mourinho, depriving us at a chance at sweet, sweet revenge. Well, in his absence, you'll have to do.

First, a trip down memory lane. Arsenal defeated Chelsea back in August to win this season's Community Shield, only it doesn't really end Mourinho's hoodoo because, well, it's the Community Shield. We fast-forward to September when Arsenal visit Stamford Bridge. Diego Costa embarrasses c*nts everywhere by slapping Koscielny six ways from Sunday and then going to ground like an electrocuted fish when Gabriel dares to tap him in the shin. Well, you won't have a referee to bail you out, Guus. Mark Clattenburg might not be Michael Oliver, but he's certainly no Mike Dean.

I'll give credit where credit's due. Since taking over the reigns, you've avoided losing a match, which is much more than can be said for your predecessor, who specialised in losing to the extent that he saw it happen eight times from seventeen fixtures since that travesty. Since taking over, your squad have found three wins and four draws, a mighty haul indeed...until we look at your opponents:
  • Chelsea 3-1 Sunderland
  • Chelsea 2-2 Watford
  • Man U 0-0 Chelsea
  • Crystal Palace 0-3 Chelsea
  • Chelsea 2-0 Scunthorpe (FA Cup)
  • Chelsea 2-2 West Brom
  • Chelsea 3-3 Everton
Brave of you, then, to bully the likes of...well, Sunderland and Scunthorpe. One's ready for relegation to the Championship; t'other's hopeful to avoid relegation to League 2. Bully for you!

More seriously, though, it's intriguing indeed to see a Chelsea side actually having a go at scoring goals, what with those ten scored in your last four outings. It's almost enough to suggest that you have your side ready to play proper football rather than yanking the Yokohamas off the bus and hunkering down. As for your last adventure away from Stamford Bridge, let's not make too much of your ability to put three past Palace, they who haven't scored anything anywhere in their last three outings.

Your squad is circling the drain like so much spit-out toothpaste, Guus. Should you win, we'd write it off as a symbolic chance squandered. Heck, Chelsea might even climb into the top half of the—well, no; not quite. At best, you'd overtake West Brom should they lose at home to Aston Villa, sending you as high as...thirteenth.

Should you lose, well, pardon me if I wallow in the filth just a bit. Chelsea could find itself just one measly point clear of relegation with fifteen matches to play. While it's unlikely that Chelsea will actually get relegated, it is something worth salivating over, if only briefly.

Setting that salacious prospect aside, let's consider the win-win scenario. Should Chelsea win at the Emirates, should this squad of yours stave off relegation and somehow find its way into the top five, we can all enjoy the fascinating, irresistible fact that Mourinho was the problem all along. If you, Guus, can guide this gormless side any higher than eighth, we'll all know that it was Mourinho who was submarining this squad all along. You'll get credit for a resurgence if not a resurrection, and everyone else will relish the ruination of that tin-pot despot.

No matter which way you slice it, Arsenal wins.