Whilst always biased when writing about United, I really couldn’t get my head around the idea Chelsea were starting the season as favourites. In all the write-ups and down the bookies, Chelsea were apparently going to win the league. Why? The logic was if Avram Grant can get them to a few points away from the league title and a penalty shoot-out away from the European Cup, imagine what a good manager could do.
The Guardian was just one of many papers that pencilled Chelsea in to finish ahead of us this season.
He might not think he’s all that special, but Chelsea fans are confident that life under Luiz Felipe Scolari will be more than just so-so. Last season the Blues came within two points of the title and one shanked penalty of winning the Champions League with a manager whose methods were “25 years behind the times”. How, then, might they fare under the guidance of a World Cup winning manager?
No one else really seemed interested in the actual probability of Scolari succeeding in a European league, with all the attention going towards the fact he was a World Cup winning manager. Christ, Avram Grant could have won the World Cup with the players Scolari had to work with. Ronaldo, Ronaldinho, Rivaldo and Roberto Carlos were amongst the superstars Scolari had to pick from, before we even mention the mighty Kleberson! No seriously, who the fuck couldn’t win the World Cup with that team?
That aside, nobody seemed arsed to look and see whether previous South American World Cup winning managers made a success of their careers in the domestic leagues of Europe. I did and unsurprisingly, I found the answer I was looking for. No South American World Cup winning manager had made a success of their career in the domestic leagues of Europe, not a single one. Yet Chelsea were favourites to win the league because their new managers won the World Cup with some of the most talented footballers of the modern era!
Not much attention was paid to the fact he had five years with a supremely talented Portugal side, yet massively underperformed with them. Losing to Greece in the final of Euro 2004, when they were the host nation, losing in the semi-finals of the World Cup two years later, before only reaching the quarters in the most recent European Championships. In fact, in a career spanning 26 years, he has just 15 trophies to his name and some of them were from bloody Kuwait! What was the hype all about?
So Scolari has been sacked and Chelsea are on the look-out for a new manager. If United win our game in hand we’re 10 points clear of them.
Chelsea have a more talented squad and were undone last year only by a United team elevated by Ferguson and the league’s best player in Cristiano Ronaldo. This season, Chelsea have a canny manager of their own, while Ronaldo looks set to miss the first two months of the season for United. With the margins at the top as slim as they have been in nearly a decade, Chelsea don’t hope to win the league, they expect it. If they don’t manage it, Phil Scolari could be out of work come May.
How optimistic was that?! May? A whole season in charge? This is bloody Chelsea we’re talking about! Who knew the price of success would be so high? Probably not Roman Abramovich, unlikely so for Peter Kenyon, and certainly not for Luiz Felipe Scolari… yet another Chelsea manager used, abused and out the door.
Chelsea were our only real threat for the title this season and their decision to sack their manager now hands it to us on a plate. Cheers Kenyon, you wanker.