Premier League Ponderings: Mourinho's third season blues
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Will Chelsea's team manager, Jose Mourinho, repeat old habits in his third season with the team? Only time will tell.
Diego Costa has yet to find the net, three of the top four positions are held by clubs who typically occupy mid-table, and Manchester City is comfortably holding the top position with a perfect record of four wins.
None of these are a complete surprise though. Strikers start slowly, smaller clubs punch above their weight early on and Manchester is one of the most talented squads in the league.
The real surprise in the early days of the season is Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea, who I predicted to not only defend their title, but to do so in the same fashion that saw them eight points ahead last year.
Instead, at the time of writing, the Chelsea Blues sit in 13th place, with a sparse four points gathered from the twelve on offer. At the absolute best, this weekend’s action could see them raised to 7th in the unlikely event of every team between 5th and 13th place failing to pick up maximum points.
The start to the season is the worst by a defending champion since 1995. It has analysts and fans alike confused as to how such a talented squad can falter so heavily, especially with arguably the generation’s best manager at the helm. However a look at his past career shows that the man in charge may be part of the problem.
Despite bringing success to every club he has managed, there is no better coach in the world at making enemies wherever he goes. Whether it’s down to his fractious personality or his seemingly insatiable ambition, he has never coached a singly club for more than three years.
Starting with his first stint at Chelsea, he won every domestic trophy possible. Contention over transfers and player selections marred his third season, and three games into his fourth Mourinho walked out.
Moving to Italy in 2008 to take over Inter Milan, Mourinho followed a similar pattern.
He built up a strong domestic side and secured the title, while immediately mocking his rivals to every media outlet he could. The following season would be even more successful, as Inter won the Champion’s League in addition to their domestic league and cup, securing a historic treble. Immediately following the final, he was on the move again.
Spain’s Real Madrid, widely considered the most glamourous team on the planet, Mourinho was brought in to break Barcelona’s stranglehold on Spain.
His first season was lacklustre by his lofty standards, with only a domestic cup and a semi-final appearance in the Champion’s League, but his second year saw him bring the Spanish title back to Madrid after a four-year drought.
It was in the third season that his time in Spain took a turn for the worse: he fell out with club legends Sergio Ramos and Iker Casillas and earned the ire of fans for dropping them from the team. He was also involved in an ugly eye-poking incident during a touchline brawl.
To no one’s surprise, he was off again, back to Chelsea where as he puts it, “He is loved”.
His second stint began much in the same way as his past few have, first season disappointment, a second season win and third season friction. It’s too early to ring the alarm bells just yet, but Chelsea supporters will be hoping that their manager’s past isn’t a sign of things to come.