Taken from this evening’s Fiver, Guardian Unlimited‘s tea-time take on the world of football.
The Fiver is not in the pay of Roman Abramovich (but name the date, time and swanky hotel, Roman, and we’ll be there discussing personal terms before you can say: “I’m looking for a sumptuously-paid lickspittle”). However, it does feel obliged to defend Chelsea. Well, at least to assail their aggressors. But first, let’s hear what someone who really is a hired mouth had to say to the Blues’ detractors today.
“We have scored 14 goals in seven matches and nobody has scored more,” stat-attacked Jose Mourinho, breaking a self-imposed silence that was never going to last too long. “If somebody is boring, it is not us.” Quite right too, Special One: if somebody is boring, it’s … what passes for your challengers. Is it Chelsea’s fault that the MU Soccerdolphins perversely persist with a clunky 4-5-1 formation that DOES. NOT. WORK? Or that Arsenal think it’s exciting to sprinkle their side with midfielders who can’t tackle and forwards who don’t shoot?
Is it Chelsea’s money that’s unbalancing the Premiership or is it the fact that the other big teams have misspent theirs? The Glazerbucks could have had Michael Essien for free five years ago, but frightened him off by threatening to send him to Belgium on loan. Belgium! They went on to spend GBP3.5m on Eric Djemba-Djemba, GBP6m on Kleberson and GBP28.1m on Juan Seba Veron. And let’s not forget the GBP38496559m (and counting) they blew on signing and paying Rio Ferdinand. And was it a Chelsea double agent who advised Arsene Wenger to splurge GBP10.5m on Jose Reyes? And to avoid at all costs buying a replacement for Patrick Vieira? No, it was not.
And with two matches between boring, boring Chelsea and Big Cup-winning flair-merchants Liverpool to look forward to this week, it’s worth noting that out-of-form Chelsea midfielder Frank Lampard has scored more league goals than the European champions this season. Yes, it promises to be gruelling viewing, but is that because Chelsea probe methodically, or because Egil Olse … sorry, Rafa Benitez has told Liverpool players to act like sailors in murky fog, looking constantly to the lighthouse that is Peter Crouch?