Saturday April 19 2014

Jose magic gives Blues advantage

Mourinho has the character to

Mourinho has the character to withstand pressure. Agencies photo 

By Moses Banturaki

It is late for predictions so this is just me adding to what has been the bubbliest English Premier League climax in years.

With only four games to play, Liverpool, Manchester City and Chelsea are still in it with a realistic chance of being crowned Champions.
And without specific references to pedigree or the wishes of many neutrals, I am convinced that Chelsea will come out tops and here is why. Jose Mourinho is heads and shoulders above Brendan Rogers and Manuel Pellegrini when it comes to leadership and that is what you need in such circumstances. He has been here before.

If Liverpool and Manchester City are the bounding antelopes, Mourinho’s Chelsea are that predator short on speed but built for the kill. He will eat them up for tactics and gamesmanship when the heat threatens to become unbearable as it surely will over the next fortnight. To start with it is being said now that the decider is Liverpool against Chelsea at Anfield on April 27. Assuming that is the case, the circumstances favour Chelsea because I don’t expect them to concede any early or silly goals. Win this and it’s all over.

This match offers them a chance to go for the jugular and that is one invitation Mourinho’s teams hardly ever turn down.

For Liverpool, a game of this significance in front of their starved fans and inexperienced players can produce the kind of panic that almost led to a Manchester City comeback last weekend.
But in any case, in sculpting-value terms, Crystal Palace away and Newcastle at home will shape this years’ Liverpool campaign much more than Chelsea next weekend.
And the pressure is with Liverpool, who have to contend with a squad that has never won the title, save for Glen Johnson whose charm can hardly be called infectious or Kolo Toure whose knack for own goals means Liverpool would rather have him anywhere but on the pitch.
It is they who have to contend with Tony Pulis, a man they never beat at home while he was at Stoke City or Selhurst Park, a ground they are yet to harvest from in the last four attempts.
And it is they who have to face Newcastle on the last day of the season, a team whose hearts they broke in 1996 when Stan Collymore completed a 4-3 comeback and denied them their maiden title.
If football is known by its vindictive sense of humor then don’t rule out a reversal of roles.
And if you are still wondering why I haven’t mentioned Manchester City, it is because they aren’t worth it.

You see, at this stage in 2012, they started a revival from six points back that culminated in the commentator crying in his microphone as Kun Aguero won it in extra time.
A win versus the bottom-placed Sunderland on Wednesday could have started such a revival and put them within touching distance of the top with the Anfield game between those two still to come.
Instead they confirmed that money can’t buy you attitude by drawing 2-2 and in so doing handled the title to Mourhino, a man who attitude is so infectious all his troops catch it!