Arsenal’s strength and title ambitions were casually dismissed by Jose Mourinho who believes the Gunners are not worthy competition to Chelsea in the race for the Premier League title this season. The Special One’s remarks will surely not go down well with Gunners fans who still dare to believe that this might be the season that will finally wipe away nine years of drought. While Mourinho acknowledged that Manchester City have the best squad to challenge Chelsea, his comments about Arsenal seem far-fetched from the form currently shown by the north London side and come May, I sincerely hope that the Blues’ boss would be left to rue his words for doubting the league leaders.
Mourinho’s second coming at Chelsea has not been a perfect homecoming and he has enough problems at his current club without focusing on rival club prospects. Chelsea’s marquee strikers have been consistently struggling to score goals and it’s a shame considering the talent they have in Eto’o, Torres and Ba. The young Belgian Romelu Lukaku was right in forcing a loan move to Everton, where he is getting to regularly play and ply misery on title contenders. Mourinho’s insistence to stick with Torres and Eto’o would have denied Lukaku precious playing time in the Premier League and Champions League.
Arsenal has been comfortably dispatching opposition that other teams in the league are finding it difficult to cope with. Mourinho’s men needed the helping hand of Bardsley yesterday to claim all three points against a Sunderland side that Arsenal handily beat 3-1 in September. Mourinho has world class talent at his disposal who fail to make his first team regularly (read the club’s reigning Player of the Year Juan Mata) and still bemoans about not being able to find his best combination. Arsenal’s talent does not match up to Chelsea’s in terms of experience in winning trophies, but the Gunners do not splash out the cash just because they need to replace out of form players or just because they need self-assurance that they can buy whoever they want to. Ramsey’s stunning form this season is a fitting tribute to Arsene Wenger and the trust he has in his players. It speaks volumes about the culture of the club and makes me an immensely proud fan – a view I am sure that all Gunner fans would readily agree to.
If we look back to the closing moments of the transfer window, it was Mourinho who backed away at the last moment from lending Demba Ba to Arsenal as he believed that they would become genuine contenders by teaming up Ozil and Ba. Ironically, as it turned out, Arsenal does not miss Ba as they sit at the top of the table leading Chelsea themselves by four points.
Mourinho’s remarks about Arsenal strongly look like another page plucked from his book of mind games before Arsenal’s upcoming big match streak. In reality, the Gunners have been at the receiving end of the same type of criticism from all around them since the start of the season and will continue to do so in the coming months. Only lifting the trophy at the end of the season will shut the critics and give Mourinho a taste of the humble pie that he so needs.