Worries from the Weekend

Jose fuming as United are Mourinho’d by Chelsea

Jose was fuming after the FA Cup Final having seen Manchester United Mourinho’d by his former club Chelsea.
After all, there is only one manager that is supposed to turn up to a Cup Final, kill it as a spectacle and win it thoroughly dull fashion, right?
Although Jose Mourinho played the gentleman straight after the final whistle congratulating Antonio Conte and his staff he could barely contain himself when it came to the post-match interview saying United ‘deserved to win’ and it’s ‘difficult to win when a team plays like that’, referring to Chelsea’s tactical approach. Mourinho did make a half decent point, however, pondering what the media would have made of United playing like that and winning 1-0. Fair question, Jose and one that has been answered over and over throughout the course of the season I am sure.
Conte almost cracked a smile after the victory, telling Italian media that he has proven himself to be a “cereal winner” following a tough season in London. Antonio, it was really not the time to be bragging about winning a lifetime supply of Frosties I can assure you. The Chelsea manager went on to issue a ‘back me or sack me’ ultimatum to Roman Abramovich, pretty much saying ‘Roman, you know what I am like but at least I win stuff’.
As for the game itself, it wasn’t very pretty. United, unsurprisingly, concocted a plan that was based around stopping Eden Hazard who had Ander Herrera for company a lot of the time. It was working too, until the one moment where Herrera was not to be found loitering near the Belgian – he had passed that responsibility over to Phil Jones. That was never going to end well.
Hazard left Jones gurning in his wake and the England defender cleaned his man out in the area leading to a nailed on penalty – which bodes very well for their clash in Russia. Chelsea players, staff and fans are clearly not ones to keep themselves abreast of law changes in 2016, appealing for Jones to be shown a straight red for denying Hazard a goal scoring opportunity. Folks, it’s not as if ‘double jeopardy’ came into play last week, it’s been nearly two years now. Jones had made a ‘reasonable attempt’ to win the ball so was spared the straight red and anyway, keeping him on the pitch was surely better for Chelsea than dismissing him.
When the back four in front of him is Valencia, Smalling, Jones and Young it is no wonder that David de Gea won ‘player of the year’ once again. England fans were left hoping that the cut head that forced Jones to be subbed in the second half was bad enough for him to withdraw from the World Cup. That said, the only problem with that wish is that Chris Smalling might be the one to replace him.
United did have chances to turn the game in their direction, even with Marcus Rashford putting in the kind of shift that moves Danny Welbeck ahead of him in Gareth Southgate’s plans. Paul Pogba had a free header at goal in the second half and missed, badly. Really badly, in fact. Can we still remind the world that he cost £90m? Romelu Lukaku clearly had his mind on Russia as he had ruled himself only fit enough for the bench, something that clearly irked his boss.
The win means that Olivier Giroud has now won more FA Cups in the last few years than Tottenham Hotspur have managed in the last 50 years, which is quite cool. Mind you, he has probably won more FA Cups than many top-flight sides combined. That move to West London might still prove a stroke of genius. Anthony Martial may well have noted how well it has gone for his once-France teammate and fancy a look himself. As might Mauricio Pochettino.
One manager almost certainly making his way to London, albeit the far East of it, is Manuel Pellegrini. West Ham United, thwarted in their desire to make Rafa Benitez a Cockney, are confident of announcing the former Premier League title-winner as their new gaffer early in the week after the Chilean departed from Hebei in China. On paper, as with a lot of West Ham’s movements, it seems like a great move but, as ever, it will be fascinating to see how Messrs Gold and Sullivan manage to mess this one up.