Which Is The More Boring Team – Chelsea Or Arsenal?
The supporters of Arsenal FC, in consoling themselves last weekend when they failed to defeat Chelsea FC at the Emirates Stadium in London, described Jose Mourinho’s rampaging, almost-certain winners of the EPL, as boring!
I am confused. I may no longer know what the word means, and I don’t think I am alone in that state of mind! The statement already has sparked tons of debate around the football planet.
Which would you pick as boring – a team that plays conservatively but wins trophies and championships, or the one that plays flamboyantly, entertains the crowd but forgets how to win silverware?
To the fans of the Blues that statement by Arsenal fans was the emotional outburst of people frustrated by their team’s failure to break the monotonous results of the encounters between the two great rivals in English football since Jose Mourinho became manager of Chelsea.
With Mourinho in charge Chelsea are yet to lose a single match against Arsenal in their 13 meetings since 2004. The table stands at seven wins for Chelsea, and six draws. Chelsea have also scored 21 goals against Arsenal’s six. The results tell their own clear and unambiguous story, who the boring team is.
It is not surprising, therefore, that Arsenal fans feel the way they do. Unable to understand how Jose seems to have their number, they now tamely blame it all on Mourinho’s ‘colourless, defensive style’ that bores them so much the Arsenal players go to sleep and fail to score goals every time they meet.
Mourinho’s magic works consistently and that’s why he is probably the most successful coach in the world at the moment, with a massive CV bulging with trophies and championships.
In 14 years, the ‘Special One’ has won two Champions League trophies, 7 league titles (excluding the present EPL title) in 4 different countries and 10 other domestic competitions. It is an incredible record that could not be the product of anything ‘boring’.
Trust Jose to give it back to the Gunners and to his bitter rival, Arsene Wenger. Typically, he went for the jugular.
‘Boring’, he said, ‘is not winning anything in 10 years’, referring to Wenger’s almost 10-year drought without trophies!
That was a terrible below-the-belt punch that left everyone scrambling to check and verify the statistics again. Is it really true that the great Wenger, the Professor of football, the technical genius, only has the FA Cup of last season to show for the last 10 years in charge? Unfortunately, the facts and figures speak volumes!
It is indeed a dismal record for a team that prides itself as the ‘Barcelona’ of English football, to be trying always to entertain fans with their young players and trademark possession football and not win trophies!
Arsenal FC are not your typical English football club in terms of how they play. They have been one of a few teams in the English Premiership that have tried to be different, and to deviate from the typical conservative British style of end-to-end, open play characterized by long high balls, endless running and physical duels that leave even the fans physically and mentally exhausted after most matches.
They, instead, play entertaining football with skillful individual expressiveness and ball possession, and a gradual build up with passes from defense to attack. Occasionally they remind you of FC Barcelona.
For historical purposes only, I believe it was Tottenham Hotspurs FC that started the process of adding some flair, style and colour to English football. After the 1978 World Cup in Argentina, won by the home team in a memorable encounter against Holland, the English Club shook the League and sensationally hired two of the Argentine players. It was a move that was unprecedented in English football.
Osvaldo Ardilles and Ricardo Villa ignited the then league with their artistry, their ability to hold the ball, dribble past opponents and build attacks gradually from the midfield.
Not many teams have copied the Tottenham strategy even till this day, choosing to keep their well-established English football tradition that has made the Premiership the most exciting league in the world because of its openness, its physicality, its pace, strength and total unpredictability!
Arsenal FC have been one of the few exceptions to the rule. They, because of their proximity to, and deep rivalry with Tottenham Hotspurs, hired Arsene Wenger in 1996, recruited several foreign players and started to play with panache and grace like their greatest rivals and neighbours, Tottenham Hotspurs.
A few others may have since then joined the train, including Manchester City FC!
The Gunners, under Arsene Wenger, became one of Europe’s most exciting teams to watch. Although their greatest achievement is limited to the European Cup Winners Cup victory in the early 1980s, it is surprising that they have never won the UEFA Champions League. That trophy still eludes both the team and their manager.
Can Mourinho’s Chelsea, with its armada of great foreign players, and a winning strategy and mentality that have succeeded time and time again, be truthfully described as boring?
To me, Chelsea FC are a very interesting team to watch in their carefully choreographed strategy of frustrating opposing teams!
This season it has once again worked for the team well. And with Eden Hazard, they have one of the best and most exciting players not only in the Premiership, but possibly in Europe.
Chelsea and Eden Hazard, with their ‘boring’ but winning style will be the next champions of the Premiership, and possibly of the Champions League in the not too distant future! If that is boring, I want more of it!