Bridge Banter: Jose Mourinho's return to Chelsea brings charisma and luck in equal weight against the Villa (From Surrey Comet)
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Bridge Banter: Jose Mourinho's return to Chelsea brings charisma and luck in equal weight against the Villa
The Blues have begun at a canter, with Jose Mourinho back on the touchline, Chelsea top of the league, and fans relieved to dispel the cloud of poison that choked Stamford Bridge last season under the Not So Special One.
Mourinho’s second reign continues one important characteristic of his first – he’s not only a charismatic leader, he’s also a lucky one.
On Wednesday night against Aston Villa, with the game finely poised at 1-1, another referee might well have sent off defender Branislav Ivanovic for leading with his elbow when challenging Christian Benteke. Kevin Friend chose yellow instead.
Inevitably, two minutes later, Ivanovic rose to head home Frank Lampard’s curling free-kick, which proved to be the winning goal.
Then, during a bizarrely long five-minute extra-time period, John Terry lifted his arm in the air in the Blues’ penalty box, and connected with the ball.
Lucky boy: John Terry's handball in the Villa box went unpunished by referee Friend SP73468
Neither Friend, nor the linesman, decided it was a penalty, leaving Paul Lambert hopping about like a livid frog.
“He reminds me of me 10 years ago, complaining about every decision,” said Mourinho afterwards, in a remark high on bravado but low on diplomacy.
The midweek victory built on the three points gained against Hull City on Sunday, a match Chelsea had sewn up in half an hour before spending the rest of the game treading water.
Mourinho is a more relaxed manager this time around, giving a terse and pithy summary of each game at the start of every post-match press conference before continuing with stream-of-consciousness replies to a handful of follow-up questions.
He has also adopted a rather ungainly squat position just in front of the Stamford Bridge dugout, which makes him look like a very large man perched on a very small wall.
Bank holiday Monday’s visit to Old Trafford will be a sterner test.
The Blues had the lion’s share of possession against Hull and Villa, but that won’t necessarily be the case against United.
Pro rata: Chelsea had the lion's share of possession against the Villans
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