“If they get rid of me I won’t be going to coach Malaga. I will go to a big club in the Premier League.”
It was this quote from Jose Mourinho, said about Manuel Pellegrini in 2011, that the tabloids have unearthed this week in the timely way only they know how to, ahead of Mourinho’s first Premier League meeting with the man he attempted to belittle two years ago.
Back then, just as now, Mourinho seemed in no mood to give any credit to his Real Madrid predecessor when it came to handing out the plaudits for Madrid’s success under the Portuguese manager.
Despite Madrid claiming a record league points total under Pellegrini, it wasn’t enough to wrestle the title from an all-conquering Barcelona side, and Mourinho was quick to point out that “second place is just the first loser” when the two faced off in La Liga.
But despite Mourinho’s typical bluster, the truth is that the calm and collected Chilean is not one to enter into managerial tittle-tattle, and has duly played down all attempts to get him to respond this week.
Instead, the Manchester City manager will look to his players to respond for him, with a win (at 2/1) that would see his side leapfrog Mourinho’s in the Premier League.
A City win would also be particularly galling for Mourinho given that it would be his first ever league loss at Stamford Bridge. His home record as Chelsea boss continues to astound, with 50 league wins and 14 draws.
They’ve won all four home games this season, scoring ten and conceding just the two. It’s not taken long for Mourinho to re-establish Roman Abramovich’s club as genuine title contenders.
City, too, remain well in the mix. They looked something close to their best last week at Upton Park, with Sergio Aguero looking the potent force Mourinho will know all-too-well from his days in Spain. The Argentinian is 6/1 to score first, while Chelsea’s main goalscoring threats tend to come in the shape of midfielders these days, and Eden Hazard and Oscar can both be backed at 9/1 to score first.
Yet few would argue that either side has really hit top form just yet. Chelsea have ground out a few “ugly” results already, while City have proved worryingly fallible at times, particularly in losses away to Cardiff and Aston Villa.
It’s these weaknesses that Mourinho and his team will have analysed all week, and the truth is that the Special One rarely loses these encounters.
He may not always win them, as evidenced in the dour 0-0 draw at Old Trafford earlier this season, but he remains one of Europe’s most coveted managers for good reason – his teams produce in the big games. As a result Chelsea are well priced at 11/8 to register their first win over City in five encounters.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.