Jose Mourinho is anything but a good loser. The Chelsea boss reacted in his usual fashion to his side’s 1-0 defeat in the FA Community Shield to Arsenal by insisting that the better team had lost. In the post match interview, Mourinho explained that his side had the greater possession, initiative and looked more likely to score but Arsenal’s organisation and defensive approach eventually won the game. Alex Oxlade Chamberlain’s 24th minute powerful shot into the top corner was enough to settle the tie and hand Arsenal a mental edge heading into the new Premiership season. It’s the first time in 13 attempts for Wenger who finally gets the victory over Mourinho that he has been pining for. There is no love lost between the two coaches as they continue their ongoing spat which was highlighted by the fact that the pair refused to even acknowledge each other during or after the game, foregoing the old tradition of shaking hands after the ninety minutes is up.
Mourinho’s frustration was clear as his title-winning side failed to spark in the first main test of the new season. Coming second is nothing for Mourinho who wants to win everything , displayed as he tossed his runner’s up medal into the Arsenal fans section of the crowd at the end of the game. The Special one will play down the defeat as a non-essential competition however it will have raised a few questions about his side’s readiness for the season ahead. In particular Mourinho will be concerned that two of his key midfielders Eden Hazard and Cesc Fabregas were posted missing for a vast majority of the contest, allowing Arsenal to control the midfield and dictate the pace of the game. But its upfront that Jose will likely lose more sleep. With Diego Costa out injured, Mourinho selected Loic Remy to play as a lone striker – a move that failed spectacularly. Remy, who was acquired from QPR last summer after an impressive stint on loan to Newcastle, was rumoured to be on his way out of the club but Mourinho had a change of heart and has decided to hold on to the French striker with a view to using him as a replacement or rotation player for Costa. However based on yesterday’s performance Mourinho may be second guessing himself with Remy failing to register a single shot on goal in the first forty five minutes.
Remy was quickly replaced at half time by Radamel Falcao with the Colombian hitman desperate to prove that he can still be a success in England. Falcao’s move to Chelsea is a strange one given his poor spell on loan to Manchester United last season but Mourinho believes that he can get the best out of him. Based on yesterday’s performance, Mourinho has a lot of work to do. Sporting a new shorter haircut, Falcao looked lively and offered slightly more than Remy had in the first half creating a couple of chances. But he still looks like he is lacking in confidence and a yard short of the required sharpness needed to be back at his best. Falcao’s biggest problem last season was his lack of on field time with Van Gaal preferring to bring him off the bench more often that not. That doesn’t look to be any different at Chelsea especially when Costa returns to full fitness. However Falcao may have just edged in front of Remy based on yesterday’s performance.
For Arsene Wenger, it’s the perfect start to the new season as he looks to build a squad capable of challenging Mourinho’s side for the title. The addition of Peter Cech, ironically from Chelsea is the same as adding 6 more points to their season tally with the Czech goalkeeper likely to be more reliable than Arsenal’s other options between the sticks. However Arsenal still lack depth especially upfront with Wenger eyeing the transfer market with interest. With money to spend, the arrival of a support or main striker should happen but given Wenger’s previous transfer history, that move will not go through until the very last moments before the window slams shut. He will start the season as is with games against West Ham, Crystal Palace, Liverpool and Newcastle all to come before the window closes giving his current strike options enough time to prove their worth. The win over Chelsea will mean that Arsenal will start the season on a high with dreams of lifting the Premiership title come May next year. But Mourinho will not give up the title without a fight, after all in his own words there are no prizes for losers.
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