Alan’s 2013-14 Season Diary continuedour future in a separate blog. By Wednesday it was confirmed that the injury inflicted by a foul from a Stoke player damaged Andros Townsend’s ankle ligaments and will put him out for 10 weeks as he needs an operation. It means he will miss the World Cup after all the hard work he did to get England there.
Tuesday 29 April – witnessed Real Madrid’s demolition of Bayern Munich, who were never at the races. Ancelotti completely out-manoeuvred Pep Guardiola. Talking of master tacticians, on Wednesday night Jose Mourinho’s were not enough to get Chelsea past Atletico Madrid as they went down 1 – 3 at home.
The irony was that Chelsea’s policy, like Manchester City’s of buying up all the best players even if they don’t actually want them yet to prevent other teams owning them backfired spectacularly in their faces. The young goalkeeper they have loaned out to Atletico for the past couple of seasons played a blinder to ensure they stayed down and out. What with him and Lukaku at Everton, the rich Russian must be very frustrated. It must be like having your own firework going off in your hand. No sympathies here.
Frank de Boer
By Thursday we are seeing quotes in the press from Ajax that they have been approached by Spurs for Frank de Boer. De Boer confirms it. Spurs deny it. As Tim Sherwood says, “somebody’s telling porkies”.
Saturday morning 3 May
On Sky Sports news, the interviewer presses and presses Tim Sherwood to the extent of goading him into making a controversial comment about Spurs’ alleged approach to Van Gaal. Sherwood holds it together admirably and refuses to bite. Finally going as far as to say,
What am I going to do? I’m not going to roll up and die. I’m just going to get on with my job.
Karen Brady’s diary in the Sun is always worth a read. My favourite excerpts today are from Sunday April 27,
“A few months ago Jose Mourinho accused West Ham of playing 19th century football to secure a draw against Chelsea. I wouldn’t dare offend him by saying he used similar tactics to beat Liverpool today. No it was by skilful defending and clever time wasting. Something like Arsenal used to play when they won trophies every year. So you see Jose, it works.”
Boring though, weren’t they Karen?
Mourinho is quoted in the Sun as admitting that he made a decision to stop the evolution in the style and philosophy of play…
“The team became more strategic and less intuitive because we went for results.”
He is clearly convinced the change made the difference between qualifying for the Champions League and being in with a shout of winning the Premiership with one month to go. Who would argue with that? “Don’t forget we had lots of matches this season where we produced excellent football but we weren’t the killer profile”.
Dumping your manager and going for a foreign coach doesn’t look so clever after all. Felix Magath flattered to deceive but then Fulham sink to heavy defeats. The 4 – 1 capitulation to Stoke is the last straw. Vincent Tan’s claim to the mystic powers of the colour red looks pretty silly as bad luck in game after game at crucial points costs Cardiff their Premier League place, along with, sad to say, Ole’s naive tactics.
Everton’s defeat to Man City guarantees Arsenal’s Champion’s League place and perversely gives their FA Cup final opponents Hull a Europa League place. That’ll probably guarantee their relegation next season, unless they duck out early.