The Special One Walks

I've never been the biggest fan of Jose Mourinho's tactical approach to the game, but you've got to admit that he gets results. Or rather, got results. The Special One was raking in the silverware until the man with the money bags decided to get more involved with player and front office personnel decisions. With the excess baggage, the results started to slip, culminating in last season's league and continental disappointment, despite domestic cup success. They've come stumbling out of the gates a bit this season, giving money bags all the excuse he needed to pull the trigger.

So now Abramovich has installed his own man. What does this mean for Chelsea and the Premier League? The immediate impact is going to be on the big showdown with Manchester United this weekend. You've got to wonder about the mojo that the Red Devil himself, Sir Alex Ferguson, is working right now. His boys are coming healthy just as the injury bug begins to cut a swath through the Liverpool ranks and Chelsea undergoes a crisis of leadership. If I were Arsene Wenger, I'd start scratching some protective runes into the walls of the Emirates cause there may be some bad juju coming down the pike.

As for Chelsea themselves, they've appointed a man with a pretty good record in Isreali futbol and international futbol as the boss of the Israeli national team. But can he capture the imagination and support of Mourinho's core of devoted acolytes in the Blues dressing room? That remains to be seen. Personally, I think we're looking at a Real Madrid in the early Naughts situation here. Always there or thereabouts, but never winning the titles. I wouldn't be surprised to see an exodus of those core players and the assemblage of a "Galactico" style squad. I think the man with the money wants to see a team with flair and attacking panache - and we all saw how well that worked out for Real. Mark my words. Au revoir Claude Makelele, bom dia Ronaldinho! Déja vu all over again!

The other big question will have to be - where does Mourinho go now? Despite persistent Spurs rumors, I think the odds are against his staying in the English game. I think the first vacancy to appear at a "big" Spanish or Italian side will probably end up being the likely destination, though of course Big Soccer will be abuzz with Galaxy rumors. Christ - the potential for that club to implode on an even more spectacular level is astronomical - as befits the club's name. Yallop vs. Alexi, Mourinho vs. Abramovich and his minions? I don't imagine that Big Red would survive a throwdown with the Special One, though the pay-per-view options would probably command top dollar.

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