Proving that sometimes even football leaders can make good decisions, the Premier League decided to cancel Saturday's supposed main event of Spurs vs. Chelsea and replaced it with an epic duel for the ages, one that is sure to be remembered well after the Sun winks its last life-giving ray of energy towards the Earth.
The football was going to be ever so boring anyway. AVB would've gone all-out for that crucial Soldado penalty kick or
Bale Townsend long-ranger, while Mourinho would've surely battened down the hatches and played 27-men behind the ball (but still not Juan Mata). So instead of 90 minutes of scratching at our eyeballs and venting our overreactions in tiny little comment forms, the Premier League graciously gave us the most important duel since Burr vs. Hamilton.
Both managers went through the pre-match formalities of picking a starting lineup, the chosen 22 tasked not with kicking footballs and each other but with forming a ring around the center circle and thus defining the battle arena. Unsurprisingly, Branislav Ivanovic took to this task with natural ease, the whole process reminding him of semi-repressed childhood memories of life amongst the bears.
Judging by the crowd's reactions, not many had seen or remembered the movie Gladiator or the band MUSE's entrance to their legendary Wembley shows in 2007, both of which clearly served as inspiration for the platform that rose up out of the bowels of White Hart Lane and through the circle of gods that magically appeared where the center spot used to be. Perched on top were the two combatants, their armor of egos glinting brilliantly in the improbable North London late-September sunshine as the opening bars of Dance of the Knights blared from the loudspeakers.
Mourinho, the Master, wore a helmet made from the bones of vanquished enemies. Villas-Boas, the punkish upstart, wore his best Armani model do, the metric tonne of hair gel forming an impenetrable barrier to all but batted eyelashes. Neither looked particularly bothered by all the transfixed eyes, relishing the attention like seasoned celebrities.
They quietly rose, the crowd around them now a roiling cauldron of emotion and pies, and stared each other down for what seemed like an eternity.
Then, suddenly, in a crashing fury of limbs and metal, it was all over.
Wielding the Copa del Rey trophy in one hand - already battle scarred from Bus vs. Sergio Ramos - Mourinho went for the surprise attack. AVB's high block parried with ease, the magnetized plastic of his tactics board serving as an excellent shield. Now slightly off-balance, Mourinho's left flank was exposed and vulnerable, the sharp edge of the younger Portuguese man's made-up phrases penetrating the older's armor with the ease and precision of a crysknife. Ashley Cole let out a small cry and covered his eyes in horror.
Enraged at the sight of his own blood, Mourinho banged on the Chelsea badge above his heart. Discarding the useless Copa del Rey trophy, he drew the Ferrari keys from his pocket. Holding them high towards the awkwardly-angled TV cameras, he screamed "For Roman!" and charged. AVB tried his best to defend with the classic deer-in-headlights look that he practiced so often at Chelsea, but it was too late. As the blows rained down, he realized that he once again failed to beat his former employers.
White Hart Lane sat in stunned silence. Somewhere, Juan Mata was clapping. The sun was still shining and winter was not coming.
It was glorious.