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Is 'weak and naive' this year's 'campaign'?

Thanks, Arsene!

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One of the narratives that exists around Jose Mourinho is the idea that for his methods to be truly effective, he needs to have a conflict, he needs to set his team up to fight the forces of darkness that are gathering all around and are intent on ripping the team to shreds.  Or it could be that the forces of all that is good and holy are looking to wipe us evil dudes off the face of the earth.  Either way, it's Us and Them.  We are not ordinary men.

We've seen this action many times over the 5+ seasons that he's spent as Chelsea manager of course.  Sometimes, it's an easy sell.  Ferguson & Manchester United, Wenger & Arsenal, Rijkaard & Barcelona, Benitez & Liverpool, Pellegrini & Manchester City were regulars in the non-blue corner of the ring.  As were referees, both domestic and European.  Last year, we tried to set the media as the Big Bad, though they proved a bit more cunning than expected and deflected all that quite deftly into yet another Mourinho vs. referees and The FA "campaign".

While that campaign accomplished nothing tangible, we did win the title anyway.  Mourinho eventually admitted that he should've at least used a different word to describe things initially.  English, after all, is just his third language.  Issues with semantics can happen.

So this season we're going back to basics and, in addition, we're drawing inspiration from someone who's handled the English media and authorities even longer than Mourinho has.  Funnily enough, the Chelsea manager has apparently appropriated Wenger's "weak and naive" and is intent on getting full mileage out of it.  So say the various reports in the Telegraph, the Guardian, and just about everywhere else.  It's Christmas come early for them.

We already saw a positive variation on the weekend, when Mourinho approved of Roger East's refereeing efforts, and less than positive, though still semi-jovial variation midweek, when Mourinho pointed out Damir Skomina's big mistake to not award a penalty when Fabregas was fouled in the area not by one, but two defenders in the space of a couple seconds.  UEFA apparently might be looking into sanctions, but would they want to risk The FA's support in other matters by pointing out the hypocrisy woven into those three words?  Then again, do The FA, an organization that operates almost daily on the basis of double standards, even care?  We all know they're hugely inconsistent, and probably biased* and hypocritical — combine the hypocrisy of all football managers and you just might start approaching their level — what difference would this admission make?

In any case, get the popcorn and head-shakes and the laundry baskets and the tisk-tisk-tisks ready.

* Did you hear the one were the chairman of the commission, which decided Mourinho's fine and suspended one-match ban was an Arsenal fan?  You just can't make this stuff up.  (This part of the story is far from over, too, I'm sure.)

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