The list is long as far as strange and head-scratching events go in recent Chelsea Football Club matches. There were plenty more to add to it on Saturday, but one of the more curious things was the 30-minute second-half cameo from Nemanja Matic. It's not often one sees the substitute get substituted (barring injury), and it's pretty easy to view it as perhaps unfair scapegoating against a player who had been the most crucial piece to the Chelsea midfield for the last 18 months.
That said, Jose Mourinho, who at the hour of this writing is still Chelsea manager, claims there was some logic behind the moves.
Jose says Matic is struggling for form. He brought him on as Ramires had been booked. #CFC— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) October 3, 2015
Jose says he then had to take Matic off because he needed to use Remy and didn't want to take Oscar off. #CFC— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) October 3, 2015
Jose says he likes Matic very much and his substitution should not be considered humiliating. #CFC— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) October 3, 2015
Incidentally, decisions like these are just the kind that Mourinho used to get heaps of praise for. Bold. Decisive. Unflinching. It's not like any of the three midfielders he mentions, including Oscar, had a good day today.
Unfortunately, as it stands right now, it's just another stick with which to beat the manager, the squad, the club. Dark days.