The rather excitable sorts that are the (English) (tabloid) journalists must be absolutely loving this; for if there's one thing they and the media at large love more than running some sort of anti-Chelsea campaign -- if you subscribe to Mourinho's theory -- it's being able to write big headlines to incite the masses. Whether it's to judge and convict Diego Costa, or to accuse Gary Cahill of diving, or to wage a short-lived crusade against clutching and grabbing in the penalty area, or simply to parrot Mourinho's minutes, the subject hardly matters. Right or wrong, who cares? Put it in bold, give us lots of pictures, forget about nuance or shades of grey. The louder, the better. Print it! Click it! Sell it!
While there were some notable exceptions -- Paul Doyle of The Guardian comes to mind (I'm not linking for your own sanity) -- most of the media were in Chelsea's corner on the Barnes-v-Matić issue. Alas, for once, The FA resisted media pressure and let Ashley Barnes off the hook. Not that it matters as we're not getting our two points back anyway. So bye Barnes; smell ya later!
What does matter is Nemanja Matić's immediate availability. As The Sun's Rob Beasley reported yesterday, Chelsea have appealed the sending off, and according to the Mail's Neil Ashton, the "independent" braintrust will meet today and their verdict is expected this afternoon. The hope is that precedence in the form of Wayne Routledge and other unpunished incidents like Emre Can's push on Diego Costa after "the stamp," in addition to supporting views from pundits like Gary Neville, will be enough to overturn the "excessive punishment" of the straight red card.
In separate action, Ashton goes on, Chelsea will also be pushing for the FA to once again amend their retrospective punishment rules. While they did amend it not too long ago, in 2013 following the Callum McManaman tackle, to allow for post-match review if the match referee didn't see the incident -- and then clarified it to always be allowable for secondary, off-the-ball incidents like the Torres-v-Vertonghen issue -- the idea that one man can be so unquestioningly infallible as to be able to properly judge every single incident he lays eyes upon is as laughable as it is naive. Especially one so unqualified, either through training or "fatigue," as Martin Atkinson was on Saturday. The FA do love their line about protecting the authority of match officials, but how can anyone respect any authority that isn't held accountable for their actions and isn't even allowed to provide at least a token gesture of reparation?