Jose Mourinho finally shows true colours

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Football News

It may have taken the best part of six months for Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho to remind of us the stubborn, unbreakable spirit that defined his first reign at Stamford Bridge, but before, during and after last night's crunch clash with Arsenal the Blues boss was back to something like his usual self.

Mourinho rode back into Stamford Bridge in June wanting to be called 'the happy one', promising that he had returned to English football wiser, more refined and ultimately a better coach than ever before.

With an embarrassment of attacking riches at his disposal Mourinho has consistently attempted to fit a trio of playmakers into a 4-2-3-1 system for most of the current campaign, although he did prefer to play without a recognised striker in a 0-0 draw at Old Trafford in August.

That new-found desire to try and dominate the match further forward may not have affected Mourinho's exemplary Chelsea home record, albiet with the help of a dubious late penalty call against West Brom, but it has made the Blues look more leaky than would have ever seemed possible under the Special One during his first reign.

Conceding three goals to both Stoke and Sunderland in the space of three days has probably spelled the end to any notions of a swashbuckling Chelsea effort in big matches for good, which is something Blues fans who crave success and silverware above all else should be grateful for.

Last night at the Emirates the Blues were back to a more rigid 4-3-3 with Jon Obi Mikel, Frank Lampard and Ramires protecting the back four, providing the kind of solidity and organisation that has been almost non-existent in the last six weeks.

Against a quality attacking unit in Arsenal the visitors were rarely troubled, with Lampard given license to make the kind of late runs into the penalty area he has made a fantastic career out of profiting from.

Mourinho had a gameplan which ultimately placed getting a positive result above the potential to dominate Arsenal in possession and force the issue, a tactic which may draw critics but has rarely failed the Portuguese tactician during his distinguished career across the continent.

Chelsea fans should also be delighted with the glint in Mourinho's eye as he addressed the media in his post-match press conference, a throwback to his first Premier League spell featuring jibes at fierce rival and a dry sense of humour.

For Mourinho to claim that Arsenal have a "tradition of crying" without even the slightest of irony must have grated over in North London and beyond, but it shows that the Blues boss is now relishing what promises to be the most wide-open title race and is looking for a psychological edge.

There are definitely question marks over the way Mourinho has ostracised the likes of Ashley Cole and Juan Mata, but Chelsea have barely hit top gear and sit two points from the Premier League summit heading into Christmas.

With Mourinho at the helm that should be just about enough to the make the Blues favourites to lift the title alongside Manchester City, with plenty of histrionics to follow along the way.

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