Jose Mourinho walks the tightrope as Chelsea circus hits crisis point

West Ham United 2 Chelsea 1: Last season’s champions were respected but unlovable, yet now Jose Mourinho and company spread joy across the nation on a weekly basis.
Jose Mourinho walks the tightrope as Chelsea circus hits crisis point

Who would have thought it? It’s a certain kind of happiness of course. The Germans, who know a thing or two about being respected and unloved, have the word for it: schadenfreude — the pleasure in others’ misfortune.

That picture of Jose, banished to stands for yet another tirade at an official... his little glum face surrounded by joyous Hammers.

If that doesn’t bring a smile to your face, then you are not really a football fan. It is the image of the season so far.

A few days ago Mourinho complained he was “lonely” and had few friends in football. How true that was at Upton Park.

Ten times the fallen champions have turned out in Premier League fixtures this season; five times they have been beaten.

They occupy 15th place in the Premier League. No winner has made such a calamitous start to their title defence for decades, and rivals everywhere are loving it.

Suddenly Chelsea have become the circus that everyone wants to visit their town. Yet how long can this production continue? Surely its wealthy backer must pull the plug and end this particularly West End farce?

“You’re getting sacked in the morning!” the West Ham fans sang as soon as Mauro Zarate lashed the hosts in front. The Argentinian was only playing because Victor Moses had been loaned to the Hammers by Mourinho who was still on the touchline before a crazy last few minutes of the first half changed everything.

First there was the Kurt Zouma header, hooked off the line by Manuel Lanzini. Not so long ago that would have been given as a goal but the new technology ruled otherwise: a tiny sliver of ball had yet to breach the line. Then Nemanja Matic was booked for a foul on Cheikhou Kouyate, minutes later Cesc Fabregas was played through only to have his goal ruled out for offside. That was purely the call of linesman Andrew Halliday — replays differed on whether it should have stood.

Next was Matic’s second yellow, for hauling Diafra Sakho down in front of the other linesman, Harry Lennard. Fabregas and Diego Costa were booked for their part in the inevitable but now outlawed surrounding of the ref and first team coach Silvino Louro was sent to the stands for an angry exchange in a language unknown.

And Mourinho? He just gave a sardonic smile as home fans bellowed their jeers.

It soon became clear it was just a veneer. His absence in the technical area at the start of the second half was a clue and when he popped up high in the main stand, it was confirmation that words had been exchanged in the interval with referee Jonathan Moss, whose report will be eagerly awaited at FA headquarters.

Mourinho’s antics overshadowed the fact that West Ham, under the calm stewardship of Slaven Bilic, are doing rather well. They are third now having previously beaten Manchester City, Arsenal and Liverpool. Those wins were all away from home, where their counter-attacking prowess came into the fore and that was a problem in the second half as Chelsea replaced Fabregas with Jon Obi Mikel and invited them to come at them.

The 10 men deservedly levelled through Gary Cahill and looked comfortable until Bilic went for Plan B, in the shape of big Andy Carroll, who out-jumped Cesar Azpilicueta to nod in a winner with his first goal since January.

WEST HAM (4-3-2-1):

Adrian 7; Jenkinson 7, Collins 7, Tomkins 7, Cresswell 7; Noble 7 (Ogbonna 90), Kouyate 8, Lanzini 7 (Obiang 82): Payet 7, Zarate 7 (Carroll 69, 7); Sakho 7.

CHELSEA (4-2-3-1):

Begovic 6; Zouma 6, Cahill 7, Terry 7, Azpilicueta 6 (Baba 87); Matic 4, Ramires 5 (Falcao 82); Willian 6, Fabregas 5 (Mikel 45, 7), Hazard 6; Costa 5.


Jonathan Moss 7

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