Jose Mourinho returned to some good old fashioned mind games on Tuesday, hinting that Manchester City are the title favorites.
“I don’t think we can speak about favorites but we can say that one team is top of the league and some are a little bit far (behind).”
“But I keep thinking that all the six teams are title contenders,” he said.
“I keep saying the team with more responsibilities to win it, because their squad is quite unique (sic), is Manchester City.”
One can only assume that The Special One’s label of City being “unique” relates to the fact that the squad is packed with talent and has a market value of more than $640 million (£390m).
But does City have more talent than Chelsea such that, as Mourinho claims, they have more responsibilities to win it?
City certainly have better strikers than Chelsea with Sergio Aguero, Alvaro Negredo and Edin Dzeko a younger, more impressive trio than Fernando Torres, Demba Ba and Samuel Eto’o.
As for midfielders, the slight edge goes to Chelsea, who boast three of the most creative players in the game with Oscar, Juan Mata and Eden Hazard, one of the best defensive midfielders in the league in Ramires, a legendary goalscorer in Frank Lampard, a hard man in John Obi Mikel and other attacking flyers in Andre Schurrle and Willian.
David Silva and Yaya Toure are two of the game’s best players while Samir Nasri and Jesus Navas are both showing signs of top class but need to improve their consistency. Fernandinho has yet to meet his billing and James Milner continues to be very average while Javi Garcia and Jack Rodwell have made little impact.
Defensively, there’s nothing between the two sides. As far as center-backs go, Vincent Kompany and Matija Nastasic get the the slight nod over any combination of Gary Cahill, John Terry and David Luiz, but City’s talent takes a hit when that pairing is injured as Joleon Lescott and Martin Demichelis serve as sub-par deputies. Branislav Ivanovic and Pablo Zabaleta off-set each other and Ashley Cole, when healthy, is a slightly better option that Gael Clichy or Alexsandar Kolarov.
At keeper, there’s little doubt that Chelsea’s Petr Cech is preferable to Joe Hart or Costel Pantillimon.
Point being – Manchester City is no more “unique” than Chelsea. They’re both miles more stacked than any other clubs in the league and therefore share equal “responsibilities” to win the title.
It’s just Mourinho being Mourinho. And this time around, he has his targets sit on unnerving Manuel Pellegrini.