K’Onyango Ochieng’ Dennis
I have not read Sun Tzu’s ‘The Art war’ but I hope to read it some day so that I join those soccer lovers who have read that famous book on war strategy. I have however read many of Mutahi Ngunyi’s political analyses in which he extensively quotes from Sun Tzu. Through his pieces, I have learnt that any victory is premised upon an elaborate, usually clever strategy. Thanks to Mutahi Ngunyi, I have learnt to see and analayze a strategy when I see one.
Through my reading of works of art, I have also read the fascinating story of the Trojan horse. There is no doubt majority of soccer lovers have read about the Trojan horse. For the benefit of the uninitiated, the plot is about the Trojan war pitting Ancient Greece against Troy. Don’t however forget that this is a story about strategy.
The Greeks had agonized for some ten years about how to end the war with Troy. They constructed an imposing wooden horse and hid a select number of soldiers in it. The Greeks then pretended to sail away in retreat and the Trojans took away their wooden horse as a trophy. Late at night, the soldiers who had hidden in the horse came out of it, opened the gates of Troy through which the Greek soldiers entered into and ambushed Troy. They fought and conquered Troy.
Chelsea’s legendary coach Jose Mourinho thinks like Sun Tzu and the Greeks while drafting his winning strategy. The EPL has just become more competitive and difficult with Arsenal defying all odds and expectations to stay at the helm after some 22 matches and City ever so menacing.
It is in this context that the imminent sale of Juan Mata must be understood. It is no longer enough to win your games. You must go the extra mile to enhance the capacity of non title rivals to upset the prospects of your real rivals.
Chelsea so far has met United over two legs and with Man U adrift of the early pace setters by 14 points and 12 points adrift of Chelsea, the Aristocracy does not see them as title rivals.
Manchester United is however yet to meet Arsenal in London in the return leg. Similarly, they are yet to meet City at Old Trafford.
Man U has a decent record against Arsenal but they cannot be relied upon to beat their perennial rivals in their current form. Of course they did earlier in the season, but betting on them to repeat the feat in London is a big gamble at the moment. Meeting Man U is a prospect that the fans of the North London team are relishing. They want revenge.
With regard to their commitments against City, many bookmakers will place a safe bet on City.
These permutations don’t work well for Chelsea and being the pragmatic individual that he is, Mourinho is not waiting for fate to favour him. After all, that fate has shown the propensity to favour Arsenal this season with the Ashburton Grove outfit somehow eking out victories in some tricky matches and somehow managing a draw in matches they were expected to lose. A case in point is the Boxing day assignment against Chelsea when fate somehow prevented the Lampard cracker from decimating poor Scheszny in goal! Miracles still happen!
It is for those reasons that Jose Mourinho is taking matters into his own hands by selling Juan Mata to Manchester United in the January transfer window. Many teams including Barcelona and PSG have shown interest in the mercurial Spanish play maker and the latter are sure to beat Manchester United’s offer. However Mourinho will only do business with Man U because he needs Juan Mata in the English Premier league to bring Arsenal’s confounding march in the EPL to a halt. Arsenal will beat any other Manchester United but they certainly cannot beat a Manchester United featuring Rooney, van Persie and Juan Mata.
City took advantage of the lackluster performance by Manchester United’s midfield to beat them by four goals to one. Juan Mata is sure to correct that midfield problem and City will face a far sterner test at Old Trafford when they come visiting.
By throwing Juan Mata into the equation, Mourinho has made it certain that Manchester United will thrash Arsenal on 12th February, 2014. Similarly, they will secure a decent result against City on March first. That means that Arsenal will drop some three vital points. Similarly, City will drop either three or two points at Old Trafford. That works in favour of Chelsea.
The usual suspects will argue that Chelsea will also drop points. Granted, the Aristocracy has some difficult matches, the most important of which is the away trip to City. I am sure they will do it because the special one has a strategy for it. Arsenal will lose at Stamford Bridge on 22nd March, by which time, they will already be trailing Chelsea and perhaps, City in the EPL log! That is how Juan Mata will win the league for Chelsea without playing for them!
We’ve got the last word!