YESTERDAY’S touchline scuffle between Arsene Wenger and Jose Mourinho was a window into the moods of both managers: while the Arsenal boss’s frustrations boiled over, the Chelsea chief was, by comparison, understandably serene.
It wasn’t hard to see why Wenger was worked up, regardless of Gary Cahill’s tackle on Alexis Sanchez. The Gunners wasted one or two chances to punish Chelsea, such as when Jack Wilshere’s first touch let him down in the box, and when the Blues get ahead they tend to be extremely difficult to break down.
Mourinho didn’t talk up the spat with his old rival afterwards – nor did he make much of Danny Welbeck’s rash challenge on Cesc Fabregas – and that is a sign of just how happy he is with his own team. He has every reason to be.
Chelsea are the best team I’ve seen this season. They have an identity, are very solid, boast quality all over the pitch and are doing the right things at the right times. Mourinho has round pegs in round holes in every position and it’s telling.
Their superiority was evident in both of their goals against Arsenal. Nobody in the visitors’ side could have produced Eden Hazard’s slaloming run to win a penalty, and there is no-one in the top flight who plays that ball for Diego Costa to score the second goal as accurately or as regularly as Fabregas.
Costa himself showed his value even before his clinical finish, by holding up the ball for Hazard to blaze over. Danny Welbeck will do well at Arsenal but he couldn’t have done that.
The contrast between winners and also-rans was clear. Chelsea have a cutting edge. Fabregas is perhaps even more crucial to them than Costa, but only an injury to the latter would make me revise my pre-season prediction that they’ll win the Premier League.
At the other end, QPR look unconvincing in every aspect and something looks seriously wrong with the mentality of their players. Working their socks off is the bare minimum fans should be able to expect, but this group is doing them and Harry Redknapp a disservice.
I wouldn’t sack Harry yet, though. He should work his players relentlessly – no days off and double sessions in training every day – until they turn it around. If he does that and by December they haven’t responded by improving results then only then should Redknapp’s future by conidered.
Trevor Steven is a former England international footballer who played at two World Cups and now works as a media commentatior.