Dirty Diego or Dirty Sky?

February 03, 2015
The main event for the hacks at the papers this week has been the “Dirty Diego scandal”, which in case you’ve been hiding under a rock is when Costa stamped on Liverpool’s Emre Can, and later Marten Skrtel during the semi-final of the Capital One Cup. Liverpool fans were chomping at the bit (see what I did there?) to finally have something else to be sad about.
Though video evidence seems to show that Costa was not looking where he was treading, the on-going press tirade – spearheaded by Sky – have been making it their business to vilify Diego and insist he had malicious intent. It is a good example of the age-old cliché look before you leap, or perhaps don’t look, instead listen to the provocatively worded press-campaigns and hand the player a three match ban. During the game, at the time of the incident referee Michael Oliver did not even award Costa a yellow card, yet thanks to mass-media bullying “he” felt a more just punishment was deserved. Whilst the figureheads of the ever-expanding world of the popular pro-turned-pundit retirement package have decided to tweet their support of our striker, it was already too late, and Oliver felt it his duty to not listen to Chelsea’s appeal.

I’m not sure why Sky would do this as it spoiled the seeming highlight of their year, not the Champion’s League final, but game 23/38 in the Premier League. Why is this game so important? There’s no denying it is an exciting fixture as it sees the two current title contenders going head-to-head, but I don’t think it is the be-all and end-all of the title race. Is it because it features press darlings Manchester City, and everyone is willing our Chelsea to lose? I understand that it is a high profile fixture, but as I previously stated there are 38 games in a Premier League season, why is this one game so important?
With all this building up of the game, surely to help rule out the man the media love-to-hate would go against their wishes of having viewers all over the world. Surely, with the English FA having so much influence over how our game is presented internationally they would have chosen a different date where star players would not be absent at the AFCON. Ruling out our star striker would surely see the return of “boring, boring Chelsea” and to paraphrase Sunday’s papers – Park The Bus™. To me, the answer is obvious – they want us to lose.
To win against our only title rivals would have been beneficial at best, but not as make-or-break as the TV game sales seem to imply. If ‘The Sport Bible’ is to be trusted (which I don’t imagine it is) Chelsea vs. Manchester City at the Bridge was estimated to have drawn in 650 million viewers worldwide, as opposed to last years Super Bowl with 115 million viewers. This is madness!

Last year we beat all of the “big” teams home and away, but did we take home the Premier League trophy? No. If Leicester City had happened to beat Manchester United on Saturday, and “done the double” over the flailing institute of a team would it save them from relegation? Probably not. Points against big teams are beneficial, but unless you are in the final games of a close campaign, it will not win you the league. Every single game is just as important as the next, so it is just as important to beat your Leicesters as it is the “big teams”. I don’t know why all the news outlets were saying “oh *pushes nose up* this game will probably decide the league”. Well not quite… It will be interesting because one of the teams playing will probably win the league, but it will in no way decide who eventually wins.

We’ve a long way to go yet, and we really should be pushing to win every fixture, but getting a draw is not the end of the world. I could perhaps accuse Chelsea of complacency on Saturday (but I won’t, seeing as I’m new here), but then again Jose is brilliant at playing down the pressure of big fixtures. Small squad or not, you only have to look at the youth players on the bench and see how subtly disrespectful Jose was to our opponents. Think “we’re not afraid of you”. Also, I feel it needs to be mentioned that aside from the few boos and embarrassing tear-stained banners, how nice it was to see Lamps get a proper hero’s (if not welcome) goodbye.
As I said, we have a long season ahead of us and with exciting games to come against PSG and dutifully collecting our first silverware of the campaign after revenge-thrashing Spurs it looks to be a busy and tiring schedule. Up the Chels, I can’t wait!

This article was originally published on www.chelseafancast.com

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