The Offside Treble – ‘Invincible’ Chelsea wobble, Clattenburg’s poor decisions and weak excuses from Pochettino

This week Jen Offord ponders Chelsea’s unconvincing performance against minnows Shrewsbury in the League Cup, a Premier League ref’s Clatt-astrophy, and the Spurs boss’ inventive excuse for his side’s poor run of form.

The A Team

A knackered under-21 team and some injured players were a cause for concern ahead of Chelsea’s League Cup Fixture against League Two team Shrewsbury earlier this week. Suffice to say, Chelsea’s tepid 2-1 victory has done little to put rest to the concerns of Jose Mourinho, who has lamented his lack of choice for the Blues’ A Team.

Are Mourinho's men about to lose their 'invincible' status?

Are Mourinho’s men about to lose their ‘invincible’ status?

Apparently, the Special One loves a dilemma when it comes to picking his starting 11, but it’s ALL TOO EASY – he knows who he’s going to pick every week. I’m wondering how much of a hardship this is, when your starting 11 generally includes Fabregas, Shürrle and Drogba and even your B Side could be worth as much as £130m, according to the Independent.

Mourinho urged younger players to fix up, look sharp and “create problems”, like his one true love Didier Drogba, who managed a full 90 minutes against Manchester United last weekend, despite being 912 years old.

My Mistakes

It’s been a bad week for Premier League referee, Mark Clattenburg, who’s been dropped from officiating this weekend for not one but TWO breaches of protocol. And what breaches they were.

Clattenburg’s first error was to speak with Crystal Palace boss, Neil Warnock, over the phone after the club’s draw with West Bromwich. Apparently Premier League rules state that officials must actually be present when they speak with managers and must therefore not make or take calls from managers when they are away from the ground. I’m sure we can all agree what an important sounding rule this is.

Perhaps the FA could have let it go, if it weren’t for the official’s second lapse in judgement, which was to attend an Ed Sheeran concert. But it’s not Clattenburg’s musical tastes under scrutiny here, it’s the fact that he then left the ground alone to drive to Newcastle for the gig. Perhaps he should’ve waited a couple of days and he could’ve gone thirds on a taxi with Robin Van Persie and Wayne Rooney who, unsurprisingly, also have bad taste in music and were spotted at the Manchester leg of the tour. Alas I jest! I quite like Ed Sheeran, actually, and seeing a ginger lad from Suffolk snuggled up with two Premier League stars makes me feel there must be some justice in the world, after all.

Big Boys

Finally, in one of the least plausible excuses for poor form since Mohammed Al Fayed blamed Fulham’s decline on the removal of the Michael Jackson statue from Craven Cottage, Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino has this week put his team’s poor home form down to the pitch at White Hart Lane. Pochettino complained that the pitch, which is the joint-shortest in the Premier League and 6 per cent smaller than half the other Premier League grounds, is “a little bit tight” and his team’s play is just too big to be contained by it.

Spurs have lost three of their last five home games, and have form in this respect. So how come other teams, the ones beating Spurs, haven’t been crippled by White Hart Lane’s TINY dimensions, I hear you ask? Well, the answer is simple, according to Pochettino Spurs play a “positional game”. Well, not to worry, Spurs, you’ll soon be without that pointless scrap of turf, and indeed any pitch at all, hopefully this won’t have any further repercussions for your dwindling morale.

Read more from Jen Offord here!

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