This weekend’s live football involves teams from London and the north west of England and both areas will have winners and losers over two days that should decide several issues including managerial departures. The Capital One Cup final at Wembley is the first showpiece match of the season and can see Jose Mourinho win his first trophy with Chelsea in his second spell at the club. In another part of the capital one particular result could see the demise of a legend.
While the Special One can celebrate at the national stadium the game could be up for Arsene Wenger if Everton beat Arsenal at the Emirates. In the fixture that matches rivals from cities 35 miles apart Liverpool can beat Manchester City at Anfield which would just about hand the title to Chelsea and result in Manuel Pellegrini being sacked. Sam Allardyce is another manager that needs a result but his West Ham side could drop points at home to Crystal Palace.
The competition formerly known as the League Cup was the first trophy Mourinho won when he first managed Chelsea. That success was a springboard to winning the Premier League twice in two years. Mourinho knows the value of winning silverware and takes the second level cup seriously. He got his reward in 2005 and ten years later he can launch a trophy winning second career at the club. Chelsea will be highly motivated to beat Tottenham at Wembley as they were humbled by them in the 5-3 defeat in the league this January.
The only two scenarios in which Jose will not win many trophies for Chelsea is if he is enticed to another club or the job as manager of Portugal becomes free. He has managed some of the biggest clubs in Europe but there is still one job I believe he craves more than any other. Despite declaring his allegiance and love for Chelsea Mourinho would walk up the motorway barefoot if he was asked to manage Manchester United.
The current Chelsea boss has said he would like to end his managerial career by coaching the national team of Portugal, the country of his birth. Fernando Santos is the current manager of Portugal after taking the job after the 2014 World Cup. He managed the Greek team that reached the round of the last 16 and he has also been in charge of the biggest teams in Portugal.
Santos will be given a European Championships at least to make his mark so the job Mourinho sees as his swansong will not be available for at least two years. He will relish Chelsea winning the Capital One Cup but the Champions League is what he wants to win most with the club. However, if he won the trophy with United he would join the two Sirs who are the only managers to guide United to win the premier European trophy.
Sir Matt Busby and Sir Alex Ferguson were the managers of United when they won the European Cup and Champions League. It would appeal to Mourinho’s sense of self importance to stand alongside two knights of the club. He also knows deep down that Chelsea are a nouveau riche club with their wealth based on the questionable resources of a Russian oligarch. United are steeped in history due to the Munich disaster, being the first English club to win the European Cup and iconic players like Bobby Charlton and George Best. Mourinho would probably swap ten Capital One Cups with Chelsea for the Champions League with United.
The Manchester club have not progressed to any degree and in some respects have gone backwards since Luis Van Gaal joined the club. He has been accused of being dictatorial and one dimensional and could get sacked if United do not qualify for the Champions League. Mourinho and Wenger would be in the running to take over and Wenger could be available if he loses his job at Arsenal. A win against Everton is essential to appease the fans who are losing patience with le professeur.
The irony is that things came to a head for Wenger after the dispiriting loss to Monaco in the first leg of their last 16 tie in the Champions League on Wednesday. Wenger managed the French side earlier in his career and learnt the basics of tactics while working in his own country. He is possibly another manager who would like to coach the national side but Didier Deschamps is doing a good job with France so that career option is currently not open for Wenger.
In December Brendan Rodgers days looked numbered at Liverpool but he has since found a pattern of play that suits the individuals at the club. He has landed on his feet thanks to the two gems that are Raheem Sterling and Philippe Coutinho and the feel good factor has been increased with return to the side of Daniel Sturridge after a lengthy injury absence. Liverpool all but won the league last season but the current version are a more cohesive unit all over the field and can cause another manager strife if they beat Manchester City at the weekend.
Pellegrini is more likely not to be in charge when City play for the first time in the league next season than still be at the club. His team were outclassed in the first half in the Champions League against Barcelona. They played better after the break but all the improvement highlighted by a goal was undermined by the lack of discipline that resulted in Gael Clichy being sent off. Its tough to beat Barcelona with 11 players but and for the second successive year City had to cope with just ten.
There have also been hints that Sam Allardyce is not safe as the manager of West Ham. If his side lose at home to Crystal Palace there will be more discontent which surfaced recently when the Hammers lost 4-0 to West Brom in the FA Cup. After a promising start West Ham are slipping down the table and the season ending injury to Andy Carroll has not helped. The Palace boss Alan Pardew knows all about disgruntled fans as he was unpopular at Newcastle before deciding to leave the club. Wenger, Pellegrini and Allardyce may not all survive more barracking over the next few days.