Jose Mourinho is known for knowing a trick of two in the old mind-games department, but this latest quest could be quite the cunning plan from ‘The Special One’.
With Chelsea set to meet Bayern Munich in the European Super Cup in Prague on August 30, their weekend Premier League fixture against Aston Villa will have to be rescheduled in order to accommodate the 2012 Champions League final rematch.
But instead of moving it further into the season once the Champions League group stages and Cup knockout rounds are underway, Mourinho is asking for the game to be brought forward to August 21.
Mourinho is well aware that should the Blues earn victories against Hull on the opening weekend and Villa if the game is brought forward, Chelsea could open up a six-point lead over Manchester United if they beat the Premier League champions at Old Trafford on August 26.
This would give the Blues an early psychological advantage with the new season just over a week old, and it’s something that former United right-back Gary Neville has his concerns about.
“In those Mourinho years, we’d fall too far behind to mount a challenge,” Neville admitted recently. “You don’t want to fall too far behind a Mourinho team. They have the nerve inside the club to withstand the pressure.”
Villa boss Paul Lambert may prefer to delay the game, with his side already set to meet Arsenal and Liverpool in the opening games of their campaign, though the Premier League are likely to prefer an earlier fixture, as they did last season when Chelsea moved their clash with Reading to a similar slot that Mourinho is after.