It's a strange word, boring. Boring by definition connotes mundanity and mediocrity, a mind numbing sense of lack of direction and purpose. And yet, when it is used in football to connate a type or brand of effect that is not of the appealing sort, pundits and fans jump at the word to prompt negativity and in effect jealousy.
Jealousy because rivals are not liking a certain team succeeding. This was most apparent during Chelsea's 0-0 draw away from home at Arsenal on Sunday. A result that left Chelsea ten points clear with five games to play, requiring them to win only two more games to win the title. Such deliberate tactical planning by Jose Mourinho led critics to claim that Chelsea were doing a disservice to the league by not attempting to win in style at the Emirates. Admittedly, it was not a classic but the tactical battle was great to watch.
Mourinho is a good poker player, although his histrionics are not so on the touchline, he is one with his players who know what they have to do for him and he entrusts his players to do the job, hence why he has used a small batch of his squad in a throwback to the days of Liverpool in the 1980s with their 14 man Championship side.
Yet it does strike you as odd that Chelsea are being called boring, when they are trying not to lose. And since when has winning been boring? If Arsene Wenger was in the box seat, he would do the same thing. Remember the Invincibles of 2003/4, a great fabled team yes but a team that once it had the title claimed they struggled through the remaining fixtures to not lose, instead tamely playing football that was anything but invincible.
So while playing devils advocate you can perhaps see Wenger's point, the labelling is wrong and it is this type of football you expect of Mourinho in the sense that he is tactically astute and prepared to foresake flair for the need to succeed.
Mourinho is like New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick in that sense. Mourinho is the guy you love to hate, a guy you actually loathe to hate, but you cannot ignore the level of sustained success he has had over the years. Belichick bends the rules without breaking them, but do not forget for a defensive minded coach he had the highest scoring most dominant regular season of any team in NFL history; and Mourinho's charges have scored more goals than anyone else bar Manchester City.
But as Mourinho stated, the league is based on points won not goals scored. If you won 38 games 1-0, the thrill of victory and glory would outweigh any guilty feeling of boredom. Since when has celebrating been boring?