How long would Mourinho and Chelsea's second honeymoon last if the manager could not restore the heights of his first reign? Abramovich will want the right kind of headlines...
It's easy to mock Arsenal for being happy with fourth, but Nick Miller says the enormous changes coming up at the top mean there is a genuine reason to celebrate...
It is a modern curiosity that Wayne Rooney is not given the credit he deserves. Selfless, prolific, disciplined, Rooney's imperious club presence often passes beneath the radar.
Timing is everything and there were plenty laughing and pointing at those words - written by the Sunday Mirror's Andy Dunn in the build-up to Sunday's visit to Swansea - when Rooney produced a performance at the Liberty Stadium that would not have passed under the most rudimentary of radars. He was wasteful, hesitant, predictable and sluggish.
Other players have games when they are wasteful, hesitant, predictable and sluggish. There are no players who are - and we will borrow Dunn's adjective here - imperious in every single game. And yet, there is no other player in the English game whose poor form triggers quite so much glee as Rooney. Fernando Torres might come close but there's a decent smattering of pity to dilute the glee when he has a bad game. With Rooney, there's a joyful outbreak of 'I always said he was rubbish' along with tres amusing comments about his weight and hairline.
But he's not rubbish, is he? He's not even average. He's a very good Premier League player who has patches of being exceptional, patches of being merely decent and the occasional game (usually for England) when he looks like his brain has never met his feet. Yet the exceptional patches are treated with suspicion and the rest as proof that he 'isn't as good as he thinks he is'. That's a particularly English critique levelled at just about anybody (Rooney, Frank Lampard, Andy Murray, Ed Sheeran) enjoying a degree of success, regardless of whether they have ever actually expressed an opinion about their own supposed genius.
So what fuels this schadenfreude? The facile answer is to say 'because he's Man United' but it clearly goes deeper than merely club loyalties. People disliked Ronaldo but there was a grudging respect you rarely see for Rooney amongst non-United fans. The answer probably lies in that opening paragraph - and others like it - from English journalists who insist on crowbarring Rooney into the same bracket as Ronaldo and Lionel Messi. The thrust of Dunn's argument is that Sir Alex Ferguson would not swap either for his 'Wayne man'. Sensible folk know that is pure nonsense and yet some still resent the player for a comparison he never made.
Rooney was pretty rotten against Swansea but so was Antonio Valencia, while the defending for Michu's equaliser was amateurish in the extreme. And yet it's Rooney's name that dominated talk on Sunday afternoon before Ferguson saved his blushes with an allegation of attempted murder against Ashley Williams. You see, the problem with Rooney is that he's nowhere near as good as some people think he is.