Jose Mourinho is, it's probably fair to say, not an especially popular man in some quarters. His arrogance and posturing—not to mention poking people in the eye—tends to rub people the wrong way.
However, perhaps the most infuriating thing about the Chelsea manager is that he's quite often right.
Mourinho has been saying for most of the season that Manchester City, despite Chelsea's position at the top of the table, are favourites to win the Premier League title. This even after Chelsea's 6-0 win over Arsenal at the weekend. As per Sky Sports, Mourinho said:
Man City have everything in their hands, Liverpool have everything in their hands.
Nobody plays Champions League from the top four, they have just the Premier League matches to play and we have at least two big Champions League matches to play in between.
Mourinho, of course, has a point—something emphasised by City's thoroughly convincing 3-0 win over Manchester United, a result that wasn't quite so much expected as assumed before the game.
Indeed, City managed to beat United by three goals, without ever really looking in serious trouble, without even being at their best.
Manuel Pellegrini's side were impressive in spells at Old Trafford on Tuesday, March 25, in particular during an opening 15 minutes when they perhaps should have been three goals to the good instead of just one, but they operated in third gear for much of the game, content to do just enough to repel what meagre threat United offered.
In some ways, this win should be even more satisfying to City fans than the 4-1 victory earlier in the season, or even the 6-1 drubbing back in 2011, because while those were more emphatic successes and undoubtedly better performances, this game provided irrefutable proof that not only are City simply better than United at the moment, but that they are operating on a completely different level.
So superior are City to their local rivals at the moment that the United manager is deferring to them in an unprecedented way. David Moyes said after the derby, as quoted by Sky Sports:
"I think we've played a very good side and it's the sort of standard and level we need to try and aspire to get ourselves to at this moment in time."
The most satisfying thing for Pellegrini, his players and the City fans is that this felt like a routine win for them. If you scaled down the stands around the players and changed the colours of the shirts, it could very easily have felt like a standard 3-0 victory over a team like Fulham. Not that United are as bad as the Cottagers of course, but City barely looked in any danger throughout this game, just as they would have against one of the Premier League's minnows.
"I don’t remember a clear chance United had,” Pellegrini told Sky Sports after the game, as quoted by goal.com.
He's right, and now that City are just three points behind Chelsea at the top of the table with two games in hand, it's time to recognise that Mourinho is as well.