The solutions to Chelsea’s “penalty puzzle”

Earlier this week, Chelsea’s official website published an unusual article highlighting the low number of penalties awarded to them this season (spoiler: it’s two).

Filed in the “news” section, the article was simply titled, “Penalty Puzzle,” which seems to imply a link to manager Jose Mourinho’s belief that there is a sinister conspiracy actively working against his team. Because puzzles are purposefully arranged circumstances and not the result of mere coincidence, which is something that doesn’t exist. In fact, that’s probably not even a real word.

During his Friday press conference, Mourinho discussed the article. From the Telegraph:

“Our two closest challengers in the Premier League this season, Manchester City and Arsenal, have both been awarded seven penalties, the most in the division,” said the article. “Last term the two teams that finished above us, Man City and Liverpool, were awarded more penalties than any other team bar us.

“Of course it could be that when teams have played the league leaders they have been particularly careful inside their own area. We all have plenty of recollections suggesting this is not the case however.”

Mourinho went on to say that he thinks it was “a very objective article” and “not an opinion article that can lead to discussions. It’s just the numbers.”

Every puzzle has a solution, though. And this one has several.

Solution 1: Reverse psychology
In a competitive environment, people never want to give you what you want. So to get it, you have to convince them that it’s not what you want. Instead of complaining about the lack of penalties, Mourinho must announce that he doesn’t want them. That winning the Premier League title with too many penalties would devalue it for him and that the referees’ reluctance to award Chelsea more penalties demonstrates how they hold the club to a higher standard than their rivals and don’t feel the need to help them out.

Taking this a step further, the players must also stop aggressively crowding around the officials as they ponder contentious decisions during matches and instead form an orderly queue to offer their thanks and a friendly handshake when an obvious penalty is not awarded. Fruit baskets must then be given to the officials after the match as an added show of gratitude.

Would these mind games really trick referees into thinking that awarding Chelsea more penalties is the best way to undermine them? If they’re not smart enough to appreciate the genius of Jose Mourinho, then absolutely.

Solution 2: The old switcheroo
On the off chance that the reverse psychology doesn’t work, Mourinho must take more straightforward action. Naturally this means knocking out and tying up the referee before every match and doing the job for him.

Since everyone knows that looking a referee directly in the face is how they steal your soul and doom you to a lifetime of being a ref yourself, no one will recognize Mourinho as the man with the whistle. Alternatively, he could also just cover his face with the vanishing spray to render his identity temporarily invisible.

Then, with the power to award penalties at will, Mourinho can ensure the job is done properly (i.e. exactly how he wants it done).

Solution 3: Name Vladimir Putin the club’s “match official liaison”
People tend to do what he wants for some reason. If anyone could get the club more penalties, it’s probably this guy.

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