Champions League

Champions League Preview

20 Apr , 2014  

Diego Costa

Preview of the Champions League semi-finals

Atletico Madrid v Chelsea – Tuesday, 7:45pm (Irish time)

Atletico Madrid, this seasons surprise package – both in La Liga and on the continent – welcome Chelsea to the Vicente Calderon on Tuesday night.  Chelsea come into this game on the back of their first ever league defeat at Stamford Bridge under Mourinho.  That defeat came on Saturday against the team rooted to the bottom of the table, Sunderland.  Atletico Madrid beat relegation-threatened Elche 2-0 on Friday night in La Liga. More…

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English Premier League

Mourinho’s woes

20 Mar , 2014  

Eto'o celebrates with Oscar and Azpilicueta

Mourinho’s woes

At 1:15pm on Tuesday, Jose Mourinho faced the media in Istanbul.  He was accompanied by Petr Cech, one of the original spine of his Chelsea team.  Flanking them on either side was a Turkish language interpreter and the Chelsea press officer.  Cech faced his questions first; very run-of-the-mill stuff about the upcoming game against Galatasaray – all answered positively and professionally by the Chelsea goalkeeper.  When Cech’s questions finished he almost fell over his chair as he looked to make a sharp exit.  This was to be Mourinho’s first time facing the media since he was recorded voicing his concerns regarding his strike-force.  In the thought-to-be private conversation Mourinho joked that Samuel Eto’o may be three years older than they think.  He also stated that they have no strikers and expressed his wishes to sign Radamel Falcao.  How this will effect team morale and the performances of his strikers remains to be seen.  They have not exactly been in scintillating form this season anyway.
 
Mourinho was asked if he was embarrassed that the recording had come to light.  The “Special One” immediately went on the offensive, saying that the media world should be embarrassed for going against all their ethical guidelines in publishing what was thought to be an off-the-record conversation.  If only Torres, Eto’o or Ba had displayed this type of cutting edge up front for Chelsea this season this issue may not have raised its head.
 
The fantastic Eden Hazard is Chelsea’s top scorer with fifteen goals in all competitions, followed by midfielder Oscar, on nine goals.  Eto’o has eight goals and Torres seven, not exactly the form you would expect from possible title-winning strikers.  Demba Ba has struggled with injury for much of the season, managing only three goals.
 
At the start of the season Fernando Torres looked sharp and people felt that maybe Mourinho had been the man needed to help “El Nino” return to his pre-2010 form.  This proved another false dawn in the Spaniard’s career.  Torres may be in fine physical condition but he has lost the belief and confidence in himself that is vital to any strikers game.
 
Samuel Eto’o was brought to Stamford Bridge by Mourinho last summer.  The Cameroon legend is used to being the focal point in attack for Mourinho’s style from his Inter Milan days.  Despite some flashes of instinctive finishing however Eto’o is clearly well past his best.  Don’t be surprised to see him shown the exit as early as this summer.
 
Romelu Lukaku doesn’t seem to feature in Mourinho’s future plans.  He started the season very well for Everton.  Even though he had gone off the boil shortly before his injury Lukaku is a very exciting young talent with a wealth of Premier League experience already under his belt.  Mourinho does seem to let stubbornness get in the way of decision-making at times.  This may lead to Lukaku never getting a proper chance at Chelsea during his tenure, just like Juan Mata.  The more the media get at him about a certain player, the more Mourinho digs his heels in and refuses to change his mind.
 
Radamel Falcao is who Mourinho wants, as evidenced by that same recording on Canal Plus.  Falcao got injured in January and is struggling to get back in time for the World Cup.  He only joined AS Monaco last summer but the reality of the poor standard in Ligue 1 may well have hit him by now.  Judging by Falcao’s decision to move to the tax-haven that is Monaco in the first place it seems that when money-talks Falcao listens.  Abramovich’s endless funds will ensure that Falcao will be lured to London if fully fit.

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