Tag Archives: Jose Mourinho

Premier League, Week 34 Game of the Week

20 Apr

Recap: Chelsea beat Manchester United by a dull score of 1-0, thanks to a goal in the 1st half by Eden Hazard. Chelsea “did what it had to do to win”, playing a very defensive 2nd half and limiting the Red Devils’ attack.

This Week:

Chelsea FC vs Arsenal FC

Chelsea FC vs Arsenal FC

Sunday, April 26th, 10am CDT, Emirates Stadium

Why this Game is Intriguing: Because these two clubs are not only the best two clubs in London, but the best two clubs in English football. Chelsea has just about sealed their fate as the winners of the Premier League, as they currently lead the 2nd place Gunners by 10 points. Even with a Chelsea loss here, it’s hard to imagine the Blues dropping points against some of the remaining opponents on their schedule, including Leicester City, Crystal Palace, West Brom, and Sunderland. Coupled with the fact that Chelsea has been knocked out of the Champions League and FA Cup, these remaining matches after the Arsenal game will be taken incredibly seriously by Jose Mourinho and company. Chelsea has a way of creating a wall (or as many call it, a bus) in front of their own final third, and it will be incredibly difficult for Arsenal to have its chances.

Other Reasons to Watch: Arsenal is gunning for 2nd place. While the Gunners have all but secured another top 4 finish and Champions League bid, they remain just 1 point ahead of 3rd place Manchester United, and 2 points ahead of 4th place Manchester City. Arsenal have had a fantastic season despite major, long term injuries to key players including Mesut Ozil, Aaron Ramsey, Olivier Giroud, the Ox, Jack Wilshire, and more. Arsenal would hate to finish 4th, because that would mean that they would have a play-in series, and thus 2 more key games to even qualify for the Champions League group stage. While it is impossible for the Gunners to overcome Chelsea in the standings, a victory over the Blues, and a victory for Arsene Wenger over arch nemesis Jose Mourinho, would do wonders for the pride in red based in North London.

Prediction: This one remains tight, and low scoring. I’ll go with 1-1 draw.

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English Premier League, Week 10 Game of the Week

3 Nov

Recap: The Manchester Derby was not nearly as high scoring as I had predicted, rendering just 1 goal from Kun Aguero in the 2nd half. United were forced to play a man down for the entire 2nd half after Chris Smalling earned 2 yellow cards for overaggressive challenges. United played extremely well given the circumstances, but it was not enough to overcome their hated rivals.

This Week: 

Liverpool FC vs Chelsea FC

Liverpool FC vs Chelsea FC

Saturday, November 8th, 6:45pm CST Anfield

Why This Game is Intriguing: Chelsea is flying high and leading the league as they continue to win under skipper Jose Mourinho. Despite their undefeated record, Chelsea’s last 3 matches have not come easy: A close 2-1 win over QPR at home, a draw at Old Trafford against Manchester United, and a 2-1 victory at Selhurst Park against London rivals Crystal Palace. Combine that with their Champions League campaign- the Blues must continue to withstand injuries and a loaded schedule in order to win the Premier League. They have the talent, depth, and motivation to achieve these goals (because they went trophyless last season)- so it will be interesting to see how they hold up come spring time.

Other Reasons to Watch This Game: Liverpool Football Club is struggling mightily, and their last 7 games have produced just 2 wins, including an ugly, thrilling win over QPR. Last week produced a heartbreaking loss at Newcastle United, where a defensive blip by Alberto Moreno in the box led to the only goal of the game for the Magpies. Italian striker Mario Balotelli has received a lot of criticism for Liverpool’s rough start- and even though he hasn’t performed well, the defense and weak midfield isn’t up to par. Missing Daniel Sturridge definitely hurts, and losing striker Luis Suarez to Barcelona, the Premier Leagues best player last season, clearly has a negative impact on the club as well. All that said, Anfield is a home ground that often inspires Liverp’ool to achieve the unexpected. A victory here, or a well fought draw is not out of the question given the fact that Liverpool are at home.

Soccahaus Prediction: Chelsea 2, Liverpool 1

English Premier League, Week 5 Game of the Week

22 Sep

Recap: Down a man, Frank Lampard scored in the final minutes against his old club for Manchester City. The 1-1 draw was an outstanding result for the Citizens as home, because it was Chelsea who dominated much of the game, and are currently the league leaders. This is a game City can look to build upon.

This Week:

Chelsea FC vs Aston Villa FC

Chelsea FC vs Aston Villa FC

Saturday, September 27th, 9am (CST) Stamford Bridge

Why This Game is Intriguing: 2 games, 2 draws for Chelsea. First against against Schalke at home in what was frantic, come from behind effort on the part of the Germans in the Champions League, and second at the Etihad in a hard fought, emotional game against Manchester City. Chelsea will look to bounce back from those results, and that shouldn’t be too hard considering they have the top goal scorer in the Premier League in Diego Costa (7), and the top assist man in Cesc Fabregas (6). As is typical with Jose Mourinho managed teams, this Chelsea squad is compact defensively, dangerous and attacking on the wings when on the counter, but not as poised or intelligent when it comes to possession. Against Schalke, unless Chelsea were on the counter, they seemed lost just passing the ball around, without much flair going towards the net.

Other Reasons to Watch this Game: Aston Villa is currently in 3rd place, having won 3 games, drawn once, and lost once. The lone loss was a blowout at home to Arsenal, the lone draw was at home to winless Newcastle, and the 3 victories came at Liverpool, at Stoke, and at home to Hull City. Gabriel Agbonglahor is a real threat going forward, as is Austrian Andreas Weiman. Fabian Delph is an incredibly athletic and intelligent midfielder, who recently made his first international appearance with the English National team. Anchoring the defense is Aly Cissokho, formerly of Liverpool, Valencia, and Lyon. American Brad Guzan is one of the best goal keepers in the Premier League, and has played sensationally thus far in the early season. Aston Villa was in real danger of being relegated last season, but already this season the club looks to be much improved.

Soccahaus Prediction: Chelsea 4, Aston Villa 1

English Premier League, Week 4 Game of the Week

15 Sep

Recap: In what was by far the most exciting game of the season, Manchester City and Arsenal drew 2-2 at the Emirates. Jack Wilshire and Alexis Sanchez scored for the Gunners, while Kun Aguero, and Martin deMichelis (who scored the game winner) were the goal scorers for the Citizens. These 2 clubs look to be true contenders, along with Chelsea, for the Premier League title. Both Arsenal and Man City open their Champions league campaigns this week against against Borussia Dortmund and Bayern Munich, respectively.

This Week: 

Manchester City FC vs Chelsea FC

Manchester City FC vs Chelsea FC

Sunday, September 21st, 10pm (CST) Etihad Stadium

Why This Game is Intriguing: Because Chelsea takes their league leading perfect record: 4 wins, 0 draws, and 0 losses to the Etihad to take on Manchester City, the defending Premier League Champions. Manchester City comes off a 2-2 draw at Arsenal, and currently finds themselves in 5th place with 2 wins, 1 draw, and 1 loss. This match against Manchester City will be, by far, the best opponent Chelsea has faced up until this point- of their 4 matches played, only 1 team finished in the top 6 last season (Everton), and 2 of the opponents (Burnley and Leicester City) weren’t even in the Premier League last season. This is a tough, early regular season matchup for the Blues, and it will be interesting to see the chess match between skippers Manuel Pellegrini and Jose Mourinho.

Other Reasons to Watch this Game: There will be a lot of talent on the field considering both of these clubs are two of the richest in world football, but if there’s one player to watch, it is Diego Costa of Chelsea and formerly of Atletico Madrid. For those who follow La Liga, it’s not a total shock to see Costa perform this well this early, considering the player scored 27 league goals (in 35 appearances) for league winners Atletico. In just 4 games, Costa has a league leading 7 goals- more than twice as many as any other player in the Premier League (several have scored 3 goals). Fellow Spanish newcomer Cesc Fabregas leads the Premier League in assists with 6, and Cesc has transitioned seamlessly back to the Premier League after a spell at Barcelona . Chelsea takes this potent attack to Manchester to face one of the most formidable defenses in world football- a group that includes captain Vincent Kompany and Argentine Pablo Zabaleta.

Predictions: Manchester City 3, Chelsea 1

English Premier League, Week 37 Game of the week

21 Apr

Recap: Arsenal beat West Ham United 3-1, and they also beat Hull City, their FA Cup finalist opponents, 3-0. Since Everton lost to Crystal Palace, yet beat Manchester United, the Gunners maintain just a 1 point lead over the Toffees for 4th place in the Premier League. With 3 games remaining for both clubs, this is set to go down the wire for the Gunners in order to maintain their Champions League streak.

 

This Week:

Liverpool FC vs Chelsea FC

Liverpool FC vs Chelsea FC

Sunday, April 27th, 8:05am (CST) Anfield

Why This Game is Intriguing: This matchup certainly lost much of its luster because of Chelsea’s shocking home defeat to Sunderland on Saturday- Mourinho’s first home defeat as a Premier League manager. Not to take anything away from Sunderland, but of all of the shocking results this year, particularly looking at Manchester United and who they’ve lost to at home this season, Chelsea’s loss to Sunderland is THE most unimaginable upset of the entire season. Jose Mourinho was quick to blame the refs, which is somewhat understandable considering the lone PK was relatively soft and undeserved- but Chelsea did not look aggressive at all on offense the entire game. Unless Liverpool drops points to Crystal Palace and Newcastle (Palace has not lost a match in 8 games), Liverpool will walk away with the title, in part due to Chelsea’s loss to Sunderland.

Other Reasons to Watch This Game: The stage is set for Liverpool. Their win against Norwich clinched the Reds their first Champions League bid since the ’09-10 season, with much more still to play for. While Liverpool will have an entire week to focus, prepare, and get healthy for this match, Chelsea travel to Madrid to face Atletico in the Champions League semi final, with the hopes of getting on the board before their home return leg at the Bridge next week. Liverpool’s goal differential is 2nd highest in the Premier League behind Manchester City, and of course the Reds are led by a combined 50 goals between their 2 star strikers in Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge. As always, captain Steven Gerrard provides consistency and poise on both the offensive and defensive ends of the field.

Soccahaus Prediction: Liverpool 3, Chelsea 2

Other Games this Week worth Watching: Southampton vs Everton, Stoke vs Tottenham, Manchester United vs Norwich, Sunderland vs Cardiff, Crystal Palace vs Manchester City, Arsenal vs Newcastle

 

English Premier League, Week 31, Game of the Week

17 Mar

Recap: I thought that the magic of White Hart Lane would be enough to catapult the Yids to a victory over their North London counterparts Arsenal. Unfortunately for them, it was Tomas Rosicky’s goal just a minute in a half into the match that was enough to seal the deal for the Gunners. The goal was class, but Spurs ought to be disappointed with their missed chances, particularly in the 2nd half.

This Week:

Chelsea FC vs Arsenal FC

Chelsea FC vs Arsenal FC

Saturday, March 22nd, 7:45am (CDT) Stamford Bridge

Why This Game is Intriguing: Because this match features 2 clubs from London who are 1st and 3rd in the Premier League standings. 1st place Chelsea is coming off a 0-1 loss to Aston Villa in Birmingham this past week, while Arsenal is flying high after beating their hated North London rivals. Not only is Chelsea coming off of a loss, but Chelsea also must play Galatasaray at home this week as they look to fend off the Turkish champs in order to advance to the round of 8 in the Champions League. Chelsea has a lot on their plate, but Arsenal still must compete in order to ensure themselves of a top 4 finish.

Other Reasons to Watch this Game: Because this game features arguably the most gifted attacking player in the league (Chelsea’s Eden Hazard) vs the best defensive player in the league (Arsenal’s Per Mertesacker). While some may label Eden Hazard as slightly overrated, I definitely don’t, as his 13 goals and 7 assists lead this 1st place Chelsea team. Is he as good as Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo?- frankly he isn’t in that conversation- but his production, consistency, and creative flair in attack are the reason why Chelsea finds itself in the position they are currently in. Anyone who has watched an Arsenal game this year will tell you that Per Mertesacker is the Gunners’ most consistent and important player. With injuries to key players Theo Walcott, Aaron Ramsey, Mesut Ozil, and Jack Wilshire this season- it has been Mertesacker who has been standing tall in front of goal the entire season- largely unscathed.

Soccahaus Prediction: Chelsea 3, Arsenal 1

Other Games this week worth Watching: Manchester City vs Fulham, Cardiff vs Liverpool, Everton vs Swansea, West Ham vs Manchester United, Tottenham vs Southampton

La Liga, Week 20 Game of the Week

17 Jan

Recap of Last Week: With Malaga playing extremely well as of late, particularly in their game against Real Madrid towards the end of December, I thought the Andalusian side would play a masterful game at home against league leaders FC Barcelona. In hindsight, there was no surprise here, as Barca continued to roll through league play despite playing some of the better teams in La Liga. Look for the Catalan Giants to be heavily favored in every game this season until they play rivals Real Madrid at the Bernabeu on March 3rd- and even then Barca very well could be expected to walk away with a victory.

This Week:

Valencia CF vs Real Madrid Cf

Valencia CF vs Real Madrid CF

Sunday, January 20th, 2pm (CST) Mestalla Stadium

Why This Game is Intriguing: In what is an odd, though hardly unusual situation- these two clubs are in the process of facing each other 3 times in the span of just 9 days. How? Tuesday, January 15th was the first of those 3 meetings, and Real Madrid won 2-0 at the Bernabeu for what was the first of two legs in the quarterfinals of the Copa Del Ray. This weekend, Real Madrid visits Valencia at the Mestalla Stadium for what is a rematch of both clubs’ first league game way back in August- the score of that game was a 1-1 draw at the Bernabeu in Madrid. Following this league game, Real Madrid again goes to Mestalla Stadium to face Valencia on Wednesday, January 23rd to wrap up the final leg of the Copa del Ray.

Other Reasons to Watch This game: What is Mourinho’s strategy heading into this league game as opposed to the Copa del Ray matches? Which does he place more importance on? As previously noted in Soccahaus, Mourinho is quoted as essentially giving up on the league title because the gap in points between Real and Barca is simply too great. Look for Real Madrid to perhaps show some different looks (and a different lineup?) in this league game as they prepare for the final Copa del Ray leg against Valencia next week. Also, and I recognize that there have been several rumors surrounding Real Madrid and the transfer window- most of which will never come into fruition. The most recent reports and rumors surround Kaka and a mutual (between the player and management) inclination to part ways in the near future. It is obvious Kaka has not lived up to his 65 million Euro transfer fee back in 2009 from AC Milan- at the same time, Kaka has not performed and has not been part of the Real Madrid regular rotation for the past couple of years. Look for the Kaka saga to hopefully and finally end in the coming weeks.

Soccahaus Prediction: Real Madrid 2, Valencia 1

Other Games This Week Worth Watching: Real Sociedad vs FC Barcelona, Getafe vs Valencia, Malaga vs Celta de Vigo, Atletico Madrid vs Levante, Real Betis vs Athletic Bilbao