Preview: An easy challenge for Mourinho?
Steaua Bucharest will end their 2013/14 UEFA Champions League campaign rooted at the bottom of Group E. This was confirmed on Matchday 5 when they drew with Schalke 04, losing all hopes of at least qualifying for the Europa League. The Romanians will play for nothing more but pride at Stamford Bridge this Wednesday.
Manager Reghecampf expressed his frustration, stating:
“It is a pity we are in this situation. Initially I was hoping this would be an important game where we had the chance to qualify for the next round or the Europa League, but of course now the priority is the domestic league – that is not to say we will not give everything tomorrow though.
Preview: Mark Hughes to face another litmus test for Potters’ new approach
Things were never going to be the same at Britannia Stadium when Mark Hughes was officially named as the replacement of long-serving manager Tony Pulis in the summer.
Pulis was the man behind Stoke’s consistent presence in the Premier League but the approach towards the game had seemingly gotten to everyone’s nerve. Now, the club has a manager who is a pure antithesis of the former manager.
Preview: Chelsea poised to continue fine form against Sunderland
After disappointing showings in consecutive games against Newcastle United and West Bromwich Albion, Chelsea have finally returned to winning ways scoring back to back victories over West Ham and Southampton. They now face Sunderland, a side Chelsea have performed remarkably well against with the Blues having won their last eight top flight games against the Black cats.
Sunderland have seemed like an improved side under the management of Gus Poyet but are still in 19th place just one point adrift of table bottomers Crystal Palace and Chelsea will surely be looking to take advantage of their misery. The London side have an easy run of games and will be hoping to take it to their advantage by closing the gap between themselves and league leaders Arsenal. Away trips to Sunderland and Stoke will be followed by a home fixture against Crystal Palace and Chelsea will be disappointed not to pick nine points from their next three games.
Preview: Saints looking to take advantage of inconsistent Chelsea
Southampton will be looking to justify their top four credentials with a strong performance against Chelsea. The Saints have performed admirably under the tutelage of Mauricio Pochettino and have begun the new season strongly. Their antics have earned them a place in the top five and the residents of St Mary’s stadium are just two points behind Chelsea, which means that a win will allow them to leapfrog the London side into the top four.
The Saints have produced excellent performances against big teams, picking up points from matches against Liverpool and Manchester United. However Southampton failed to do the same when they clashed against Arsenal at the Emirates last time out. Even though they played admirably throughout the match, they were unlucky to concede two foolish goals courtesy of a horror from goalkeeper Artur Boruc who gifted Olivier Giroud possession in front of the goal before Jose Fonte needlessly pulled Per Mertesacker’s shirt inside the box to gift the Gunners a penalty and thus another goal.
Preview: Chelsea poised to clinch Last 16 tickets in Basel
The Blues can guarantee qualification to the next round if they are to beat the Swiss champions at their own backyard. However a victory might not come that easy keeping in mind the events which surfaced in the reverse fixture.
Chelsea took a lead in the 45th minute courtesy of an Oscar strike and Mourinho’s men looked certain to notch all three points from the match until Mohamed Salah levelled the scores in the 71st with a beautifully timed first touch shot. Streller scored another ten minutes later to hand Chelsea an unexpected loss.
Preview: Chelsea looking to get their season back on track
After dropping points in consecutive Premier League games against Newcastle and West Brom, Mourinho’s men will be hoping to make a statement when they face a struggling West Ham side. Chelsea’s season so far has been riddled with inconsistency, with their 2-0 loss against Newcastle coming at the back of triumphant outings against Arsenal and Manchester City.
In their last match against West Brom, the Blues were lucky to grab a point when they earned a controversial late penalty which was converted by Eden Hazard, but Chelsea should be aware of the fact that any more slip ups will put their place in the top four in jeopardy, with all of Manchester United, Tottenham and Everton only a point behind the London side.
Preview: Chelsea hopeful of maintaining home record at the expense of West Brom
Whereas their away record has been quite disappointing this season, Jose Mourinho’s second spell at the club has seen Chelsea once again maintaining their exemplary home record. The Blues have won all five matches they have played at home turf in the league this season, but have been able to notch all three points from only one away game.
In their last outing against Newcastle, Chelsea were humbled at St James’ Park as the Magpies strolled to a 2-0 victory. Jose Mourinho was hugely disappointed after the loss and one player who faced his wrath was Belgian winger Eden Hazard who was disciplined as a result of not being present for training on Monday. As a result the 22 year old was not included in the squad to face Schalke, but his Portuguese coach confirmed that his star player will be in contention to start against West Brom.
Preview: Blues hoping to go clear on top with a win over Schalke
A win for either side can take them to the top of Group E and forerunners to advance to the next round of the tournament. Chelsea will be vying for all three points after losing out to Newcastle in their last encounter. Jose Mourinho’s men were convincingly beaten by the Magpies and the Portuguese tactician has revealed his frustration on the uncharacteristic manner in which his side dropped points.
I’m not happy with the way we faced that match, as simple as that," he told reporters.
"Sometimes, when you win a lot of times, players forget why they win.”
Preview: Newcastle United aiming to deny Mourinho for the third time
The 2-1 loss against Sunderland last weekend still resounds in the head of Newcastle United’s club and supporters. It was the first time in nearly half a century that the Magpies had suffered successive defeats against their bitter rivals. After that demoralizing result, Newcastle took on Manchester City in the hope of reaching the 2013/14 Capital One Cup quarter-finals.
They came close to achieving their mission but Manuel Pellegrini’s side proved too tough to crack. With underperforming goalkeeper Joe Hart benched and several squad changes, Man City found a great balance in defence to deny the Magpies. After 90 minutes of action, the two teams could not be separated. Alan Pardew’s side eventually ran out of steam in extra-time, allowing Alvaro Negredo and Edin Dzeko to score without reply.
Preview: Gunners looking for first win over Chlesea in two years
Last time Arsene Wenger’s men got the better of Chelsea was back in October 2011, when a Robin Van Persie hat-trick guided the Gunners to a 5-3 victory in a scintillating encounter at the Stamford Bridge. Since then the Blues have had the upper hand scoring two wins and a draw in the three subsequent matches played between the two sides.
However Arsenal seem to be a completely different team this time around and the Gunners would be hoping to make full use of their good from. Wenger’s men have only lost twice this season, once against Aston Villa in the opening fixture and then against Borussia Dortmund in their last Champions League encounter.
Preview: Jose looking to get the better of Pellegrini again
The special one has an impressive record against his counterpart having played Pellegrini’s Malaga on a number of occasions during his time as the head coach of Spanish giants Real Madrid. Manuel Pellegrini was only once able to get the better of Mourinho’s Real Madrid in five Primera Liga meetings, but suffered heavy defeats which included a 7-0 mauling at the hands of the Castillian club in 2011 and a 6-2 defeat last season both at the Bernabeu.
Mourinho will once again be hoping to turn the home advantage in his own favour when Chelsea welcome the Citizens to the Stamford Bridge. Chelsea are at the back of a 3-0 victory against German outfit Schalke and will be hoping to keep the momentum going.
Preview: Royal Blues to settle for a point against Chelsea
The German side have had a perfect start to their Champions League campaign notching up six points from their opening two fixtures. An opening day mauling of Steaua Bucharest was followed by a 1-0 victory over Basel a fortnight later, but Schalke’s German tactician Jens Keller has admitted that he would be content with a point when his side clashes with the English giants on Tuesday.
"Chelsea are a top side with enormous quality. We have a lot of confidence from our recent results as well as our good showings in the Champions League over the past years," said Keller.
On Tuesday, Chelsea take on Bundesliga outfit Schalke 04 in their third game of the Champions League group stages at the Veltins Arena in Gelsenkirchen, aiming to edge closer to the top of their group.
Though they have not been mesmerising or spectacular so far this season, Jose Mourinho’s side is never really about the beautiful game.
Regardless of what type of displays are put in, the Portuguese has always been a result oriented man and he will be more than happy to take all three points against Schalke on Tuesday in any way his players can.
Preview: Chelsea look to extend unbeaten run at home
The Blues have won all three of their home league games this season and have also won 10 of their 13 games at home in 2013. Another interesting fact pertaining to Chelsea’s record at home is the that the Pensioners have scored twice in all of their three home league games and have conceded just once which was in their match against Aston Villa.
Chelsea currently third in the league table, come into this game at the back of a good run of form having won four out of their last five matches in all competitions. In their last outing against Norwich, Mourinho’s men scored a 3-1 victory over the Canaries. Oscar’s opener was cancelled out by Anthon Pilkington, before Eden Hazard and Willian added goal apiece to win the tie for the Blues.
Preview: A frustrated Mourinho would not accept dropping more points
Making a return to Chelsea was never going to be easy for Jose Mourinho, especially after the success he had in his first stint with the club. Claiming titles always raises expectations for the future, and having returned to Stamford Bridge, the Special One's start to the season has not gone all that well.
Chelsea is currently fifth in the Premier League with 11 points, which is four less than league leading Arsenal. Now while it is still very early in the season, dropping seven points in the first six matches could be fatal later in the season.
Preview: Mourinho looking for a positive response after defeat to Basel
The Blues lost their opening match to Basel, courtesy of late goals from Mohamed Salah and Marco Streller as the Swiss outfit stunned the English giants cruising to a 2-1 victory.
Steaua Bucharest themselves will be looking for their first points of the European campaign after being at the receiving end of a 3-0 mauling at the hands of German side Schalke 04.
Spanish star Juan Mata who had so far been a mere bench warmer under new coach Jose Mourinho has now started to feature more regularly. After playing 90 minutes in the league encounter against Swindon Town, the Spanish playmaker then featured for 45 minute against Tottenham on Saturday, a match in which he put up an impressive showing setting up the equaliser for John Terry.
Preview: London derby marked by AVB and Mourinho’s “broken” relationship
Tottenham Hotspur could easily brag about being the best team in London this season, although this might provoke outrageous comments from Arsenal fans who witnessed their team’s triumph in the North London derby about four weeks ago. However, Spurs can look upon their results with great satisfaction.
Numbers and records speak for themselves. Tottenham’s defence is enviable as it has managed four clean sheets out of five English Premier League games. If AVB has not celebrated too many goals (only five precisely) on the touchline, at least, he has created a team difficult to score against.
Having served the Special One as his right man at three different clubs, this will be the first time Mourinho and AVB will find themselves in different dug outs. Andre Villa Boas has previously assisted the current Chelsea manager during his last stint at Chelsea as well as his successful spells at Porto and at Inter Milan.
Even though the two worked along for quite some time Tottenham’s Portuguese tactician is of the belief that the relationship between the two has broken down.
"I don't lose any sleep. We had a great personal and professional relationship before. We don't have that now,” said the 35 year old.
One of the common things of these two sides is that both are teams in transition and are adapting to a new style of football under their respective managers. The summer transfer window saw both sides spend a fortune on new players. However, one has to admit that it is Andre Villas-Boas’ side that have managed to do a far better job in this period. Jose Mourinho’s side have struggled quite a lot and are far from a finished product.
Regardless, Saturday’s game will be more about bragging rights and three points. This game will be the litmus test for both managers and will also be a great chance for the two to get back each other and for one, a chance to get back at a club whose owner showed him the door so unceremoniously.
Preview: Mata set to feature in a second choice Chelsea line-up
Spanish international Juan Mata who has arguably been the blues best player of the last two seasons is somehow not good enough for new Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho who has challenged the 25 year old to prove his worth.
However Juan Mata and Brazilian defender David Luiz both of whom were not included in the Chelsea squad to face Fulham will be back in the line-up and will be out to prove their worth to their manager.