Liverpool can hammer home the final nail in the coffin for Jose’s Blues reign
Facing a crunch match against Liverpool on Saturday, embattled Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho must confront an adversary who condemned him to one of the most painful defeats of his career.
Jurgen Klopp, Liverpool’s new manager, was in charge of the Borussia Dortmund side who ousted Real Madrid in the 2012-13 Champions League semi-finals with a 4-1 defeat in the first-leg, dashing Mourinho’s dream of bringing the European Cup back to the Bernabeu.
The pair resume hostilities with Mourinho reported to be facing the sack if results do not improve after the defending champions slumped to 15th in the Premier League and were knocked out of the League Cup by Stoke City.
Mourinho calm about future after League Cup exit
But the Portuguese has drawn hope from their recent upturn in performances even if the results do not reflect that. “It’s difficult,” he said after the defeat to Stoke. “But it’s more difficult when you play very badly and lose, than playing well and losing.”
Mourinho then went on to praise his players. “How can [Eden] Hazard or Oscar or [John Obi] Mikel or John Terry, to say some names — I could say everyone — how can they go home with a lack of confidence? They played well. They didn’t make many mistakes.”
Reports differ as to the likely consequences of another defeat for Mourinho, but there is general consensus that his future at Stamford Bridge is on the line.
The dismissal of Klopp’s predecessor Brendan Rodgers was a stark reminder of the cost of failure in the English top flight and while the German drew his first three games, his side will travel to London on the back of a 1-0 League Cup win over Bournemouth.
Feeling Blue: Chelsea, Mourinho looking for a pick-me-up at Stoke
City will continue to attack
Manuel Pellegrini vows Manchester City will aim for another goal glut as the most prolific side in the Premier League set their sights on struggling Norwich City.
The Premier League leaders suffered a rare blank last Sunday when they ground out a 0-0 draw against arch rivals Manchester United at Old Trafford.
That was the first time City had failed to score this season and, despite picking up a useful point away to one of their title rivals, their conservative tactics drew criticism from some quarters.
However, City manager Pellegrini has made it clear he doesn’t expect a repeat against Norwich after normal service was resumed in midweek with a 5-1 win over Crystal Palace in the League Cup. “It is the way we normally play. Maybe it was an accident on Sunday that especially in the second half we couldn’t create chances,” said Pellegrini. “But it is not our style, so it was very important for the team to return to score goals.”
Boro shock Man Utd in League Cup, Klopp off mark
Arsenal look to overcome injuries, Wednesday defeat
Arsenal will bid to erase the painful memory of their embarrassing League Cup exit against Sheffield Wednesday when they return to Premier League action at Swansea City.
Arsene Wenger’s side have endured a frustrating week after the high of hitting the head of the Premier League table last Saturday by beating Everton.
The pain of that defeat to Wednesday was compounded by the loss of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (hamstring) and Theo Walcott (calf) to injury, with both players out until the coming international break which means they will also miss next week’s Champions League visit to Bayern Munich.
With Aaron Ramsey also sidelined, Wenger will be forced to turn to his fringe players including Alex Iwobi, who is in contention to make his Premier League debut on the right flank.
Wenger is keen not to move Santi Cazorla from the centre of midfield following the Spaniard’s impressive run alongside Francis Coquelin.
The 30-year-old admits he is enjoying the switch to a deeper position. “It’s a position I really like, though of course it means I’m further away from the opposing area so I have fewer chances to score,” said Cazorla. “I’m finding my best form and I’m really enjoying the new position.”
Published in The Express Tribune, October 31st, 2015.
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