MATA HAPPY AT CHELSEA

Chelsea winger Juan Mata has said that he is happy with the 2-0 win over Arsenal in the Capital One cup. Chelsea were the visitors to the Emirates stadium in order to take on Arsenal in this competition looking for a place in the quarter-finals. The West London outfit came with the incredible record of not having lost to Arsene Wenger during the regime of José Mourinho. The record continued on Tuesday as well despite Chelsea decided to field a second string team. That second string team contained with the likes of internationals like David Luiz, Juan Mata, and Cesar Azpilicueta.

They managed to outshine Arsenal in every area of the pitch. Azpilicueta opened the scoring in the 25th minute with his first Chelsea goal. He managed to capitalise on the error from his opposite number Carl Jenkinson, who tried to head the ball back to his goalkeeper. The effort was woefully short and it allowed Azpilicueta to pounce on the mistake. Azpilicueta was signed from French club Marseille for £ 7 million last summer. This was his first goal for the club, and it delighted his compatriot Mata. The Spain international himself scored his goal in the second half to make the game safe for Chelsea.

“We tried our best as it was a difficult game because Arsenal are playing really well in the Premier League and Champions League. They will always create chances with Cazorla, Ozil or Ramsey so it was an important goal to make more distance in the result. But today I’m more happy for Cesar, to be honest. He trains more than anyone and he fully deserves the goal and the celebration more than anything,” said Mata, who has not been featuring regularly in the Chelsea first-team this season. Chelsea came into the encounter on the back of a 2-1 win over title rivals Manchester City.

ROONEY WANTED OUT

Manchester United star Wayne Rooney has revealed that the decision by Sir Alex Ferguson to play him in the midfield was the reason behind his unhappiness at the club a few months ago.

Rooney almost came close to leaving United with the likes of Chelsea and Paris St Germain showing an interest. Chelsea also made two offers for the 27-year-old the summer, but United did not sell him. Even though Rooney did not mention Ferguson by his actual name, he revealed that the reason for his unhappiness was being played out of position. Continue reading

MORE MATCHES

Chelsea have been consistently playing around 60 matches per season in the last few years. This was especially true in the case of the José Mourinho era. Now that the Portuguese is back at Stamford Bridge, Chelsea can be expected to play a similar amount of games this time around as well. Mourinho is a manager who does not think about having easy and difficult matches. He gives equal importance to all competitions over the course of a campaign. Chelsea have made a couple of signings in this transfer window, which has strengthened their squad.

Mourinho recently revealed that he has two players for every position. Rather than stick with the same group for every match, the Portuguese will now be rotating players in order to keep them fresh over the course of a season. Players like Juan Mata and Eden Hazard played a number of games for Chelsea last season, while Torres made close to 60 appearances. It will not be the case this time around according to Mourinho. He has praised the likes of Victor Moses, who have made a great impression in pre-season.

He has said that the former Wigan star is the kind of player who can change the game coming on from the bench.

“Where can I can fit all the players in? I hope to play 60 matches, so where I maybe won’t use different teams, we will use rotation of players that’s for sure. Victor has been terrific. He is another one who is working very hard. He hasn’t missed a single minute of a training session. I think Victor is a very good option for us. In Victor’s position we have Hazard, De Bruyne, Schürrle – it’s a position where a coach can make a change during a match and give new life and fresh blood to the team,” said Mourinho.

MESSI BACKS JOSE

Argentina star Lionel Messi has backed has former foe José Mourinho to be a success at Stamford Bridge after the Portuguese arrived as a manager for a second spell at the club in the summer. Chelsea were without a manager after they decided not to extend the contract of Rafa Benitez, who was at the club for just over six months. They decided to bring in former manager Mourinho on a four-year contract after he left Real Madrid a few weeks ago.

Messi has come up against Mourinho when he was a Chelsea manager in the past. The 25-year-old has said that he does not expect the Spanish league and Real Madrid to be weaker as a result of losing Mourinho. The Portuguese was replaced by Carlo Ancelotti only a few days ago. Messi has praised Ancelotti by saying that he is an equally good manager, who is capable of making Real Madrid challenge for all the trophies.

Barcelona managed to win the league title last season, but they were unsuccessful in their hopes of winning the Champions League for the third time in the last six years. They were beaten quite heavily by Bayern Munich in the semifinals of the competition. Messi is hoping to be successful this year, and he reckons that Barcelona have a strong squad to do that.

“I think the Spanish league is difficult anyway and will continue being difficult. We’ll be fighting against strong teams with great players like Real Madrid. Mourinho was a great coach but we know that Ancelotti is equally great. I think Mourinho will also succeed back at Chelsea because he’s a great manager. I think we have a great team and great players, as we’ve shown over the years,” said Messi, who also welcomed the arrival of Neymar as well.

MIND GAMES

Chelsea manager Rafa Benitez has started the mind games ahead of the FA Cup semi-final clash with Manchester City on Sunday. Chelsea will be coming into the match after having played four matches eight days, while the recently travelled to Russia on Thursday in order to play against Rubin Kazan in the Europa league. Manchester City, meanwhile, have been playing around one game a week for the last few months since been knocked out of the Champions League. As a result, the opposition have a clear advantage when it comes to the fitness and freshness of the players.

Some of the Chelsea players have been working very tired in the past few matches, but Benitez rested the key midfielders for the club – Juan Mata, Eden Hazard, and Oscar – against Rubin Kazan. Hence, they are likely to be a bit more fresh. Further, Demba Ba did not also take part in the Europa league encounter. He recently scored in the 1-0 win over Manchester United in the FA Cup, but he was not at his best against Sunderland in the last Premier league match. Fernando Torres, on the other hand, has managed three goals in his last three appearances for the team, and has been showing signs of returning to form.

“It’s always an advantage (to have rested while Chelsea travelled). I don’t know how much. We’ve tried to manage our squad and we have players with some fresh legs. Hopefully we will be fine. We have too many games and we have to use the squad. Everyone has to be on their toes. Too many games in a season. I will not say international or what kind of games. Too many games, though. Reduce the number of games: simple. To see a game where you can win 8-0 at international level is not an amazing experience for anyone,” said Benitez.

MIKEL SUPPORTS RAFA

The Nigerian midfielder John obi Mikel has come out in support of the manager Rafa Benitez by saying that the fans do not help the team by criticising the manager. The Chelsea fans have made it clear from the start that they did not welcome the appointment of the former Liverpool manager Rafa Benitez due to the history between him and the club. Benitez criticised the Chelsea fans on a number of occasions when he was the Liverpool manager. As a result, there has been a lot of support for the former manager Roberto di Matteo, while also equal criticism for the current man.

Chelsea were just four points behind leaders Manchester United when Benitez arrived at the club, but they are now almost 20 points behind the Red Devils. The Spaniard was once again subjected to criticism during the FA Cup match against Manchester United during the weekend. Chelsea were losing 2-0 after just 11 min on the clock. Benitez brought on the defensive midfielder John obi Mikel in place of Lampard, while Hazard replaced the winger Victor Moses. It was a decision that was met with chorus of disapproval from the Chelsea fans, but it later turned out to be the reason behind Chelsea’s impressive comeback in the second half.

“Sometimes it doesn’t help when the fans are not happy. When you give the ball away there is pressure. This is our job. Fans come to watch the football and we have a responsibility to pay them back and make sure we play well. Every game we try to do that, sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. I have been here for seven years and they (the fans) are fantastic and have always supported us until the end,” said Mikel after the 2-2 draw with Manchester United that forced the tie into a replay.

PRESSURE RISES

Pressure on the Chelsea manager Rafa Benitez has increased substantially after the 2-2 draw with Reading on Wednesday night. Chelsea were looking extremely comfortable in the match after taking a two goal lead in the second half, but they had to come away with only a point from the match after conceding two goals in the final few minutes. Juan Mata gave Chelsea the lead in injury time of the first half, while the 10th of the season from the midfielder Frank Lampard doubled the advantage. It looked like Chelsea where taking all three points from the match and closing the gap on Manchester City.

However, Adam Le Fondre came off the bench to score his first goal in the 87th minute, which seemed to give Reading a glimmer of hope. They managed to then snatch an unlikely point in the 90th minute through a second goal from Le Fondre. Benitez said after the match that he is lost for words to explain the two dropped points for the team, which has decreased the chances of him being offered the job permanently. Benitez has said that the Chelsea players should have been more aware of the danger when Reading started playing long balls in the closing stages of the match.

“Everyone could see the game was under control for us until the last minute. It is difficult to explain. The last free-kick we made too many mistakes. We had chances to kill the game. It changed because they were playing long balls. We can say we have to be more clinical, and more aware of this situation with these mistakes defending set-pieces. They had their first shot after 78 minutes. It’s difficult how to explain how we drew this game,” said Benitez. Chelsea remain in the third position after this round of fixtures.

RAFA HAPPY WITH CHARACTER

The Chelsea manager Rafa Benitez has said that he is extremely happy with the character of the performance shown by the team to come back from being a goal down to win against Everton during the weekend. This fixture has always been the toughest for the club in recent seasons, as they were without a win at Goodison Park since April 2008. Things looked like going for the worse once again after they conceded a goal just 63 seconds into the match through Steven Pienaar. Chelsea’s passing and chance creation were also extremely poor during the first 20 min of the match.

However, two goals from the midfielder Frank Lampard in either half helped Chelsea win the match 2-1. This also helped them stay 11 points behind United in the table. Any dropped points in this match would have meant goodbye to the title, which is the reason for this victory being extremely significant according to Benitez. Lampard once again proved his worth to the Chelsea team by scoring two goals. His first goal was a header just before half-time, while his second goal came in a crucial time when Everton were looking to regain their lead. The 34-year-old Frank Lampard is out of contract at the end of the season.

“We’re not disappointed because we played really well and we’ve run the European champions really close. but we didn’t quite have enough in the end. We had played well enough to get a second goal but had been unfortunate, having shots back off the woodwork. I thought we were a bit unlucky. We tried to make what we had work the best we could today and for long periods I thought we did,” said the Everton manager David Moyes. The win moves Chelsea back into the third position ahead of Tottenham.

TORRES WILL FIND FORM

The former Chelsea manager Avram Grant has said that the star striker Fernando Torres will be able to find his form, but he needs to sort his mental attitude first in order to do so. Fernando Torres has overseen the presence of the managers already during his short spell at Chelsea. The striker cost £ 50 million from Liverpool back in the January transfer window of 2010. However, he has been a major disappointment because he has failed to score any goal of noteworthy importance. Many regard him to be a shadow of the striker who was at Liverpool. However, the arrival of Rafa Benitez, who was his manager at Liverpool, could bring the best out of the striker.

Rafa Benitez has replaced the former manager Roberto di Matteo. The likes of Carlo Ancelotti, Andre Villas-Boas, and Roberto di Matteo have all failed in the task of getting the best out of Fernando Torres. The striker has scored just one goal in the last seven matches. Under the guidance of the Spaniard Rafa Benitez, Torres scored more than 50 goals in just 70 Premier league appearances. The former manager Avram Grant, who failed to get the best out of Shevchenko, has said that Torres can become fearsome once again, but his attitude needs to improve.

“It all depends on what Fernando [Torres] wants. He needs to start doing his job. He’s running everywhere except into the box, which is his strength. It’s not an easy time for him, but it happens to everybody. It happened to Didier Drogba and others. He’s still a great player and a great finisher but he needs to concentrate on his strengths. I don’t think that a player changes a lot in just a couple of years,” said the former Chelsea man, who led the club to the Champions League final in 2008.

ARSENAL IS BIG TEST

The Chelsea defender Branislav Ivanovic has said that Chelsea’s match with Arsenal during the weekend is probably the biggest test they will face during the start of the season. Chelsea will be facing Arsenal, who are one of the top four teams in the Premier league, during the weekend. Roberto di Matteo’s men will be making the short trip to Emirates stadium to face Arsene Wenger’s men. Even though the likes of Manchester United and Manchester city have played against top teams like Liverpool and Arsenal, this will be the first big test for Chelsea. It is the opinion of the defender Branislav Ivanovic, who has played in every Premier league game so far.

The 28-year-old Serbian defender has become one of the best right backs at the club. He is also extremely versatile and is capable of playing in the centre of defence. Roberto di Matteo will be making a decision on the captain John Terry. Depending upon the outcome of the decision, there is a chance that Branislav Ivanovic will be playing in the centre of defence. So far, Chelsea have made a great start to the season, but have not faced any of the top teams. They are currently top of the table with a two-point advantage.

“We have the next game as a very great challenge for us in the Premier League – Arsenal away. This is the first actual big game for us this season. Our performances and quality – we know how it. But we have to show everyone, and we have to show it every game. This is the biggest challenge. I think Arsenal will be a great challenge for us, and we have to really be ready for that,” said the 28-year-old defender. Chelsea could go four points clear of Manchester United after this match.