Chelsea’s Rafael Benitez has been honored as Barclays Manager of the Month. And it’s about time!
Despite hordes of criticism heaped on him by Chelsea fans and a British media seemingly transfixed on ruffling the feathers of foreign bosses (see: Arsene Wenger, Roberto Mancini, Andre Villas-Boas, Manuel Pochetino and Paulo Di Canio), Benitez has provided one of the most stunning managerial performances of the season. And the league is finally taking notice making the interim boss the first Chelsea boss to be named Premier League Manager of the Month since Carlo Ancelotti in April 2011.
Benitez’ side enjoyed an unbeaten month in the league, with three wins from four games. During that stretch the Blues knocked off Swansea City, Sunderland and Fulham while drawing with Liverpool after conceding a last-gasp equalizer at Anfield.
Adding to the significance of the achievement is that Chelsea earned the domestic results while playing five other games during the month, including two matches against Rubin Kazan in the Europa League quarter-finals (where they won 5-4 on aggregate), a 1-0 win over Manchester United in the FA Cup, and a 2-1 first leg victory at FC Basel in the Europa League semi-finals.
Think about that – nine matches in 30 days. Crazy!
The league results have seen Chelsea rise to third in the table with four games remaining, putting them in prime position for a Champions League berth. Yet despite this achievement – as well as earning the club a spot in next month’s Europa League final against Benfica and being a key cog in the development of David Luiz and the resurgence of Petr Cech (who, at the moment is arguably the best goalkeeper in world football) – Benitez remains a very unpopular man.
To be fair, the Chelsea fans’ disdain for the Spaniard is at least somewhat understandable. His decision to pledge his love for Liverpool two weeks ago was nonsensical. Nevertheless, the feats he has managed to accomplish at Chelsea during his five month stint at the club are astounding. And it’s great to see the Premier League is finally taking notice.
Here’s to hoping that come the final day of the season, Blues supporters will as well.
MILAN (AP) Sassuolo’s victory over Pescara has been reversed to a 3-0 loss.
Sassuolo won Sunday’s Serie A match 2-1 but the league now says it fielded an ineligible player.
The league says the paperwork for the signing of Antonino Ragusa, who played the final 25 minutes, had not been filed by noon the day before the match – as its rules demand.
Sassuolo says it followed the rules and will appeal.
The club was one of four teams to win both its opening matches, along with Genoa, Juventus and Sampdoria.
Jack Wilshere won’t be with Arsenal following Wednesday’s transfer deadline, however, where the Gunners midfielder lands is yet to be seen.
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According to Daily Mail, as many as 22 clubs are in the mix to acquire Wilshere on loan, including various Premier League sides.
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While Daily Mail suggests that Crystal Palace is among the leaders to bring in the 24-year-old center midfielder this season, Bournemouth and Watford are also said to be in the mix to sign the playmaker.
Manager Arsene Wenger reportedly won’t allow the Englishman to go to any of the top four sides in England and also hopes that Wilshere lands outside of the UK .
Wilshere is also being chased by foreign clubs including Serie A sides Juventus and Roma.
The Gunners have been active as the deadline heads down its final hours, with Lucas Perez of Deportivo La Coruna and Valencia defender Shkodran Mustafi both joining the club on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, young defender Calum Chambers has joined Middlesbrough on loan and Serge Gnarby is reportedly close to joining Werder Bremen after drawing significant interest from Bundesliga sides.
CHICAGO (AP) The U.S. women’s national team will host Switzerland for two matches this October in Minneapolis and Utah.
The matches for the defending World Cup champions are set for Oct. 19 at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy, Utah, and at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis on Oct. 23.
The U.S. team has played Switzerland just twice before, with the Americans winning both matches.
The United States is also facing Thailand on Sept. 15 in Columbus, Ohio, before playing the Netherlands in Atlanta on Sept. 18.
The team will be without goalkeeper Hope Solo, who was suspended from the team for six months following comments she made at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics. The United States was ousted by Sweden in the quarterfinals for the team’s earliest-ever exit at the Olympics.
Just incase you were unaware, there’s another Pogba. And he too could be playing in the Premier League very soon.
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While it was Paul Pogba that stole the spotlight when he returned to Manchester United for a world-record transfer fee, Florentin — his 26-year-old brother — is drawing interest from England’s top flight.
According to the Sun, David Moyes and Sunderland are launching an $8.5 million bid for the St Etienne defender as a potential replacement for Lamine Kone. The Black Cats still anticipate that Kone will exit the Stadium of Light this season after handing in a transfer request earlier this month.
Pogba has played with the Ligue 1 club since 2012 after joining from lower-division club Sedan. Additionally, the centerback has made 13 appearances for Guinea at the international level.