Jose Mourinho’s unveiling proves one thing hasn’t changed: It’s still all about himself

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Jose Mourinho has proven himself on the touchline. He’s won silverware at the highest level, and as far as tactics and player evaluation is concerned, Chelsea have made a fantastic move bringing him back to Stamford Bridge.

That was true on his first go with Roman Abramovich, and it’s true now.

One other thing hasn’t changed about him though, one thing I could absolutely do without – no matter what the subject, with Jose Mourinho, it’s always about Jose Mourinho.

The man can turn any conversation into something about himself, and everyone not involved with Chelsea is just going to have to get used to it.

Again.

I get it, it’s an unveiling, so the event is focused on Chelsea’s new man. But even there it got a little out of hand.

Jose, can you talk about how it’s similar or different the second time around at Chelsea? “I have the same nature, I’m the same person, I have the same heart, I have the same kind of emotions related to my passion for football and my job,” he said. “But I’m of course a different person. In this moment if I have to describe myself, I describe myself as a very happy person. It’s the first time I arrive in a club where I already love the club.”

Jose, could you talk about your relationship with Roman? “I read and I keep hearing that I was fired, I was sacked, we had a complete breakdown of our relationship – that was not true. Many didn’t believe that but it was a mutual agreement. We thought it was best for both of us, for me and the club.”

Jose, could you talk about how the beginning of this tenure is different than the last? “Nine years is a big difference. When I arrived here in 2004, you pushed me a lot in that first press conference to have a stronger approach, and in this moment the situation is different. You know me, you know my history in the British game, you know my history in the European game, so I don’t think I need that approach, I just want to be calm.”

There are plenty of different directions he could have taken that press conference, but he chose the most self-absorbed approach. He hardly mentioned the club. Heck, if you listened to the press conference on its own without any prior knowledge, you’d have no idea what team he’d just signed on with!

He barely mentioned the players on the club. He did once, but it was still about him. “There are still a few boys from my (first) time (at Chelsea) . It is always good to go back and see these people who gave absolutely everything to me when I was here. But it’s important to tell you – not them, because they know – that there is no privilege for them.”

Mourinho even rebranded himself. He dubbed himself ‘The Happy One.’ Seriously? Can you get more narcisstic than that? If ‘The Special One’ wasn’t bad enough, he had to not only bring it back up, but update it. Yeesh.

It’s always the same with Jose. It’s what drove him out of Real Madrid. It’s what drove him out of Chelsea the first time. Hopefully Roman Abramovich knows what he’s getting into – how can he not – because if Roman doesn’t make it totally about Jose this time around, it will finish just as the first go-around did.

However, if Abramovich does agree to put his manager before his club, his players, and himself, Mourinho could flourish, and so could Chelsea. We’ll just have to deal with the arrogance and self-absorption that’s been so refreshing to be without the last 6 years. Alas, it’s returned to London and the Premier League.

FIFA seeking sponsors for video replays at World Cup

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LONDON (AP) Video replays will be used at the World Cup for the first time and talks are underway with potential sponsor branding to appear when the technology is used, a FIFA executive said on Monday.

Soccer’s rule-making panel met Monday to assess recent trials ahead of video assistant referees (VAR) being officially approved by FIFA later this season for use in Russia in June and July.

“Definitely VAR will happen,” FIFA chief commercial officer Philippe Le Floc’h told The Associated Press. “It’s great to have technology in football because this is also a fair(ness) thing.”

Referees were assisted for the first time by high-tech aids at a World Cup in 2014 when goal-line technology was used. That system sees a message instantly flash on referees’ watches saying only whether the ball crossed the line.

Video review is used when there is a “clear and obvious error” involving goals, penalty awards, red cards, and mistaken identity.

Replays could lead to delays in games in Russia as different angles are reviewed, presenting an opportunity for FIFA to brand up the segment on the global broadcast feed.

“We are talking to various technological companies who are very interested with what we are doing on the technology side of things,” Floc’h said on board the World Cup trophy tour plane during a stop at London Stansted Airport.

The final decision on allowing replays to become part of the rules of the game falls to the International Football Association Board on March 3 when its annual meeting is held at FIFA.

Video review has been expected at the World Cup because FIFA controls half the votes in IFAB’s decision. The other voters are the four British soccer federations.

Monday’s meeting brought together IFAB technical experts, FIFA refereeing officials, and researchers from the University of Leuven in Belgium, who have studied use of video review in 804 games across more than 20 competitions.

“The discussions we had today do not indicate that further experiments need to be conducted,” said Johannes Holzmueller, FIFA’s lead official for technological innovation.

Watch Live: Swansea City vs. Liverpool

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Swansea City’s bid to slow down steamrolling Liverpool begins at 3 p.m. ET Monday at the Liberty Stadium (Watch live on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com).

WATCH LIVE, ONLINE, HERE

The rampaging Reds are coming off a 4-3 win that ended Manchester City’s unbeaten Premier League season, and will hope to avoid a let down against desperate Swans.

The Welsh hosts are six points adrift in the race for Premier League safety, and look set for a 5-4-1 with Jordan Ayew the only forward. Wilfried Bony and Oliver McBurnie are on the bench along with attack-minded Luciano Narsingh.

LINEUPS

Swansea City: Fabianski, Naughton, Van der Hoorn, Fernandez, Mawson, Olsson, Ki, Fer, Clucas, Dyer, Ayew. Subs: Nordfeldt, Bartley, Roque Mesa, Carroll, Narsingh, McBurnie, Bony.

Liverpool: Karius, Gomez, Matip, Van Dijk, Robertson, Can, Wijnaldum, Salah, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Mane, Firmino. Subs: Mignolet, Milner, Klavan, Lallana, Ings, Solanke, Alexander-Arnold.

Kevin De Bruyne commits to Man City through 2022-23

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Kevin De Bruyne is one of the best players in the world, and he’s committing his prime to the club which has taken him to the next level.

[ MORE: How will Arsenal, Man Utd line up? ]

Manchester City announced a new deal for the Belgian wizard, keeping him at the Etihad Stadium through 2023.

De Bruyne, 26, has posted 31 goals and 38 assists for Pep Guardiola‘s men since returning to England from the Bundesliga, and appreciates being given a lot more money. From ManCity.com:

“As I’ve said previously, my intention has always been to stay here at City, where I’ve felt at home from day one. Not only are we winning – we are playing great football. It’s a pleasure to be a part of and I’m really excited about what we can achieve in the coming years.”

De Bruyne is in the discussion for a Ballon d’Or finalist spot this year, along with Lionel Messi, Neymar, Gareth Bale, Harry Kane, and others (Hot take: This does seem to be year Ronaldo possibly knocked off, barring a remarkable run in the Champions League or World Cup).

After the swap: Alexis, Mkhi-infused XIs for Man Utd, Arsenal

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The deal is done: Henrikh Mkhitaryan has moved to Arsenal with Alexis Sanchez going the other way in a monumental January move.

[ MORE: Transfer rumor roundup ]

How will it look for each side once the shape’s settled?

Arsenal

When Henrikh Mkhitaryan was at his very best — for Borussia Dortmund in 2014-15 — he was deployed as a left or right wing. He contributed 23 goals and 32 assists in 52 matches during his final season at the Westfalenstadion, and predictably saw those numbers drop as Jose Mourinho consistently moved him toward an attacking center midfield role.

He’ll get the chance to go out wide again at the Emirates Stadium, though perhaps not always to the extreme flanks. Expect Alexandre Lacazette‘s numbers to explode with this move.

Arsene Wenger used a 4-3-3 to batter Crystal Palace 4-1 at the weekend, with Ozil on the right wing and Alex Iwobi on the left. The club still needs better at center defensive mid while Aaron Ramsey is out, so that will likely keep the lineup similar until he returns (at a minimum):

Cech

Bellerin — Mustafi — Koscielny — Montreal

Elneny (Ramsey, eventually)

Xhaka — Wilshere

Ozil — Lacazette — Mkhitaryan

By the way, a lot of Arsenal supporters aren’t feeling great about this (understatement alert):

Manchester United

Alexis Sanchez prefers left wing, too, and Mourinho has a trio of in-form players who like that side of the field. Anthony Martial is red hot but plays wider than Jesse Lingard, and it seems one of them will take the slot of Juan Mata to the right of Paul Pogba in a 4-1-4-1. Marcus Rashford could also see the far right positioning.

But against top competition — continued apologies to Burnley — it’s usually a 4-2-3-1 for Mourinho with Pogba dropping next to Nemanja Matic a little deeper in the formation. Lingard has been getting the run as CAM here, usually to the detriment of Juan Mata. With Alexis as the clear-cut left wing in this formation, it causes real combat for the two other slots between Mata, Lingard, Rashford, and Martial.

So while it’s likely we’d see something like this in a big game for Manchester United…

De Gea

Young — Jones — Smalling — Valencia

Matic — Pogba

Martial — Lingard —  Sanchez

Lukaku

… We’d love to see something more like this:

De Gea

Young — Jones — Smalling — Valencia

Matic — Herrera

Pogba

Martial — Lukaku — Sanchez

How do you think Wenger and Mou will run ’em out?