More success for Chelsea this season?

Jose Mourinho tells John Terry “he’s not safe”

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If John Terry thinks he’s got a free ride with Jose Mourinho at the helm, he’s got another thing coming to him.

The Portuguese manager made things crystal clear for the Chelsea captain on Friday, informing him that he’s not safe.

After acknowledging the history and friendship between Terry and himself, Mourinho informed reporters in Kuala Lumpur that “John’s not safe and he knows he’s not safe. The only thing he knows is safe is our friendship.”

Who Mourinho will deploy as his starting center-backs is one of the many issues ‘The Special One’ must sort out before the 2013-14 Premier League season kicks-off. Terry has long been a mainstay in that role but last year injuries and signs of aging derailed the 32 year old’s season.

Former Chelsea interim manager Rafael Benitez preferred a partnership of Branislav Ivanovic and David Luiz. Conventional wisdom suggests Mourinho will likely go the same way. Ivanovic remains one of the toughest and most well-rounded defenders in the Premier League whereas Luiz’ astonishing 2012-13 campaign has some critics considering him the best young center-back in the game.

There may be some wiggle room for Terry, however, as both Ivanovic and Luiz can make impacts at other positions on the field. Ivanovic is more than capable of playing as a right-back although his somewhat underwhelming speed can be a concern. Luiz, on the other hand, fancies himself a holding midfielder and whereas he’s proven himself dangerous going forward, he tends to loose himself on the pitch when afforded too much freedom.

Then there’s Gary Cahill, whose talent has yet to fully develop with consistency remaining an issue. Terry is arguably the more impactful defender but given his lingering injury issues, Mourinho may find Cahill to be less of a liability.

One way or another, Chelsea are in so many competitions that Terry will see decent time. But as a starter in big matches? I don’t see it happening.

Which is why Mourinho made clear that: “Professionally, no one is safe. We spoke about it and he understands. We say in Portugal, ‘Friends are friends, but business is business’.”

Gotta love Mourinho, a man after Jay-Z’s heart.

Premier League AT HALF: Arsenal fights back, Hull City on top

LONDON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 10:  Alexis Sanchez of Arsenal (L) and Francis Coquelin of Arsenal (R) celebrate after Theo Walcott of Arsenal (not pictured) scored Arsenals first goal during the Premier League match between Arsenal and Stoke City at the Emirates Stadium on December 10, 2016 in London, England.  (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)
Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images
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Goals and controversial penalty decisions are a big part of Saturday morning’s quartet of Premier League matches, all of which are at the break.

[ STREAM: Every PL game on NBC Sports ]

Arsenal 1-1 Stoke City

Joe Allen took an elbow from Granit Xhaka inside the 18, and Lee Mason awarded a PK that Charlie Adam converted to give the visitors an early lead. But Theo Walcott scored his 100th goal as a Gunner off a classy Hector Bellerin cross to make it 1-1 before the break.

Burnley 2-1 Bournemouth

The Cherries will have to dig out of another hole this week, and it all began with Jeff Hendrick‘s phenomenal opener. Fellow Irishman Steven Ward scored an economical to goal to double the lead.

But Ryan Fraser continued his fine December with an assist on Benik Afobe‘s goal before halftime.

Hull City 1-0 Crystal Palace

Robert Snodgrass drew a penalty with a pretty easy grass grab, and the Tigers have a

Swansea City 0-0 Sunderland

Not much cooking at the Liberty Stadium.

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Koeman: “Nervous” Everton has a problem after another loss

WATFORD, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 10:  Ronald Koeman manager of Everton arrives prior to the Premier League match between Watford and Everton at Vicarage Road on December 10, 2016 in Watford, England.  (Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images)
Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images
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One win in 10 for Ronald Koeman‘s Everton has the Dutchman on the hot seat.

Koeman seems to be clawing for air after the Toffees’ latest setback, a 3-2 loss at Watford.

The loss puts the Hornets ahead of Everton on the PL table, and — while unlikely — it’s a mathematical possibility that the Toffees could be a bottom half team by the end of the weekend.

[ STREAM: Every PL game on NBC Sports ]

That’s a brutal development for a club expected to challenge for a European place this season.

Here’s Koeman:

“I see a lot of similar problems in the team. The team is too much reactive. Of course it’s maybe a lack of confidence, but if you start the game well, 1-0 up, you need a bigger belief in the team and not going back and defending, and nervous, and not enough ball possession. In my opinion that’s a problem.”

A big problem with that? It can be put down to the manager. Is Koeman in trouble already?

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VIDEO: Hendrick scores incredible volley from distance

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Jeff Hendrick, take a bow.

Burnley’s Republic of Ireland international midfielder pulled off a stunning piece of skill on Saturday to put the Clarets ahead against Bournemouth.

[ STREAM: Every PL game online ] 

A long ball forward was flicked on to Hendrick and he took a stunning first touch to tee himself and then settled himself before spanking a volley into the top corner.

Sensational goal from Burnley’s club-record signing.

Click play on the video above to watch it.

Messi’s latest goal dares you to count the touches (video)

PAMPLONA, SPAIN - DECEMBER 10:  Lionel Messi of FC Barcelona celebrates after scoring his team's second goal during the La Liga match between CA Osasuna and FC Barcelona at Sadar stadium on December 10, 2016 in Pamplona, Spain.  (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)
Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images
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There’s a danger in observing Lionel Messi on a week-by-week basis, and it has a lot to do with how he makes greatness look routine.

So while it’s easy to dismiss yet another mazy dribble through a defense, one of those “Frogger” style with calm-but-vicious cutbacks, try to consider everything that goes into Messi’s second goal against Osasuna early Saturday.

[ MORE: Watford 3-2 Everton ]

On first look, you might count 9 touches for Messi starting with his right-footed collection of the ball. But move to the slow motion replays, and recognize the truth: Often Messi is letting the ball do the work for him, essentially moving the duo closer to goal while he used his preferred left foot as a must-respect threat.

That he does it in such traffic and at full speed is incredible. It’s literally one of those goals in which a linguistic luminary like Ray Hudson would have trouble over-emphasizing the greatness.

Messi now has 11 La Liga goals in 12 matches, and 22 in 19 overall.

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