Chelsea’s Frank Lampard, Branislav Ivanovic out until the end of January

Leave a comment

If Wednesday’s win at St. Mary’s was any indication, Chelsea should be able to compensate for the injury absences of Frank Lampard and Branislav Ivanovic, even if both veterans will miss more time than originally expected. After the Blues’ 3-0 win over Southampton, Chelsea manager José Mourinho confirmed each of his starters will be out until the end of January, an absence that sideline the veteran duo from Manchester United’s Jan. 19 visit to Stamford Bridge.

[MORE: Southampton 0-3 Chelsea: Blues cruise to victory after classy display]

Both suffered their injuries Sunday against Liverpool, with Ivanovic’s knee forcing him from Chelsea’s 2-1 victory after 30 minutes. Lampard, suffering a muscle injury, was taken off at halftime.

With Lampard out, Mourinho started John Obi Mikel and Ramires in midfield against the Saints, with David Luiz having made his first start of the season in that role on Sunday against the Reds. With Luiz out for Wednesday’s visit to Southampton, Micheal Essien made a rare appearance off the bench, the team’s injury concerns in the middle giving the Ghanian his fourth game of the season.

In the absence of Ivanovic, Ashley Cole has been restored to the starting XI, with Spaniard Cesar Azpilicueta shifting from left back to his natural position on the right. After failing to make a league appearance from Nov. 2 until Dec. 26, Cole has now appeared in three games in a row, starting against Swansea and Southampton.

Chelsea’s most notable match over the next four weeks is Jan. 19’s visit from Manchester United. Surrounding that game, the Blues face second tier Derby in the FA Cup (Jan. 5) before visiting Hull (Jan. 11) and hosting West Ham (Jan. 29), with another FA Cup game to be added should Chelsea win or draw at Pride Park.

Before missing Wednesday’s game, Ivanovic had started every Premier League match this season, scoring his only goal in the Blues’ 2-1 win over Aston Villa on Aug. 21.

Pre-injury, Lampard had appeared in 18 games, 13 in a starting role, while recording four goals and three assists. The 35-year-old has scored double-digit goals in 10 straight Premier League seasons.

Juan Carlos Osorio to become new Mexico boss

Leave a comment

Mexico looks to have found a new manager in Juan Carlos Osorio.

Osorio, who had stints managing in Major League Soccer with the Chicago Fire and New York Red Bulls, was most recently coaching in Brazil with Sao Paulo.

However, the Brazilian club released a statement today that Osorio had decided to step down from his position in order to take the Mexico job.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s USMNT coverage ]

Following Miguel Herrera’s firing in July, Ricardo Ferretti was named interim manager of El Tri, and will coach the side in Saturday’s CONCACAF playoff match against the United States. However, Ferretti has stated he will not stay with Mexico past that match, and will return to Liga MX, where he serves as manager of Tigres UANL.

Osorio had recently been linked with the Mexico job, but said he would take his time in making a decision.

His only other exposure to Mexican football came during a short stint in Liga MX managing Puebla. He lasted just seven matches before resigning and returning to manage in his native Colombia.

[ RELATED: Donovan says Klinsmann should be fired if USMNT loses to Mexico ]

He was in line to take charge of the Honduras national team in 2011, but he was unable to get out of the contract with the Colombian team he was managing at the time.

There has been no official confirmation of the hiring from the Mexican Federation.

Benzema and Benitez in a war of words at Real Madrid

MADRID, SPAIN - SEPTEMBER 26: Head coach Rafael Benitez (R) of Real Madrid CF gives instructions to his player Karim Benzema (L) during the La Liga match between Real Madrid CF and Malaga CF at Estadio Santiago Bernabeu on September 26, 2015 in Madrid, Spain.  (Photo by Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images)
Getty Images
Leave a comment

Karim Benzema has scored six goals in his eight appearances for Real Madrid this season, and is currently the top scorer in La Liga.

Despite being in great form, Benzema has continuously been substituted by manager Rafa Benitez, which has upset the French striker.

Benzema opened the scoring for Real in the Madrid derby over the weekend, but was taken off in the 77th minute. Atletico would go on to score minutes later as the match ended in a 1-1 draw.

[ RELATED: Top moments from USMNT vs. Mexico ]

Speaking after the game, Benzema said he was “fed up” with being taken off, but will continue to work to help his team.

Substitutions are what the coach decides, I’m just there to help my teammates.

It’s true I’m fed up of being taken off. I’m calm and will continue to work so I’m not always subtituted. He took me off to get a result, for defensive reasons.

It’s true that the electronic board always shows the No.9. Ask Benitez why that is.

When told about Benzema’s comments, Benitez said he made the change for tactical reasons, as Real was in the lead and he replaced the striker with a more defensive-minded player in midfielder Mateo Kovacic.

I needed to give the team some balance at that point in the game. I’m a huge fan of Benzema. If I were Karim, I’d also be angry at being taken off when I thought I was playing well and was on a great run of form.

What I’d do if I were Karim is score more goals so that next time I don’t have to be taken off and can say, ‘Hey, here I am.’

Benitez’s response comes off as a backhanded compliment, asking Benzema to “score more goals,” despite the player leading La Liga in scoring. In fact, Benzema has averaged a goal every 84 minutes this season, an incredible strike rate.

[ RELATED: Chelsea release statement on Jose Mourinho’s future ]

Over the summer, Benzema was linked with a move away from Real Madrid, but he constantly denied the rumors and said he never thought about leaving the club, which he called the best in the world. Just a few matches into the new season, there may be some trouble in paradise.