A game Chelsea controlled for over 70 minutes got away at the end, with Victor Anichebe’s 87th minute header giving West Bromwich Albion a surprise 1-1 draw with the visiting Premier League leaders. Rather than rest on this team’s dominance of the ball (60 percent possession) or having held the Baggies to one shot on target, Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho conceded his team may have been too lax in failing to find a second goal.
“We were comfortable in the game,” Mourinho conceded, “maybe too comfortable. We didn’t kill the game when we had the chance.”
Those chances came in the second half, with a late counter attack the most prominent of his team’s opportunities. That chance ended with attacking midfielder Willian firing into Ben Foster’s chest from distance, one of a number of shots from beyond the penalty area Chelsea contented themselves with in the second half.
“I was feeling that the only thing we could do is defend well,” Mourinho said of his team’s second half. “We were not strong enough to get out in the last 10 minutes.
“The game doesn’t end until the last whistle, and the defensive mistake led to a goal.”
That mistake saw Anichebe cut across David Luiz to beat the Chelsea center back to Saido Berahino’s late cross, with the West Brom attacker’s glancing blow sending the equalizer inside Petr Cech’s left post.
Now two points ahead of second place Arsenal, the Blues could find themselves in second place should the Gunners beat Manchester United on Wednesday. They would dip as low as third if a Manchester City win (over Sunderland) accompanies an Arsenal triumph.
“In this moment we have one more point than before,” Mourinho explained. “If Arsenal and City win tomorrow, they go above us, but that is their job.
“Every game is difficult, and every team needs points.”
It isn’t Dortmund, but that’s a good thing for Liverpool.
Our own Joe Prince-Wright was on the scene for Jurgen Klopp’s unveiling as the latest Reds manager, and the 48-year-old German had a lot to say.
Perhaps most poignant for Liverpool fans are Klopp’s words on the talent he inherits from Brendan Rodgers. Sure there are quips that will hit the headlines, but how about Klopp’s assertion that success shouldn’t take nearly as long as his dramatic work at BVB.
From JPW on Merseyside:
“We did in Dortmund what we had to do, to improve the players, to work for a common idea of play. That is what we did and its the same thing we want to do here. They are not the same players of course,” Klopp told NBC Sports ProSoccerTalk. “These players from Liverpool are better, more experienced in some ways and younger in other cases. Everything is okay, I am here. I am not here only because LFC was calling. I believe in the potential of this team. Four or five strikers you can work with when they are not injured, midfielders is really good, defenders experienced and very young, goalkeeper is really good. Everything is there.”
Everything. A powerful word and one that doesn’t get lost in translation. Liverpool has a batch of world class talent, and Klopp’s is anxious to organize it in world class fashion. Strap in, Anfield.
So here we go: the biggest rivalry in U.S. Soccer, the one that sends fans racing for the stadia for a glimpse of history.
It’s the U.S. and Mexico for the right to go to the 2017 Confederations Cup in Russia, and it will play out at the Rose Bowl on Saturday night.
National pride is on the line, and national jobs may rightly be in jeopardy. Let’s swing through our coverage, and what’s at stake in just over 24 hours time.
Who is the key to Saturday’s match? Is it Michael Bradley? Fabian Johnson? Andres Guardado? Will Klinsmann opt for players with Liga MX experience, stay Euro Heavy, or appease the domestic set? Read more here.
So how will Klinsmann line ’em up? JPW has his preference, some options, and a prediction of what the manager will do.
What are the chances this one finds its way into the upper echelon of matches in the Mexico/U.S. rivalry? This is the company it could join.
The folks in the anti-Klinsmann brigade seethe with pure detestation of the USMNT boss. Any quote from him is self-serving and dishonest, any success accidental. Beat Germany or the Netherlands in friendlies on the road? Coincidental and Unimportant. Lose a friendly to Brazil? The worst thing ever.
[ MORE: The case for firing Klinsmann after a loss ]
So this match, being meaningful and testing his unbeaten mark vs Mexico, is going to be a clarion call for U.S. Soccer fans. Barring a cataclysmic loss in horrific blowout fashion, he won’t be canned. But a win will be validation for his supporters while a loss would cue a genuine hot seat. And for his detractors, already foaming at the mouth from the words of icon Landon Donovan? Kablammo.