Arsene Wenger: Premier League title is “Chelsea’s to lose”

Leave a comment

Okay Arsene, starting up the mind games I see. Get stuck in.

Arsenal manage Arsene Wenger gave Jose Mourinho a taste of his own medicine on Friday, as the Gunners boss stated that Chelsea are the favorites for the Premier League crown.

Recently Mourinho has been playing down talks of a title heading to Stamford Bridge, saying it was Manchester City’s to lose and then saying Liverpool have the advantage as they don’t have the UEFA Champions League to worry about.

But when asked who he thought is in the driving seat to take the PL crown, Wenger turned the tables on the ‘Special One.’

“It is very open, only Chelsea can lose it now because they are in front and all the other teams can win it,” Wenger said. “I’ve always said many teams are in it and it will be very tight until the end.”

(Latest Premier League Standings)

Chelsea are one point ahead of Arsenal in second, three points ahead of Manchester City in third and four points ahead of Liverpool in fourth. As Wenger said, many teams are in this.

So why single out Chelsea and mention them specifically?

Wenger is just playing some mind games of his own, and trying to relieve the pressure on his side who have been right up there at the summit since the start of the season. However Arsenal have been looking a little leggy in their last two performances, a 5-1 defeat at Liverpool and Wednesday’s 0-0 draw against Manchester United. They now face Liverpool in the FA Cup on Sunday, and then Bayern Munich in the Champions League on Wednesday.

(MORE: Mourinho plays down Chelsea going top, how long will he keep doing this?)

With a big seven days coming up for the Gunners, Wenger is trying to quell chat that they are the favorites and is instead piling more pressure on Chelsea. But the French manager has insisted that his team are capable of winning trophies this season and unlike many of his rivals, Wenger admits a “fear to fail” is what’s driving Mourinho and other managers into playing down their own teams titles chances.

Will the Frenchman’s tactic work? Let’s wait and see what Jose has to say about this…

USMNT: Brooks out with hip strain; World Cup qualifiers loom

AP Photo/Michael Sohn
Leave a comment

John Brooks is out of Hertha Berlin’s lineup “for the time being” after scans revealed a hip strain suffered in this weekend’s win over Wolfsburg.

That’s all Hertha has said, and that makes it hard to imagine whether American fans should be a little concerned or very concerned ahead of the USMNT’s World Cup qualifiers against Mexico, and Trinidad and Tobago in early June.

Brooks was unavailable for two weeks with an adductor strain in September, missing a month before returning to the starting lineup.

The U.S. center back pool isn’t teeming after Brooks and Geoff Cameron. Matt Besler, Tim Ream, Omar Gonzalez, and Walker Zimmerman were called up for the last World Cup qualifiers, and Gonzalez struggled but is a Bruce Arena favorite from their time in L.A.

WATCH: Snazzy Sargent goal leads U.S. U-17s past Mexico

twitter.com/_joshsargent_
Leave a comment

Josh Sargent scored a pretty goal as the United States Soccer program had another banner day against Mexico.

Nearly two months to the day after the U.S. U-20 side beat Mexico for the first time in 31 years, the U.S. U-17 topped El Tri for the first time ever. That win snapped Mexico’s 25-match unbeaten streak.

[ PL PREVIEW: Manchester Derby ]

The goal is the first of Sargent’s two goals, as the 16-year-old latched onto a long diagonal ball and used his right foot and head to move the ball into position for a strong shot.

The U.S. clinches a spot in the next round of U-17 World Cup qualifying with one match remaining in group play.

Sargent is from St. Louis and plays with Scott Gallagher-Missouri. Former Philadelphia Union coach John Hackworth coaches the U.S. U-17s.

Heads of South American soccer sent $128M in bank transfers

AP Photo/Esteban Felix
Leave a comment

SANTIAGO, Chile (AP) The leaders of South America’s soccer confederation transferred $128.6 million between 2000 and 2015 to personal accounts, suspicious accounts, or unauthorized third-party accounts, according to an audit released Wednesday by Ernst & Young.

According to the audit presented to the annual CONMEBOL congress in the Chilean capital, the confederation’s former president Nicolas Leoz transferred $26.9 million to his personal accounts. Leoz was the president for 27 years until resigning in 2013 for what he said were health reasons.

The audit also found $58 million in payments “to third parties without adequate documentation,” payments of $33.3 million to “unidentified accounts,” and $10.4 million to “suspicious third-parties.”

[ PL PREVIEW: Manchester Derby ]

“We had said that we would have four pillars, and the first two pillars were clear accounts and accountability,” said Alejandro Dominguez, the president of CONMEBOL who commissioned the audit last year. “Today we are accountable to the leaders and the whole world of football.”

Leoz, 88, is one of three ex-presidents of CONMEBOL accused on corruption charges by the United States Department of Justice. He is in Paraguay fighting extradition to the United States.

The South American body has been plagued by corruption, which was exposed two years ago during the FIFA scandal. Leoz’s two successors, Eugenio Figueredo and Juan Angel Napout, were both arrested on corruption charges.

“I’m here, I’m the manager” – Moyes will not quit Sunderland

Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images
Leave a comment

This has been one horrible stretch for David Moyes.

The Sunderland manager probably thought he’d been through the worst once he left Real Sociedad, where he went 12-15-15.

But he’s managed just seven wins and seven draws in 38 matches in charge of the Black Cats — an 18 percent win mark. He’s also been charged for threatening to slap a female journalist.

[ PL PREVIEW: Manchester Derby ]

And after Wednesday, Moyes has lost both of his derby matches against Middlesbrough.

Sunderland is 12 points back of safety with five matches left. The odds the Black Cats are headed for the Championship are somewhere north of 99 percent, and fans are calling for his job.

Well, he isn’t quitting. From the BBC:

“No, I’m here, I’m the manager, you take it on the chin. … I’m a football supporter, I know what it’s like. You don’t like seeing your team lose.

“There is nobody who wants to win more than me. I am used to winning, I’m not used to losing and I don’t want to get used to it either.”