A good deal of Jose Mourinho’s recent soundbites have concerned his Chelsea side’s lack of striking options. The site of Samuel Eto’o playing a part in Tuesday’s training, therefore, was a welcome site.
With 11 goals and three assists in all competitions, the Cameroonian striker is Chelsea’s most potent striking option but has been absent from the side since suffering a hamstring strain during the 6-0 victory over Arsenal on March 22nd.
In the three matches since then, Mourinho has handed starts in the #9 role to Fernando Torres and Andre Schurrle, neither of whom made the score sheet. This lack of attacking bite was devastating to Chelsea, losing 0-1 in the league to Crystal Palace – a result that likely cost the Blues the title – and losing 1-3 to Paris Saint Germain – a result that will be incredibly difficult to overturn in the second leg of the Champions League quarter-final on Wednesday.
Granted, Eto’o’s participation on Monday was limited to some stretching and light work with assistant first-team coach Rui Faria but it was marketable progress for a player not fit to travel to the Parc des Princes last week.
Overturning the deficit against PSG remains priority #1 for Mourinho, who admitted that he “may risk” plugging Eto’o in.
“Maybe I will pick him,” Mourinho said. “To risk a player you need to have minimum conditions. If you think he’s going to be out after 10 minutes of the game you can’t take that risk.
“If there is a minimum of conditions of risk, then, yes, I will pick him. We need to score goals. If we don’t score a minimum of two goals, we are out. We know that. If we can have everybody available who can give us a chance to score goals, then let’s do that.
“I wanted Eto’o to be on the bench on Saturday [against Stoke] and play 15 or 20 minutes but he was not fit enough. He did not train with the team on Sunday, so we have to see.”
Struggling Swansea City host high-flying Liverpool (Watch live, 7:30 a.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBC Sports) at the Liberty Stadium on Saturday.
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Swansea haven’t won since the opening day of the season with manager Francesco Guidolin under intense pressure, while Liverpool has won three-straight games in the Premier League as Jurgen Klopp‘s methods are blowing opponents away.
In team news striker Borja Baston makes his first start for Swansea, while Liverpool bring back Dejan Lovren.
Swansea City: Fabianski; Rangel, van der Horn, Amat, Naughton; Britton, Cork, Fer; Routledge, Borja, Sigurdsson. Subs: Nordfeldt, Mawson, Taylor, Fulton, Ki, Barrow, McBurnie
Liverpool: Karius, Clyne, Lovren, Matip, Milner; Henderson, Wijnaldum; Lallana, Mane, Coutinho; Firmino. Subs: Mignolet, Sturridge, Klavan, Moreno, Lucas, Can, Origi
The game in 100 words (or less): With one goal already accomplished for New York City FC this season, Patrick Vieira’s group made positive strides in capturing another on Friday night in Houston. David Villa’s 20th and 21st tallies of the season gave the visitors the lead after halftime and NYCFC managed to hold onto the points from there. With just two matches remaining following the win over the Dynamo, NYCFC currently sits atop the Eastern Conference on 51 points. Meanwhile, the Dynamo remain nine points out of the final spot in the West with four matches to play.
[ MORE: NYCFC’s Vieira gets big praise from Dynamo counterpart ]
Three moments that mattered
27′ — Harrison tests Willis from distance — Chances were at a minimum in the opening stanza, but Joe Willis had to get down quickly here to deny Jack Harrison on this blast.
52′ — Villa hits his 20th on the season — The Dynamo defense won’t be pleased when they watch this one again, but in his typical fashion, David Villa found his way in on goal.
73′ — Saunders watches as Rodriguez hits post — It can be a game of inches at times and the Dynamo were certainly on the wrong end of this one as Raul Rodriguez’s effort struck the post and stayed out.
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Man of the match: David Villa
Goalscorers: David Villa (52′, 90′)
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) The South Korean soccer league deducted nine points from league leader Jeonbuk Hyundai on Friday after one of the club’s employees was convicted of bribing referees in 2013.
The K-League also fined Jeonbuk 100 million won ($90,600). The club, which saw its 14-point lead over second-place FC Seoul reduced to a five-point margin, issued an apology and vowed to take measures to prevent it from happening again.
A court in Busan on Wednesday sentenced a Jeonbuk scout to a suspended prison term of two years for paying referees in exchange for favorable decisions in several league matches in 2013.
An official from Jeonbuk said the scout has been suspended by the team and it will soon make a decision whether to terminate his employment. He refused to be named, citing office rules.
The K-League had vowed reforms after being rocked by a massive match-fixing scandal in 2011, when 52 players were indicted for taking bribes in return for trying to manipulate the outcome of matches or betting their own money on the games.
PARIS (AP) Barcelona defender Jeremy Mathieu has been removed from the France squad for upcoming World Cup qualifiers for an unspecified reason.
[ MORE: What’s Arsenal’s best XI in the Arsene Wenger era? ]
The French football federation gave no explanation for coach Didier Deschamps’s decision to replace Mathieu with Eliaquim Mangala, only saying he made the move “following a discussion” with the Barcelona player. Mangala is currently on a season-long loan at Valencia from Manchester City.
France takes on Bulgaria on Oct. 7 at the Stade de France before traveling to Amsterdam to play the Netherlands three days later in Group A.