Jose Mourinho: “Cesc Fabregas is the future of Chelsea”

2 Comments

Chelsea’s $50 million signing of Cesc Fabregas has gone somewhat under the radar this summer as the former Arsenal star signed from Barcelona back in June.

[RELATED: PL season previews]

Since then the Spanish international has settled back into life in London remarkably well and has now been dubbed as “the future” of Chelsea by his new boss Jose Mourinho.

High praise indeed.

With Frank Lampard leaving Stamford Bridge this summer after a decade of dominance in West London, Mourinho believes Fabregas is the perfect replacement and can drive the Blues on from central midfield this season and beyond.

Speaking to Chelsea’s club website, this is what the ‘Special One’ had to say regarding Fabregas.

“Frank is the history of the club, history nobody can forget. Fabregas is the future; history is history but the future is more important at the moment,” Mourinho said. “My opinion, and the opinion of my players, is that Fabregas is the right player to occupy that central position in midfield.”

It is hard to argue with Mourinho and it is hard to believe that Fabregas is still only 27. After eight seasons with Arsenal the skillful Spaniard returned home to Barcelona and scored 42 goals and added 48 assists in three seasons at the Nou Camp. For whatever reason Fabregas was deemed surplus to requirement by new Barca boss Luis Enrique this summer and despite having their past differences while Mourinho was in charge of Real Madrid in La Liga, Chelsea jumped at the chance to make Fabregas their main man in midfield.

His quality on the ball, ability to score goals and also sit in a defensive role mean Fabregas will become a key player for Chelsea. Mourinho will use him in a central attacking role and the fact that he knows the PL so well means he should slot right back into the pace and power of the PL.

During preseason Fabregas has impressed. Just watch the vine below of the game-winning goal he scored for Chelsea as they beat Hungarian side Ferencvaros 2-1 on Sunday. Yeah, get used to that in a Chelsea shirt this season and for the foreseeable future. Cesc is back, baby.

Henry, Aguero discuss playing up top under Pep

Photo by Manuel Queimadelos Alonso/Getty Images
Leave a comment

One great striker got another one to open up on an up-and-down year at Manchester City.

Thierry Henry — one of the greatest of all-time, it must be said — sat down with Sergio Aguero ahead of Thursday’s Manchester Derby at the Etihad Stadium, and asked the Argentine about Pep Guardiola, Gabriel Jesus, and more.

[ PL PREVIEW: Manchester Derby ]

At times, it’s a fascinating discussion on playing lone striker. Even apart from the obligatory questions regarding Jesus’ arrival at City, Henry and Aguero speak their craft in a manner you don’t see too often.

That’s helped by the fact that Henry played for Guardiola at Barcelona, and can relate to the positional demands of Man City’s boss. Consider this exchange, from Sky Sports:

HENRY: When I was at Arsenal, I played up front and if I wanted to drift out to the left, I could. But when I got to Barca, I had to stay out wide and press. Sometimes doing that can be hard.

AGUERO: The thing I’ve found the hardest has been getting into my head the fact that I have to press the centre-back and the goalkeeper in matches. That’s what Pep asks me to do. It may not be a big deal, but in terms of processing it, the two of us speak a lot. He knows what I’m like.

I’ve been gradually learning and adapting to that style of pressing over the last few months. The first thing he taught me was how to press and how to do it well. Obviously there are times when I might drift out of position or I might press in an area where I’m not supposed to be, which might make it hard for the wingers or midfielders.

In the game itself, I may not realise because I’m so immersed and you can’t stop yourself. I’ve learnt a lot from him in terms of zones. He asks me to play as a No 9 and to stay in that position. I often drift out wide during matches and he looks at me and says, “If there’s a player out wide who wants to cross it in, who’s in there? Nobody.”

HENRY: I know all about that, believe you me.

I love this, because it shows how difficult it is for an elite striker to adapt his mentality. Both Henry and Aguero found world-celebrated success by playing in a certain fashion, and Guardiola understood that and still demanded a change. Earlier this season, the manager somewhat famously spoke of improving Aguero.

Aguero has been linked with Real Madrid given the tumult at City.

PHOTO: Liverpool unveils 125th anniversary kit for next season

Liverpoolfc.com
2 Comments

Liverpool rolled out its 125th anniversary kit, featuring a special crest to celebrate the occasion.

The Liver bird has 1892 on one side and 2017 on the other, with “125 YEARS” spelled out underneath the club’s emblem.

[ PL PREVIEW: Manchester Derby ]

The red shirt with a gold crest has a white V-neck and white at the ends of the sleeves. The goalkeeper kit is green.

The jersey will be available on May 19, and was announced last month.

liverpoolfc.com

Jara’s goal lifts Pachuca to CONCACAF Champions League crown

AP Photo/Eduardo Verdugo
Leave a comment

Hirving Lozano’s dipping shot rebounded into the path of Franco Jara, who scored the goal that won Pachuca its fifth CONCACAF Championship early Thursday morning.

The Argentine’s goal was the only one of the win over UANL Tigres, and gave Pachuca its first continental title since 2009-10. USMNT veteran Omar Gonzalez played for the winners, while Jose Torres started for Tigres.

[ PL PREVIEW: Manchester Derby ]

Major League Soccer teams were eliminated in the semifinals, with FC Dallas falling to Pachuca and Vancouver Whitecaps losing to Tigres.

Beginning with the 2017-18 tournament, qualified MLS and Liga MX teams will not enter the tournament until the Round of 16. The entire tournament will be held in the same calendar year.

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.