Jose Mourinho’s ‘door is open’ if Juan Mata wants to leave Chelsea

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Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho claims the “door is open” for Juan Mata to leave Stamford Bridge in the January transfer window.

Handed a precious start in yesterday’s 3-0 win over Southampton, Mata was unable to capitalize on the opportunity and was substituted off the pitch just eight minutes into the second half.

At the time, the score was 0-0 and the Blues were struggling to unlock the Saints. Those problems were immediately addressed by Mata’s replacement, Oscar, who injected the match with creativity and controversy as he burst by Southampton keeper Kelvin Davis but was booked for a dive.

The Brazilian then went on to dominate the match, having a hand in goals by Fernando Torres and Willian while cooly finishing one of his own.

Mata, meanwhile, displayed unusual frustration after being withdrawn in the 53rd minute. When his number came up in lights he flung his arms up in the direction of the touchline where Mourinho was standing and did not shake the boss’ hand as he left the pitch. Before taking his seat with a look of disgust Mata needed to be corralled by fellow teammate Michael Essien.

For Mata, the incident marks the most recent chapter in turbulent times since the arrival of Mourinho. Before the first ball was kicked last August there were rumblings that Mata didn’t fit into Mourinho’s plans and that proved to be the case when the Portuguese gaffer claimed Oscar and Mata were too similar to play together.

Over time Mata – who is a fan favorite at Stamford Bridge and last year was shortlisted for player of the year in the league – has been given opportunities but they’ve been few and far between, just 13 appearances in 20 matches.

The demotion has visibly dented Mata’s confidence and with the January transfer window now open, many believe he is one of the top targets who could move.

“I want to keep him,” Mourinho said following the win. “I don’t want him to go. That is my opinion, my wish, but my door is open.

“The club’s door is open too, so when a player wants to speak to us we are there waiting for them. If you are asking do you want the club to sell him, no – I don’t want to.”

Mourinho played down the apparent dissent displayed by Mata following his substitution.

“I think his frustration was because of the result because we knew we had to win,” Mourinho added. “If we don’t win this game the difference to the leaders is bigger.

“When he came off the team was losing two points, so I think his frustration was about that. At the end of the game everybody, including him, was happy in the dressing room and everybody was celebrating the victory.”

The Evening Standard now claims that Paris Saint-Germain could make a £30M move for Mata as the playmaker fears his place on Spain’s roster may be in doubt without regular football.

Leicester City’s Rodgers: Gruesome Ndidi injury could cost him 12 weeks

Ndidi injury
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For every team, there’s an indispensible player and it’s difficult to argue against Leicester City’s player being Wilfred Ndidi.

The groin injury that kept the Nigerian out of Leicester’s 2-0 home loss to Arsenal in the League Cup could require surgery, said Foxes boss Brendan Rodgers after the game.

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One of the game’s top destroyers, Ndidi had played two matches at center back as Leicester opened the season 2-0.

Rodgers could hardly have made the injury sound more painful.

From The Leicester Mercury:

“We’re just waiting to hear more on that but it could be anything between six and 12 weeks,” Rodgers said. “It’s a groin abductor which may have come off the bone, which is quite a nasty one. We’re waiting to see if he needs an operation or not. If he does, it will be at least 12 weeks.”

Leicester missed Ndidi for five-of-six games in early 2020 and went 2D-3L, starting a skid that ended up costing them Champions League football.

The 23-year-old already has 34 caps for Nigeria.

The Foxes have Nampalys Mendy, Hamza Choudhury, and Daniel Amartey amongst their defensive midfield options.

They next face Man City, West Ham, Aston Villa, and Arsenal in Premier League play. Leicester will learn its Europa League group on Oct. 2 before beginning its UEL run the week of Oct. 22.

Champions League: Six-goal thriller in Norway; Marsch’s Salzburg lead

Champions League qualifying
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The UEFA Champions League qualifying playoff round is delivering entertainment, with six first legs dotting the European landscape over the past 27 hours.

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American coach Jesse Marsch saw his Red Bull Salzburg take a first leg advantage home from Israel, while U.S. right back Henry Wingo and Molde played the game of the round so far against Hungary’s Ferencvaros.


Maccabi Tel-Aviv 1-2 Red Bull Salzburg

The Austrian visitors were heavy favorites, especially with the hosts dealing with positive COVID-19 tests, but Maccabi took a ninth-minute lead through Dan Biton.

But young Dominik Szoboszlai’s Man of the Match showing began with a goal in the 49th minute and Masaya Okugawan gave Salzburg the lead eight minutes later ahead of next week’s second leg in Austria.

Molde 3-3 Ferencvaros

A thriller in Norway saw the hosts erase a 2-0 deficit only to hand a big away goals advantage to the Hungarian visitors with minutes to play.

Ferencvaros scored early in each half through Franck Boli and Myrto Uzuni. Both goals were set up by Endre Botka and Ferencvaros looked set to cruise through the first leg.

Molde snapped awake through former Manchester United, Cardiff City, and Seattle Sounders man Magnus Wolff Eikrem, who set up Leke James in the 55th minute before scoring a classy goal that was started on the right flank by fellow ex-Sounder and American export Henry Wingo.

Martin Ellingsen gave Molde its first lead in the 83rd, but Ihor Kharatin made it 3-3 four minutes later to send Ferencvaros back to Hungary with three away goals. A draw any less insane would be enough for them to head to the group stage.

Elsewhere

Gent 1-2 Dynamo Kiev
Olympiakos 2-0 Omonia Nicosia
Krasnodar 2-1 PAOK
Slavia Prague 0-0 Midtjylland

Second legs

Sept. 29
Ferencvaros v Molde
Dynamo Kiev v Gent
Omonia v Olympiakos

Sept. 30 
Midtjylland v Slavia Prague
PAOK v Krasnodar
Red Bull Salzburg v Maccabi Tel-Aviv

League Cup: Havertz hat trick as Chelsea scores 6, Newcastle hits 7

League Cup scores
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There were few surprises to be found in the League Cup, one day after several eyebrow-raising results in the tournament’s third round.

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Morecambe 0-7 Newcastle United

The League Two side was absolutely hammered by a Newcastle team who must’ve been read the riot act after a sleepy home loss to Brighton in weekend Premier League action.

It was already 4-0 when Morecambe’s Toumani Diagouraga was sent off. Joelinton scored twice and three players had a goal and an assist (Jamaal Lascelles, Jacob Murphy, and Miguel Almiron).

USMNT defender DeAndre Yedlin started at left back and set up an Isaac Hayden goal, with Matt Ritchie picking up an assist on Newcastle’s sixth of the game. An own goal rounded out the scoring.

A visit to League Two’s Newport County is next, and Steve Bruce’s men would be expected to win and find a spot in December’s quarterfinals. Halcyon days, or something.

Leicester City 0-2 Arsenal

A Christian Fuchs own goal finally helped Arsenal onto the scoreboard, though the Gunners were good money for the win.

The Foxes had an excellent goal mouth clearance from Wes Morgan with about 20 minutes to play, but could not find the equalizer.

Eddie Nketiah grimaced that he didn’t get to tap in the pass that Fuchs directed into his own goal, but got his marker in the 90th.

If Liverpool handles its business against Lincoln City this weekend, the Reds and Gunners will square off twice in four days (or less)

Chelsea 6-0 Barnsley

Kai Havertz scored his first Chelsea goal and hat trick, all assisted by Tammy Abraham, as the Blues made short work of their Championship visitors.

Havertz’s first Chelsea goal was one of two first-half markers and his second iced the contest.

Abraham scored in the 19th minute. Eight minutes later, he let Mount’s pass set Havertz up for a classy snap finish.

Ross Barkley scored in the 49th and Abraham got his second assist of Havertz six minutes later. His third came in the 65th minute and was followed by Havertz leaving the pitch to hand Ben Chilwell a Blues debut.

Chilwell didn’t disappoint, setting up Olivier Giroud for the match’s final goal.

Preston North End 0-2 Brighton

Graham Potter’s rotation allowed some talented players to showcase themselves away to a Championship side.

Alireza Jahanbakhsh and Alexis Mac Allister were the goal scorers as the Seagulls outshot PNE 11-4 to set up a match next week with Manchester United, who they meet this weekend in the PL.

Millwall 0-2 Burnley

As cagey as you’d expect from these two, with the Premier League visitors’ class a bit too much for the Championship’s Lions.

Josh Brownhill and Matej Vydra scored for Sean Dyche’s men with Matthew Lowton and Chris Wood collecting assists.

Burnley will face Man City or Bournemouth in the fourth round.

Fulham 2-0 Sheffield Wednesday

It was as tight as you’d expect from two sides who shared Championship scraps last season.

Aboubakar Kamara and Bobby Reid scored in the first 32 minutes to supply the Cottagers a fourth-round date at West London rivals Brentford in a rematch of the promotion playoff final.

Americans Tim Ream and Antonee Robinson both went the distance in the win.

Stoke City 1-0 Gillingham

The Championship side had all of the ball and the only goal, as Tyrese Campbell’s 37th-minute marker was enough to clinch a visit to either Bristol City or Aston Villa.

Fleetwood Town 2-5 Everton

Carlo Ancelotti’s dominant Toffees suffered a brief scare after building a 2-0 lead through a Richalrison double.

Mark Duffy scored in the 48th before Alex Iwobi restored the two-goal lead.

That’s when Jordan Pickford, well, he messed up.

Fortunately for the Toffees, who out-attempted Joey Barton’s Fisherman by a healthy margin, Bernard scored with 17 minutes left to ease any frayed nerves. Moise Kean finished the scoring off a Niels Nkounkou feed.

Everton faces West Ham at Goodison Park in the fourth round.


Next League Cup third round fixtures

All times ET

Thursday
Bristol City v Aston Villa — 2 pm
Lincoln City v Liverpool — 2:45 pm
Manchester City v Bournemouth — 2:45 pm


Previous third round results

Luton Town 0-3 Manchester United
West Ham United 5-1 Hull City
Newport County 3-1 Watford
West Bromwich Albion 2-2 (4-5 pens) Brentford
Leyton Orient v Tottenham Hotspur — postponed


League Cup fourth round draw

Lincoln City/Liverpool v Arsenal
Burnley v Manchester City/Bournemouth
Brentford v Fulham
EvertonWest Ham United
Bristol City/Aston Villa v Stoke City
Leyton Orient/Tottenham v Chelsea
Newport County v Newcastle United
Brighton and Hove Albion v Manchester United

VIDEO: ProSoccerTalk team unfiltered – Review, preview, Power Rankings and more

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ProSoccerTalk is now on video as well as in written format. Unleash the beast, as they say.

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Each week ProSoccerTalk writers Joe Prince-Wright, Nick Mendola and Andy Edwards will tell us what they learned from the Premier League action, rank their top five PL players based on current form, preview the upcoming weekend and handle any other news from around the soccer world.

Expect opinions, analysis and insight, as well as plenty of friendly banter along the way and maybe a beer or two…

Basically, they have these chats on their own anyway so we thought we would record them and let them loose on the Premier League, USMNT and everything in-between. This is going to be a lot of fun and a lighthearted look at all of the action from across the soccer world each week.

With JPW is based in England and heading to Premier League games and traveling to stadiums/ training grounds, plus Andy and Nick based Stateside, we will be checking in with them regularly to get their views on just about anything when it comes to Pro Soccer. Because, well, ProSoccerTalk.

Follow the ProSoccerTalk lads on Twitter below, and click play on the video above to watch ProSocccerTalk this week in full.