Jose Mourinho slams West Ham’s “football from another century” as Hammers frustrate Chelsea

14 Comments

Following Chelsea’s 0-0 stalemate with West Ham United on Wednesday, eccentric manager Jose Mourinho has had plenty to say about the Hammers negative tactics.

First, the facts.

Chelsea out-shot West Ham 39-1. They had 72 percent of the possession. The final score… 0-0.

Despite a barrage of pressure, countless shots and the lion’s share of possession, Chelsea just couldn’t break down a stubborn West Ham defense that barely left their own half of the field during the entire 90 minutes. An inspired performance from Hammers ‘keeper Adrian kept out John Terry, Frank Lampard and Samuel Eto’o in the second half, as Chelsea head into their next game against Manchester City knowing a defeat will leave them six points off the Citizens and top spot in the PL.

Sam Allardyce’s side parked the bus, Mourinho style, at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday as anti-football won against Chelsea’s attacking endeavors. In fact the Blues’ tally of 39 shots in a game without scoring is the most by any Premier League team since the 2003-04 season.

(MORE: Chelsea 0-0 West Ham United – Blues slip up in the title race)

But Mourinho, sporting a face like thunder throughout, complained massively about West Ham’s tactics… even though he himself is the master of grinding out 0-0 wins away from home.

What’s that saying again? Something about the ‘pot calling the kettle black…’

“I was frustrated since the first minute. I wanted to discuss decisions during the game [with the fourth official] ,” Mourinho said. “West Ham were trying to win time with everything. With their substitutions they were taking a long time. It was football from another century. The result is not a good result. They defended with their hearts – I respect that and praise that. I don’t think with matches like this we can sell Premier League across the world. My team did everything possible.”

source: AP
Eto’o was just one of Chelsea’s players thwarted by a stubborn West Ham defense.

So, here we have it. The ‘King of anti-football’ is criticizing Allardyce’s West Ham side for doing just that.

Surely Mourinho isn’t being serious?

Already this season he’s set his sides up to frustrate Arsenal and Manchester United away from home and both times his team have gained the 0-0 draw they were looking for. I’ve watched both live, trust me, those games were boring as hell to watch but Chelsea got the point they wanted.

So Mourinho, of all people, should not be lambasting West Ham for employing the very tactics that have helped to make him so successful and widely regarded as the most tactically astute manager in the global game. He loves to attack too, at times, but his ultra-defensive approach and ability to frustrate the opposition, when he wants to, has almost become his trademark over the years.

Look, we all get annoyed and say things we don’t mean.

Mourinho spent two hours of his life watching his expensively assembled, and extremely talented side, hit their heads against a solid brick wall made out of Claret and Blue. West Ham defended as if their lives depended on, throwing their bodies on the line time and time again. Add to that, it was in the pouring rain in West London and in front of his own fans. One more factor probably got right up the nose of the Portuguese boss: West Ham’s manager Allardyce stood in the technical with a grin like a Cheshire cat on his face throughout it all.

Speaking after, Allardyce was delighted to beat Mourinho at his own game.

“Good old Jose, moaning again,” Allardyce laughed. “He can’t take it can he. He can’t take it because we’ve out-tacticed him, out-witted him. He just can’t cope. It’s brilliant when you get a result against him! I love Chelsea moaning.”

We haven’t heard the last of this feud, as Mourinho has been ‘out-Mourinhoed’ by Mr. Allardyce and his Happy Hammers.

Jose will not be smiling.

But can he really moan about negative tactics after his side couldn’t quell them? Give me a break.

Transfer Rumors: Seri to Arsenal; Vagnoman to Chelsea

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Nice’s Jean Seri is reportedly Unai Emery’s first target as Arsenal boss.

A report from the Daily Mail states that Seri, 26, is available for $46 million and although both Chelsea and Borussia Dortmund are interested, the Ivorian midfielder is a long-time target of the new Arsenal boss.

[ MORE: Top takeaways from Emery’s unveiling

Seri almost signed for Barcelona in the past and Emery tried to sign him in January while he was in charge of PSG.

The defensive midfielder is in the N'Golo Kante mould, but slightly more attack-minded than Kante. He has an incredible engine, exceptional reading of the game and is able to protect the ball while also starting attacks with surging runs on the ball. Yep, that’s the type of player who would thrive at Arsenal.

Seri’s arrival would also be much-needed following Santi Cazorla leaving after a two-year injury nightmare, plus Jack Wilshere out of contract on July 1 and likely to leave the Gunners. With Granit Xhaka‘s big-money arrival never quite working out, especially defensively, Seri could be a key part of the jigsaw in Emery’s rebuild as he can keep the ball and also spark the new high-pressing style the Spaniard wants to say.


Teenage defender Josha Vagnoman is being linked with a move to Chelsea, Arsenal and Everton, according to multiple outlets.

A report from ESPN states that the 17-year-old Hamburg full back (the second youngest player in Bundesliga history) will move on this summer and clubs across Europe are lining up to sign the German youth international as his contract with recently relegated Hamburg ends in July.

Vagnoman is interesting Borussia Dortmund, Bayern Munich and RB Leipzig but the report claims Arsenal have the edge due to their new head of recruitment, Sven Mislintat, keeping a close eye on his countryman over the years. Vagnoman is able to play left or right back.

Joining the likes of Arsenal, Bayern and Chelsea would likely mean a few years in the reserve squad for Vagnoman, while he could well play soon for either Dortmund or Leipzig given their penchant for giving youth a chance in their first team.

Argentina goalkeeper Romero out of World Cup with injury

Getty Images
Leave a comment

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (AP) Argentina goalkeeper Sergio Romero will miss the World Cup because of a right knee injury.

The Argentine soccer federation says the Manchester United reserve may need surgery.

Romero was one of the three goalkeepers chosen by Argentina coach Jorge Sampaoli for the 23-player squad he will take to the World Cup in Russia. Franco Armani and Wilfredo Caballero were also named in the squad.

Romero was a starter for Argentina at the 2010 and 2014 World Cups.

The federation says Sampaoli will announce a substitute for Romero in the coming days.

VIDEO: Brandi Chastain explains Hall of Fame plaque blunder

Getty Images
2 Comments

Brandi Chastain had a strange day on Monday.

The U.S. women’s national team legend, who won two Olympic golds and two World Cups during her iconic playing career, was inducted into the Bay Area Sports Hall of Fame.

But when she unveiled her plaque, well, it got weird. Really weird.

Instead of a bronze image of Chastain’s face on the plaque, there was an image of what looks like an elderly man grimacing. Several media outlets have speculated as to who the face on the plaque actually is, with Gary Busey, Louie Anderson, John Goodman, a hint of Bill Belichick, and Mickey Rooney frontrunners according to Deadspin.

Take a look at the video below as Chastain appeared on the Jimmy Kimmel show to explain what happened.

Needless to say, the Bay Area Sports Hall of Fame are going to get Chastain’s plaque redone.


Key takeaways: Emery’s first Arsenal press conference

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Unai Emery was unveiled as the new head coach of Arsenal on Wednesday and the Spanish coach spoke to the media at the Emirates Stadium soon after the news was official.

[ MORE: Emery “first choice” ]

The former PSG, Sevilla and Valencia coach spoke in limited English and answered some questions in his native tongue as he explained his vision for the Gunners AW (after Wenger) while sat alongside Arsenal CEO Ivan Gazidis.

Below is a look at five key takeaways from Emery’s first presser as Arsenal officially have a new boss for the first time in almost 22 years.


Emery was Arsenal’s “first-choice” replacement for Wenger

Gazidis revealed that there was an eight-man shortlist for the job and all eight were interviewed and kept their hats into the ring until the end. Emery was also the unanimous “first choice” selection and was interviewed on May 10 before being recommended to the board on May 18, then flying to Atlanta, Georgia, on May 22 to meet with Stan and Josh Kroenke before meeting the media. The fact that Mikel Arteta had seemed such a strong contender until Monday was perhaps a smokescreen before Emery was selected. The Spaniard has an impressive resume and no coach in Europe has won more than his eight major trophies in the last five years, which included three successive Europa League titles at Sevilla. At the age of 48 he has worked at huge clubs with big expectations and has delivered at each, apart from PSG being chucked out of the Champions League last 16 to Barcelona and Real Madrid in the last two seasons.


The style of play will remain similar but “intensive pressing” will arrive

And this is maybe the main reason why Emery was first choice. Tactically Emery is quite different to the style Wenger created at Arsenal and there can be some clear, and healthy, progression while still sticking with the possession-based style.

Asked about Arsenal’s possession-based game and some of the counter-attacking tactics he has used during his career, Emery seems keen to not tweak too much with the way the team plays currently but he is further aligned to the likes of Jurgen Klopp and Mauricio Pochettino with the way he sets his teams up.

“In my career I am very demanding of myself as well as the people at the club and the players. The history here is one thing, they love to play with possession of the ball,” Emery said. “I like this personality and when we don’t have the ball I want a squad to play with intensive pressure. Two important things are position of the ball and pressing when you haven’t got it.”

High-pressing with plenty of possession? Sign me up to watch that.


There will be funds to spend

In the media there’s been a figure of around $75 million being available for Emery to spend this summer on building a new squad. Although Gazidis wouldn’t confirm if that was true, he did state the following when it comes to money being spent on new players.

“We don’t discuss our finances publicly but we run ourselves on a very clear and transparent model. Anyone who wants to look at our accounts can do so. All of the money has always been available to our manager and that will carry on,” Gazidis said.

Okay, that was a little tetchy but it does mean there should be some significant funds available to spend if the past two years are anything to go by with Granit Xhaka, Shkodran Mustafi, Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang all arriving. Emery’s main area of concern will be in central midfield and in central defense, so, not much changes in terms of their main needs, recruitment wise.


Small changes to the squad are coming up

When asked if the likes of Jack Wilshere will stick around despite being out of contract on July 1, Emery was quite eager to focus on the bigger picture.

That said, the Spanish coach said that there will be changes but didn’t seem to think plenty of ins and outs were needed.

“We think we need change, little things, a little players but I don’t want to talk individually about the players. This is a big team and today I want to work and speak globally for the squad,” Emery said. “This is a big project and I am proud to be here and to work after Arsene Wenger. We want to work on this club together. I know my ambition and my passion and to know how I want to grow up with Arsenal. All the conversations I have had with the club shows we share the same vision for the club.”

Emery hailed Mesut Ozil as “one of the biggest talents at Arsenal” but you have to wonder if Ozil and others will align with Emery’s tactics as he enjoys setting up solid defensively and hitting opponents on the counter.


His English isn’t great, which may be a good thing

Props to Emery for having a go at speaking in English and taking questions but it is clear that it will take quite some time for the Spaniard to express himself fully in the English language. And that may actually work in his advantage. Remember Mauricio Pochettino at Southampton, then Tottenham? The Argentine didn’t have a single press conference in English for his first 18 months in the Premier League and that allowed him to absorb the culture and feel his way into the PL. Emery is already way ahead of Pochettino in that respect and even if Arsenal’s fans are looking for instant answers in every single press conference, it’s unlikely Emery will deliver them simply because he has yet to master the English language. That could well lead to more patience from fans (these are Arsenal fans though) and Emery will be able to give simpler answers due to the fact that he won’t be able to understand what a lot of journalists are asking. Or at least that’s the way he can play it when tough questions come around early on…