Arséne Wenger embarrassed for Chelsea over “silly and disrespectful” José Mourinho

Leave a comment

José Mourinho’s five years away from Premier League soccer left many fans pining for the Special One’s return, with the Portuguese boss’s penchant for press conference theatrics giving his teams a level of entertainment off the field he’s unable to match on. But that entertainment is often derived from an abrasive and disrespectful way of addressing his fellow coaches, a derision that surfaced last week when he called Arsenal manager Arsène Wenger a “specialist in failure.”

For Arsenal’s Sunday victory over Liverpool – a 2-1 result that cast the Gunners into the FA Cup quarterfinals — Wenger had his opportunity to respond. Via The Guardian:

“I am embarrassed for him. Honestly. I didn’t speak about him at all in my press conference and I have no more to say. Let’s focus on things that are worth it, on football. I am more disappointed for Chelsea than for me. I don’t want to get into those silly disrespectful remarks.”

To a certain extent, Wenger’s was a predictable response, but he also was able to make his feelings know without escalating. Like Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini — another recent target of Mourinho’s gibes — Wenger’s gave a minimal response and elected to move on. Given the media savvy of their adversary, neither Pellegrini nor Wenger want to be draw into a battle they can’t win.

That doesn’t mean Mourinho’s right. On the contrary, with each unprovoked swipe at respected managers like Pellegrini and Wenger, his media tactics look more cynical – the product of a playbook written to exploit the English media, regardless of whether his comments ring true. Guaranteed to get his words into the headlines of every major English outlet, Mourinho can create a scrutiny free zone around his team and players, drawing attention to himself before deflecting it onto another team.

Even when that doesn’t work, we’re left debating the nature of his tactics. Chelsea’s subpar performances against West Brom and Manchester City get a pass from all but the most ardent fans – people so ensconced in the Blues’ day-to-day that they tune out Mourinho’s nonsense.

I’ve asked before: When are we going to have enough of José Mourinho? It seems a hypocritical question considering my byline’s attached to yet another reaction piece. Once the culture around the Premier League has had enough, however, I’ll happily go back to talking about the games. As long as we want to talk about Mourinho, we’ll continue to be complicit in the Chelsea boss’s game.

It’s too bad, too. There’s enough drama in the Premier League to spend all day talking about the title race – one of the best in the league’s short history. Instead, we’re allowing Mourinho to persist with this ridiculous sideshow.

It’s only been six months, but Mourinho’s already managed to cast himself at the center of the Premier League universe. England’s welcomed this back with open arms.

VIDEO: Toivonen chips Neuer; Germany on brink of elimination

Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Germany, the defending world champions, have their backs firmly pressed against the wall, less than an hour away from elimination, in just their second game of Group F play at the 2018 World Cup. As of this moment, they’re set to be eliminated with one game still to play.

Click here for live and on demand coverage of the World Cup online and via the NBC Sports App.

After losing to Mexico in the opener, Joachim Loew’s side now trails Sweden in game no. 2, just shy of 45 minutes on the clock. As of right now, Mexico and Sweden (six points each) would go through to the knockout rounds, and Germany and South Korea (zero points) would go home.

Die Mannschaft were utterly dominant for the game’s first 30 minutes, holding more than 75 percent of possession, until Ola Toivonen, who scored all of two goals for Ligue 1 side Toulouse this season, got in behind the German backline and dinked the ball over the head of Manuel Neuer for the game’s opening goal.

Report: Player “coup” has Sampaoli on the outs at Argentina

AP Photo/Ricardo Mazalan
1 Comment

The Argentina men’s national team has been a mess for some time, with Lionel Messi retiring the last time controversy reared its ugly ahead, but this is something else.

[ MORE: Latest 2018 World Cup news ] 

Reports out of Argentina say manager Jorge Sampaoli has lost the team, who is now making decisions on their own ahead of their World Cup group stage finale against Nigeria.

Argentina drew Iceland in its opener before being embarrassed in a 3-0 defeat to Croatia in the second match, one in which Sampaoli’s lineup choice, tactics, and in-match decisions were skewered in the media.

Sergio Aguero was among the players to bristle at talk of the coach after the game.

This just hours after Sampaoli’s lineup to face Nigeria was “leaked” via training ground photos on Saturday.

More to come…

MLS weekend preview: Busy Saturday following the World Cup

Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images
Leave a comment

You won’t have to wait too long after the final World Cup game of Saturday to get more soccer.

Major League Soccer is back with a busy night of fixtures.

[ RECAP: Mexico 2-1 South Korea ]

Here are some 1-2 liners to get prepared for what’s in store.

Philadelphia Union vs. Vancouver Whitecaps — 5 p.m. ET

Carl Robinson’s rising visitors will hope the inconsistent side of the Union hits the field in Pennsylvania.

New York Red Bulls vs. FC Dallas — 6 p.m. ET

Dallas’ seven-match unbeaten run includes four-straight wins, but RBNY has not lost at home since late April.

Orlando City vs. Montreal Impact — 7:30 p.m. ET

Orlando has not gained a point of its last available 18, while Montreal is slowly finding form.

Sporting KC vs. Houston Dynamo — 8:30 p.m. ET

The Western leaders host a Houston side with a tough 1-3-3 mark away from home.

Colorado Rapids vs. Minnesota United — 9 p.m. ET

Two-win Colorado has been much better at home than away, and the Loons can’t afford to give the Rapids win No. 3 if they want to stay in the playoff picture.

Real Salt Lake vs. San Jose Earthquakes — 10 p.m. ET

Real has won six of seven at Rio Tinto, and San Jose has just two wins this season (So, MLS rules dictate this will go in the Quakes’ win column).

Seattle Sounders vs. Chicago Fire — 10 p.m. ET

The Sounders’ awful season gets a Chicago with points in five of six.

LAFC vs. Columbus Crew — 10:30 p.m. ET

Traveling across the country without Carlos Vela and beating a very solid Crew side is asking a lot of Bob Bradley‘s expansion side.


Atlanta United vs. Portland Timbers — 4:30 p.m. ET Sunday

Gio Savarese has manufactured some fine away performances for Portland, but this is a long flight and a tall ask in a possible MLS Cup Final preview.

NYCFC vs. Toronto FC — 5 p.m. ET Sunday

TFC has yet to climb back into the East’s Top Six, but will like its chances to make a statement against Patrick Vieira-less NYCFC on the postage stamp pitch at Yankee Stadium.

WATCH: Spurs’ Son scores sensational consolation goal for South Korea

Photo by Jan Kruger/Getty Images
Leave a comment

South Korea has not had a good World Cup, but the Taegeuk Warriors have a fine goal for their tournament highlight reel.

[ RECAP: Mexico 2-1 South Korea ]

Tottenham Hotspur star Heung-Min Son was frustrated by Mexico’s stifling defense for most of the day, but El Tri had little hope of stopping his stoppage time stunner.

Son took a lay-off and then used a pick into his yard of space to rip into a shot in the third minute of extra time.

South Korea must hope for Germany to beat Sweden, then for Mexico to beat Sweden while it beats Germany and builds goals for tiebreakers.

As unlikely as that is, at least Son had this moment.