Premier League 2015-16 season preview: Chelsea

1 Comment

The reigning Premier League champions will look to defend their title, as Chelsea and Jose Mourinho go for everything in the 2015-16 season.

[ MORE: All of PST’s season previews ]

Chelsea excelled last season, winning the PL title at a canter and if their star men can stay fit throughout this season then you can expect much of the same. The Blues have now won four Premier League titles in the last 10 seasons, five league titles in total, and after winning their first-ever UEFA Champions League trophy in 2012, they will be looking to replicate that success this season.

The west London club have a local rivalry with second-tier Fulham, but the likes of Arsenal, Manchester United, Liverpool and now Manchester City have become huge rivals.

Best possible XI:

—– Courtois —–

— Ivanovic — Cahill — Terry — Azpilicueta —

— Matic —– Fabregas —

—– Willian —-  Oscar —- Hazard —-

—— Costa —–

Transfers In: Asmir Begovic ($12 million, Stoke City), Radamel Falcao (Season-long loan, AS Monaco) Danilo Pantic ($2 million, Partizan) Nathan ($7 million, Atletico Paranaense)

Transfers Out: Filipe Luis ($25 million, Atletico Madrid), Didier Drogba (Free, Montreal Impact), Petr Cech ($16 million, Arsenal)

source: Getty Images
Hazard, at times, is unstoppable.

Last season: Premier League champions, League Cup winners – A superb season from Mourinho’s side as the Blues won the PL by eight points and lost just three times throughout the campaign. Chelsea came under plenty of pressure in the second half of the season for their defensive tactics, but their experienced defense used all of their nous to record the most shutouts and concede the fewest goals, plus new signings Cesc Fabregas and Diego Costa dazzled in their first season at Stamford Bridge. The only shock was crashing out of the UCL to Paris Saint-Germain in the last 16.

Star player: Eden Hazard – What more can we say about the little Belgian wizard? He won all of the accolades — and rightly so — at the end of a dazzling 2014-15 campaign. Hazard is still only 24, but he was the focal point of Chelsea’s creativity last season and despite being the most fouled player in the league, time and time again he dusted himself off and delivered the goods. He’s on his way to becoming a legend at Chelsea and in the PL with his goals, assists and strong desire to improve each and every game.

source:
Jose Mourinho, Chelsea FC

Coaches’ Corner: Mourinho has now won three Premier League titles in five full seasons with Chelsea, and “The Special One” really enjoyed the first trophies of his second spell in charge of the Blues last season. He is widely regarded as having the best technical brain in the game and the way he set his team up to frustrate top four opponents last season was sublime. He is a box-office manager who loves to get involved with the media, but at the end of the day he does one thing: he wins. And that is exactly what he is adored by Chelsea’s fans.

PST predicts: Title contenders for sure, and right now they look like the favorites as Mourinho has kept the squad together and added two key signings in Begovic and Falcao to cover their needs. With promising youngsters ready to step up from their academy and at least two top class players in every position, the squad is looking strong and Mourinho will want to win it all in 2015-16. Expect a strong charge in the UEFA Champions League, too.

U.S. Open Cup: Goals a-plenty as Atlanta, Minnesota advance

Frank de Boer justin Meram Atlanta United
@ATLUTD
Leave a comment

The first two quarterfinal berths in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup were earned Tuesday with 3-2 away wins.

Columbus Crew 2-3 Atlanta United

A pair of goals from Brandon Vazquez helped Atlanta United overcome both the Columbus Crew and a 48-minute weather delay.

Miles Robinson also scored for Atlanta, while David Accam bagged a goal for the hosts.

A 71st minute Brad Guzan own goal set up a nervy final 20 minutes for the Five Stripes, but they navigated the obstacles and emerged into the quarterfinals

Atlanta will play the winner of FC Cincinnati and Saint Louis FC.

Houston Dynamo 2-3 Minnesota United

The Houston Dynamo thought they were cruising to the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup quarterfinals, and instead just waltzed right out of the tournament.

Up 2-0 at home and at halftime, the Dynamo conceded three times in the final 24 minutes to bow out of the USOC.

The victor, who deserves full marks, is Minnesota United. Darwin Quintero struck twice and Mason Toye scored in the 89th minute as the Loons advanced to play the winner of New Mexico United and FC Dallas. No Texas Derby in the cup this year.

Berhalter names first USMNT Starting XI for Gold Cup

Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images
1 Comment

Christian Pulisic, Weston McKennie, and Michael Bradley all start as the United States men’s national team will look a bit more like its best for Tuesday’s Gold Cup opener against Guyana.

The 10 p.m. ET kickoff in Minnesota will see the Yanks without injured Tyler Adams, John Brooks, DeAndre Yedlin, and Sebastian Lletget, but Jozy Altidore has been relegated to the bench — perhaps not fully fit — behind Gyasi Zardes.

[ LIVE: Latest Gold Cup scores, stats, lineups ]

The back line will see Nick Lima, Walker Zimmerman, Aaron Long, and Tim Ream, while Bradley, McKennie work atop them.

Paul Arriola and Tyler Boyd will be out wide, with Christian Pulisic central underneath Zardes.

The substitutes are Sean Johnson, Tyler Miller, Omar Gonzalez, Wil Trapp, Jordan Morris, Reggie Cannon, Cristian Roldan, Daniel Lovitz, Jozy Altidore, Jonathan Lewis, Matt Miazga, Djordje Mihailovic.

[ MORE: Mata staying with Man Utd ]

Chinese club reportedly offers $15M contract to Newcastle’s Benitez

Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images
Leave a comment

It would be peak Newcastle United of recent seasons to lose their coach to a squabble over the sort of players the manager wants to sign.

Rafa Benitez‘s contract expires at the end of this month, and he makes decent money at St. James’ Park, but his $6 million pales in comparison the money being offered by a Chinese Super League club.

[ MORE: Mata staying with Man Utd ]

Benitez wants to stay at Newcastle, but his concerns aren’t about his wages as much as being allowed to build a contender under stingy owner Mike Ashley. With the team possibly getting a takeover, Benitez is not guaranteed the chance to improve his roster. Not to mention Newcastle operates under club-wide restrictions.

Sky Sports says, “the former Liverpool, Chelsea and Valencia boss wants to be given the green light to sign players over the age of 26, which has been against club policy in previous years.”

Sky Sports reports that Benitez is mulling a $15 million offer from Dalian Yifang, the CSL team currently sitting in 11th place under former South Korea national team manager Kang-hee Choi.

Dalian Yifang currently employs transfer rumor mainstay Yannick Carrasco, as well as Marek Hamsik and young Ghanaian striker Emmanuel Boateng.

If Newcastle allows Benitez to leave and the takeover is not completed, it would be the most embarrassing thing for the club since Joe Kinnear couldn’t pronounce half of his players’ names. That’s saying something.

Gold Cup LIVE – USMNT meets Guyana after Panama, T&T tangle

AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack
Leave a comment

Gregg Berhalter’s shaky USMNT welcomes several of its star players into the fold when it kicks off its 2019 Gold Cup campaign against Guyana on Tuesday.

[ LIVE: Latest Gold Cup scores ]

The match comes 2.5 hours after one between the two sides which conspired to keep the Yanks out of the 2018 World Cup.

While the USMNT played the biggest role in that monumental failure, Trinidad and Tobago is the team that beat the Yanks in Couva on the same night that Panama scored a ghost goal to push the U.S. into fifth in the Hex.

Guyana has lost to Haiti, Bermuda, and French Guiana in the last eight months, and it would be stunning if the U.S. didn’t post a generous amount of goals on the scoreboard even after miserable efforts against Jamaica’s B team and Venezuela.

Panama and T&T, on the other hand, should be a beauty, with Los Canaleros getting a bit older in the tooth and the Soca Warriors maturing a bit as a side.

Panama and T&T kick off at 7:30 p.m. ET, with the USMNT expected to kickoff with Guyana a little after 10 p.m.