October 6, 2014

The rumble in London

by Dan Bilicki In: Soccer

The best matchup of the weekend didn’t even take place on the field. It was on the sidelines at Stamford Bridge.

In what is probably the best Vine in weeks, we see Arsene Wenger shove Chelsea counterpart Jose Mourinho with probably as much hatred and anger that the Frenchman has ever mustered up.

It took less than 20 minutes for the old rivals to get at each other. First, Alexis Sanchez collided with Chelsea keeper Thibaut Courtois, knocking out the Belgian. Then, Blues defender Gary Cahill got a little bit of retribution, sliding in for a hard challenge on the Spaniard.

This was enough for Wenger to go after Mourinho and give him a hardy shove. The two would exchange words before an official separated them, relegating the managing legends to their own technical areas.

It was the type of clash that’s harmless, entertaining and actually gives the game some brevity, despite the fact it was a physical altercation.

While I wouldn’t want to see managers go at each other every week, it’s good to see two rivals get that emotional during a key fixture this early in the season.


Courtois’ injury is not something that can be glossed over.

He was clearly unconscious after getting run over by Sanchez and should have been subbed off immediately.

It was only 13 minutes later, after noticing that his ear was bleeding, that the trainers again came out and that was the end of the game for Courtois.

He was taken to the hospital for precautionary reasons, where it was revealed that he did in fact have a concussion.

This isn’t the first time that concussed players have stayed on the field after obviously suffering a head injury. Heck, it happened in the World Cup final. Last year in the Premier League, Hugo Lloris suffered a concussion on a similar clash.

There needs to be independent doctors on the sidelines to diagnosis these sorts of serious injuries.

And while teams are always reluctant to use a sub when it’s not necessarily needed, perhaps a rule could be installed where you can sub off a concussed player without having it count against your three.

Either way, the issue of concussions in soccer should get some more attention over the next week – and that’s at least one step of progress.


With the 2-0 win, Chelsea is now the only undefeated team left in the Premier League. With how well they’re playing, it’s hard to see it falling short of winning the title. Of course, the real question will be how well it can deal with injuries when they eventually crop up and Champions League has yet to put any real strain on the team.

And if you’re a Spanish supporter, are you pleased at how well Cesc Fabregas and Diego Costa are connecting, or are you upset with the fact that they couldn’t do more damage in the World Cup in Brazil?

And as for that penalty on Laurent Koscielny: What were you thinking? There’s no way that’s not going to get called in any game. Leaving your foot in while going to ground in the box is about as poor defending as it gets.


David de Gea should rightfully be applauded as man of the match against Everton. He made to awesome reflex saves in injury team to preserve the win for Manchester United and also stopped a penalty in the first half … With Luke Shaw hurting his knee – again – the Red Devils have another injury woe to deal with. It looks like the likes of Tyler Blackett and Patrick McNair will be pressed into action for a little while longer at least … It took like what seemed to be forever, but Manchester City’s vaunted attack finally broke down Aston Villa. With two goals after the 80th minute, City showed the kind of resolve it has lacked at times in the past … Another good sign for Man City: Yaya Toure scored his first goal of the season. Hopefully for fans of the Sky Blues, this could be the end of his personal turmoil with the team following his summer unsettling … Southampton finally met its match, falling 1-0 to Tottenham. Christian Eriksen scored his first of the campaign, which could spring him onto a good run of form like the one that saw him dominate games late last season … While many will say that Papiss Cisse’s brace saved Alan Pardew’s job for another week, should a draw against Hull City really be cause for celebration? … Congrats to Sunderland for picking up its first win of the season. Curiously enough, it was already sitting on five points with five draws and just one loss from its first six games.


Could Harry Redknapp win the sack race?

While Newcastle’s Alan Pardew has rightfully been the favoured to be the next manager fired early this season, Redknapp’s QPR team isn’t exactly thriving either.

In fact, the R’s have just one goal from the run of play this season and sit at the bottom of the table with four points and a -11 goal differential.

While ’Arry stuck with QPR through the Championship, his loyalty may be rewarded with a little bit more slack than the average manager may get.

Of course, football board members have never been afraid of pulling the trigger when the fans start getting restless.

So, as for the Pardew-Redknapp race for the sack, all bets are off now.

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