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Friday, April 04, 2008

Latest BPL News - Avram's wrecking Jose's way - Kezman, FA Increase Mascherano Ban, Vidic's Lucky Escape And Wenger Eyes 'New Kaka'

Seven months on and this is just the way Jose Mourinho would want it.Still in the public eye and still talked about by the players. Back to back Barclays Premier League titles, the FA Cup and two Carling Cups in an unprecedented spell when money was no object and Mourinho was The Man. Success over style. Outrage and indignation above law and order. Bold decisions above half baked plans. Let's face it, Chelsea never had it so good. The silver fox would shave his hair for pre-season training, telling guests in the foyer of the Beverly Hills Hotel that he had done it because he 'was going to war' and he usually lived up to his word.

So, what price did Chelsea pay for a quiet life? They got Avram Grant.
The man who looked so nervous in his seat as the team boarded their charter jet in Istanbul after their 2-1 quarter-final defeat against Fenerbahce on Wednesday night that he could easily have been confused for a stowaway.
Nice guy, but nice guys never win anything.
"Under Mourinho, Chelsea were a machine and they worked for 90 or 95 minutes without mistake or faults," claimed Fenerbahce striker Mateja Kezman.
He should know. The former Chelsea forward won a Premier League winner's medal in his first season at Stamford Bridge and scored the winner in the Carling Cup Final against Liverpool in 2005.
Remember old mad eyes staring into the TV camera after Eidur Gudjohnsen laid the ball into his path at the Millennium Stadium?
Yes, that was Kezman.
"If Mourinho had been in charge of this match, of course it would have been different," he added. "He's a very different coach and in his time there were no surprises and no mistakes. Everything worked fantastically. They don't have the same spirit in the team any more."
Substituting Frank Lampard was unheard of under Mourinho.
He remains one of the most influential players, the backbone of a team that regularly lifted trophies, but he is unlikely to stay beyond the summer if Grant remains in charge.
"Frank did well and it was not so easy after he was sick and only trained for two days," said Grant.
"He played for more than 70 minutes and it was risky to allow him to play 90."At risk to whom? Only to the team judging by the way Chelsea collapsed after Lampard was replaced by John Mikel Obi.
By then, Lampard had tossed his boots into the dug-out in disgust, irritated that he had been sacrificed in such a crucial game for a player with limited big-game experience.
Lampard escaped without rebuke but Kezman had clearly been talking to his former team-mates after swapping shirts with John Terry.

"They have their ups and downs and you can see that," added Kezman.
"We watched the last couple of games, against Middlesbrough and Sunderland, and they made four or five mistakes in both games.
"If Lampard goes out of the game after 76 minutes something is wrong. We are full of confidence for the second leg. We will not show as much respect for them in London."
So in a nutshell, Grant doesn't know what he's doing?
"You can see gaps there and you can see that something is not working."
So that's a yes, then.
Grant will find another 40,000 Chelsea fans agreeing with Kezman on Tuesday if they fail to turn the tie around and advance to their fourth Champions League semi-final.
He has been there before. He was showered with abuse after Michael Ballack ambled off the pitch when he was substituted for Juliano Belletti against Arsenal, but that switch actually proved decisive.

Didier Drogba scored twice, Chelsea secured victory and Grant got out of jail.
"He's only ever one bad performance away from the fans turning on him again," disclosed one Chelsea source.
"The players are not sure about his methods, he doesn't have the presence of Mourinho and he doesn't give the players confidence."
So what does he bring? Nobody present at Stamford Bridge can forget that infamous arm-flap routine during their clash with Arsenal and those small points, however insignificant, affect players. It was embarrassing as well as meaningless.
This is also the man who was asked what he thought of Sir Alex Ferguson's typically acerbic comments following Chelsea's complaints about the fixture schedule and he replied: "Is it February 1?"

It was April 1 and Grant was rescued from humiliation by Chelsea's senior spin doctor. Little wonder the players have yet to take his ideas on board.
He will not have the luxury of a life raft if they lose against Fenerbahce on Tuesday.
Ballack, who was superb in the first half this week, said: "We gave it away but we should win at home. Now we know what to expect but they are a team who never give up. We stopped concentrating for a moment and it changed the game."
Would they have been allowed to switch off under Mourinho? Not a chance.

FA Increase Mascherano Ban
As had been widely anticipated, the FA have banned Javier Mascherano for a further two games as a result of his refusal to leave the pitch after being sent-off during Liverpool's loss against Manchester United on March 23.

The Argentine midfielder, who was already forced to miss the Merseyside derby last weekend, was also fined £15,000 for his incredibly petulant behaviour towards Steve Bennett. He will now have to sit out the upcoming league matches against Arsenal and Blackburn as well.Liverpool were quick to comment on the FA's verdict through a club spokesman, who left the door open to the possibility of an appeal."Although we received a fair hearing we must now decide whether to appeal on the basis of inconsistency of sentencing for Javier based on past precedents," the club representative said.Mascherano made his first appearance since his public meltdown at Old Trafford last night in the Champions League, and was one of Liverpool's best performers during the 1-1 draw away to Arsenal.

Vidic's Lucky Escape - Injury Not Too Serious
Manchester United defender Nemanja Vidic has been ruled out for two or three weeks with a knee injury - but that is a bette verdict thn the Red Devils had been fearing.

Manchester United's Serbian centre-back Nemanja Vidic, who fell awkwardly after an aerial challenge against Roma on Tuesday night and was forced off after just 31 minutes of the Champions League quarter final first-leg, which United won 2-0, has learned that the injury is not as bad as had been feared.Vidic was sent for a scan on Wednesday, the results of which showed the injury to be less serious than was initially suspected.A club spokesperson told "There is no major damage to the left knee, and Nemanja will be out for around 2 or 3 weeks."Vidic will therefore miss the Premier League matches against Middlesbrough and Arsenal, as well as Wednesday's Champions League quarter-final second leg clash with Roma.He could be back to face Blackburn Rovers at Ewood Park on 19th April, and should be involved if United reach the Champions League semi-finals before visiting Stamford Bridge to take on Chelsea on 26th April.United will be delighted that, although missing Vidic for some key upcoming matches, he has not been ruled out for the rest of the season. When it was feared he had sustained ligament damage, that was the worry.Wes Brown, Gerard Pique and John O'Shea are all likely to come into contention to cover Vidic's absence.

Wenger Eyes 'New Kaka'
Arsene Wenger has set his sights on Olympique Lyonnaise starlet Clement Grenier, dubbed by observers as ‘the new Kaka’

The teenage forward, who has starred for the France Under-17 team this year, is yet to sign a professional contract for Lyon. And Wenger, who is renowned for his youth policy at Arsenal, is keen to swoop in before the youngster puts pen to paper with the French club. It was in similar circumstances that Cesc Fabregas moved to London from the Barcelona youth system, much to the displeasure of the Catalans.But Lyon, whose academy is famous for producing the likes of Karim Benzema and Hatem Ben Arfa, are not likely to let their latest prodigy leave so cheaply.“Wenger is very impressed but Lyon told him to forget it,” said a source close to the player. “They want him to stay here a few years as they expect to be able to get a huge transfer fee for him.”


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