Chelsea Cruise

Chelsea completely outclassed and humiliated Arsenal in a 6-0 pounding at Stamford Bridge.

Samuel Eto’o, Mohamed Salah, Andre Schurrle, Oscar, and Eden Hazard all got involved in the scoring with the Brazilian netting twice.

Eto’o found the net inside five minutes with a curling left-footed effort to finish a counter attack set off by a poor give away in the Arsenal midfield. Schurrle struck minutes later to double the Blues lead.

The game was already slipping away from the Gunners on Arsene Wenger’s 1000th game in charge, but it got even worse when Andre Marriner sent off Kieran Gibbs for a handball committed by Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.

Hazard curled a right-footed effort that looked like it was just about going wide, but Oxlade-Chamberlain could take no chances standing on the line. He threw his arm in front of the strike, and Marriner pointed to the spot. In a strange turn of events, Marriner sent off Gibbs in what was assumedly a case of mistaken identity despite Oxlade-Chamberlain’s admission of guilt.

Hazard converted from the spot to put the Blues in front 3-0. Down three goals and a left back, the Gunners looked understandably deflated and many of the fans who made the trip from North London headed to the exits.

Any questions of whether Chelsea would let off and allow complacency to take over were answered before halftime when Oscar tapped in from close range to give the Blues a 4-0 lead at the interval. They started the second half slowly but the fifth goal came 20 minutes after the break courtesy of Oscar again.

He made way for Salah after the goal, and it didn’t take long for the Egyptian to get involved in the action. He ran in behind the back four and finished calmly by sliding the ball past a helpless Wojciech Szczesny to make it 6-0.

The crowd belted out Mourinho’s name and taunted Wenger with a “specialist in failure” chant throughout the match to add insult to injury.

The final whistle blew and Mourinho had already made his trademarked early exit to reportedly “tell his wife the score.” Wenger was left on the pitch alone and humiliated on what was supposed to be his special day. It turned out that it was not a special day for Wenger, but it was a special day for Jose Mourinho as his Blues look to keep the pressure on Manchester City and Liverpool in the race for the title.

 

 

 

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What I’m Watching This Week

Didier Drogba returns to play at Stamford Bridge on Tuesday. It’s his first time playing in front of the Chelsea supporters since he beat Manuel Neuer from the penalty spot to give the club its first UEFA Champions League crown. However, Drogba won’t be wearing blue. He’ll be suited up for Galatasaray aiming to knock his previous club out of the world’s most elite club competition. The tie is poised at 1-1 and could swing either way. Chelsea fans will be praying that they do not have to watch a Drogba strike eliminate their club from the competition. Expect a warm reception before the match but the pleasantries to disappear as soon as the match kicks off.

It’s the most wonderful time of the year. March Madness is here. Florida, Wichita State, Arizona and Virginia all received #1 seeds for the tournament. The Gators are the top overall seed. It will be another exciting year to watch and another year to weep openly over brackets that are trashed after a couple rounds (you could probably just start crying over your picks now). Chaos could (and most likely will) reign again this year. There is very little disparity between the top 4 seeds in each of the regions. Expect upsets and expect another year without a perfect bracket despite Warren Buffett’s billion dollar incentive.

The Midwest’s top seed, Wichita State, will have trouble remaining undefeated in a group where it could meet a talented Kentucky in the second round, a streaking Louisville in the Sweet 16 and either Duke or Michigan in the Elite 8. Arizona faces a potential second round encounter with Oklahoma State led by Marcus Smart and possible match ups versus the streaking Baylor Bears, Creighton and POY lock Doug McDermott or a very sound Wisconsin team if it reaches the Elite 8. Virginia perhaps has the worst luck of the #1 seeds. They face a potential Sweet 16 game against a now healthy Michigan State, and Tom Izzo has taken less talented teams deep in the tournament. Florida has rolled over everyone in SEC play, but they’ll have to get by Syracuse (who started 25-0) or Kansas (a real threat if Embiid is healthy) in order to get out of the region.

The Premier League race seems to get tighter every week. Arsenal visits Stamford Bridge this weekend. After some questionable calls from Chris Foy saw Chelsea drop three points at Villa Park on Saturday, this game has become even more important. With very little between the leagues top four sides, it is a must win game for both teams as they aim to keep pressure on Liverpool and Manchester City. At the bottom of the table, Norwich and Sunderland square off with both sides needing three points desperately to avoid the drop. Sunderland have games in hand, but they’ll want to make them count as they attempt to get out of the relegation zone.

Mourinho’s March

Jose Mourinho’s men continued their march toward to the Barclays Premier League title by thrashing Tottenham Hotspur 4-0 at Stamford Bridge on Saturday.

Samuel Eto’o pounced on a horrendous back-pass from Jan Vertonghen to open the scoring, Eden Hazard added a goal from the penalty spot and Demba Ba came on to bag two late goals to secure the three points.

Although the final score was emphatic, the result was in question for much of the first half.

Jose Mourinho opted to set up his side in a defensive 4-3-3 and allow Tottenham to control possession in first half. His Chelsea side looked to absorb pressure and strike on the counter. Tottenham did little with their share of the ball and rarely looked a threat.

For as little as they accomplished offensively, Spurs did a great job frustrating Chelsea’s rapid forwards. On the break, Eden Hazard rounded Hugo Lloris but could only manage to hit the side netting. A half chance for Eto’o was just about the only opportunity Chelsea could manage to carve out against a well organized Spurs side.

As the teams headed down the tunnel at halftime, Tottenham would have been pleased, minimizing Chelsea’s chances. With their share of possession, perhaps they even thought they might have a chance to end their 24 year drought at Stamford Bridge by nicking a winner. Sherwood would have most certainly been the more happy manager at the interval. 

At halftime, Mourinho opted to bring on Oscar for Frank Lampard and Chelsea resumed their more natural 4-2-3-1 shape. Oscar was a spark. The Chelsea attackers began to see more of the ball and began to impose themselves on the Spurs defense.

About 10 minutes after the break, Vertonghen found himself being pressed by Andre Schurrle. He slipped and panicked as the man coming off a hat trick closed him down. His attempted back-pass to Lloris was optimistic at best.

Eto’o was already breaking toward the goal before Vertonghen played the ball. His reward was to squeeze the ball between two pairs of legs and into the back of the net. He ran to the corner flag and hunched over, holding his back. Despite criticism of being too old, Eto’o had no problem being a thorn in Spurs’ side.

Minutes later, Younes Kaboul was adjudged (perhaps harshly) to have brought down Eto’o in the box. Michael Oliver immediately pointed to the spot and showed Kaboul the red card. Hazard stepped up and fired home the ensuing spot kick to give Chelsea breathing space.

Chelsea continued to control the game and make use of their man advantage. The Blues didn’t rest on their laurels as the continued to look for more goals. Hazard missed a chance to set up Eto’o running unmarked into the box in the 75th minute.

Ba came on for Eto’o in the 76th minute and made the most of his minutes which have been hard to come by this season.

In the 88th minute Ba pounced on a failed clearance from Sandro and rifled home from close range. The points were secure and Chelsea fans cheered as the club opened up a seven point gap at the top.

Ba added insult to injury as he bagged his second and Chelsea’s fourth moments later. Kyle Walker attempted to head a looping clearance nearly 30 yards back to his keeper, but it was Ba lurking this time to feast on another defensive collapse. Ba won the ball before Lloris could get there and tapped into an open net. 

With Hazard, Eto’o and Schurrle all scoring hat tricks in recent months, with the league’s best defense and with Mourinho at the helm, it looks like the title may be returning to Stamford Bridge in May. 

Oscar Picks

Best Picture

Will Win: 12 Years A Slave

Should Win: Dallas Buyers Club

Director

Will Win/Should Win: Alfonso Cuaron

Lead Actor

Will Win/Should Win: Matthew McConaughey (Incredible)

Lead Actress

Will Win: Cate Blanchett (UGHHHHHHH so underwhelming)

Should Win: Judi Dench

Supporting Actor

Will Win/Should Win: Jared Leto (Fassbender, Abdi, and Co were all solid… Could have all possibly won in another year)

Supporting Actress

Will Win/Should Win: Lupita Nyong’o

Cinematography

Will Win/Should Win: Gravity

Film Editing

Will Win/Should Win: Gravity

Sound Mixing

Will Win/Should Win: Gravity

Sound Editing

Will Win/Should Win: Gravity

Visual Effects

Will Win/Should Win: Gravity

Original Screenplay

Will Win/Should Win: Her (Frightening. Thought Provoking.)

Adapted Screenplay

Will Win/Should Win: 12 Years A Slave

Makeup

Will Win/Should Win: Dallas Buyers Club ($250 total ARE YOU KIDDING ME)

Score

Will Win/Should Win: Gravity

Song

Will Win/Should Win: Let It Go

Animated Short

Will Win/Should Win: Get a Horse

Production Design (Make or break for your ballot)

Will Win: Gatsby

Should Win: Her

Costume Design (Make or break for your ballot)

Will Win: Gatsby

Should Win: American Hustle

 

 

Things I didn’t See

Foreign Language

Will Win: The Great Beauty

Documentary

Will Win: The Act Of Killing

Documentary Short

Will Win: The Lady in #6

Short Film: Live Action

Will Win: The Voorman Problem

Animated Feature

Will Win: Frozen