As Chelsea prepare to host Aston Villa on Saturday, in what is a should win game, the big question is why the Premier League title holders sit 16th in the table midway through October – ten points behind league leaders Manchester City.
Jose Mourinho seems to have taken to blaming everyone for Chelsea's poor start to the campaign, from match officials, the FA to a supposed rat in the camp leaking information about team selection and tactics.
The odds for the ‘special one’ to be the next Premier League manager to leave his post are as low as 4/1 at the moment with only Steve McClaren and Saturday’s opponent Tim Sherwood seen by the bookmakers as being at greater risk.
But what’s the real reason for the decline in form?
Updated 17th October 2015 at 01:00 PM by Steve Sands
September proved to be the start of the sacking season for football managers, as owners and chairman got twitchy following their club’s disappointing start to the season. In turn this prompted the managerial merry-go-round to be cranked up to full tilt.
This is a topic I’ve tackled before, but it never fails to intrigue and baffle me in equal measure, as managers are either sacked after a ridiculously short time in charge or are dismissed despite being in charge during a successful campaign the previous season.
Early in September Peterborough United became the first English club to sack their boss, sending Dave Robertson packing after the League One side won just one of their opening six games.
Robertson had lasted just four months at the
Updated 7th October 2015 at 09:17 PM by Steve Sands
Bayern Munich striker Robert Lewandowski continues to enjoy a purple patch the envy of strikers around the world. He scored yet another hat-trick against Dinamo Zagreb in the Champions League in midweek, making it 10 goals in his last three games.
Lewandowkski’s most remarkable achievement was coming off the bench at half-time against Wolfsburg on the 22 September to score five goals in nine minutes during a 5-1 Bundesliga comeback win.
He netted his first in the 51st minute and completed the astonishing goal feat on the hour mark. What were the chances of that happening?
Those clever guys from the Harvard College Sports Analysis Collective in the USA were so impressed that they decided to do a statistical analysis on the probability of such a goal glut
It was once said that football is a game of two halves. Unfortunately, that is not always the case and sometimes one team simply takes an absolute hammering at the hands of the opposition. Here, we will take a look at five of the biggest winning goal margins in football.
Brazil 1-7 Germany, 8th July, 2014
In what was one of the most spectacular one-sided games in football history, 2014 FIFA World Cup hosts Brazil welcomed eventual winners Germany to Belo Horizonte. The pre-match build treated the game as if it was Brazil's Final warm up. They had not suffered a competitive defeat on home soil in over 39 years. As a European side that had failed to fully reach its potential in the tournament prior to this game, Germany were not fancied by many to break that unbeaten record.
Updated 30th September 2015 at 07:27 PM by Veritas
With fair play very much in the news, given Jose Mourinho’s defence of Diego Costa’s antics against Arsenal, an interesting idea has come out of Italy about how to encourage fair play.
We already have red and yellow cards in our game, so is there room for a third coloured card – the green card? Well the Italians seem to think so - one to reward good behaviour.
Green cards are being used by referees in Italy's Serie B this season to reward instances of fair play during a match.
Rather disappointingly the cards aren’t actually branded during the match which would be far more interesting for spectators.
They are in fact a "virtual" card given to players for positive behaviour post-match. So they won’t actually be
Updated 26th September 2015 at 09:23 AM by Veritas
There are not many more iconic names in British football than Leeds United. The problem for the West Yorkshire club is that, despite their illustrious history and huge fan base, the club have been outside the Premier League for over a decade and are seemingly no closer to returning to the top flight than they were in 2004.
Having failed to secure an immediate return to the big time following relegation into the Championship, Leeds dropped into League One before earning promotion back into the second tier in 2010.
With the gap between the Premier League and the Championship growing bigger each campaign, Leeds' colourful Italian owner, Massimo Cellino, will not be able to ignore the fact that the club is in danger of being reduced to an example of one of modern
Updated 22nd September 2015 at 05:39 PM by 11v11
Does traveling long distances to away games have an influence on results? Common sense and the latest statistical analysis seem to be at odds.
In my last blog I looked at the vagaries of the fixture computer as it sent teams the length and breadth of the country for midweek fixtures.
The piece was written from a fans perspective, so I thought it would be interesting to look at the issue from the club’s angle, as I wondered whether all that time spent traveling up and down the motorway had any impact on results.
Looking at a recent round of midweek fixtures, I picked out ten of the longest journeys undertaken just out of curiosity. As actor and comedian Rob Brydon would say it was "just a bit of fun", as looking at such a small sample has no scientific
Despite being installed among the strong favourites for promotion in the Championship, Derby have made a less than auspicious start to the season.
It has undoubtedly been a steep and immediate learning curve for Paul Clement, who is in his first managerial position at the iPro Stadium after years working as a coach at Chelsea and Real Madrid, as his team have yet to hit the heights that many expected. Patience may be the name of the game for Derby fans who may already be concerned that a team that is packed with considerable quality in every area has yet to register a victory, but the upcoming trip to Preston presents a difficult challenge.
Fellow promotion favourites Middlesbrough and Ipswich certainly found the going tough at Deepdale against
Updated 18th September 2015 at 09:06 AM by 11v11
It seems to me that when decisions are being made in football, whether it be on ticket prices, when games are played, venues for important matches, kick-off times and so on, that the fans are very low down on the list of considerations.
This viewpoint was emphasised recently when the fixture gurus decided to send Carlisle United to play Plymouth Argyle on a Tuesday night!
The life of a loyal football supporter is tough enough without adding to the challenge of those wanting to attend all of their team’s matches.
Sitting in their armchair listening to a local radio commentary or following the game via Sky or social media simply doesn’t hack it for some of the hardiest of souls.
For 169 Carlisle fans they just had to embark on a
Updated 28th August 2015 at 07:07 PM by Veritas
Do we have Alan Ball to blame, or thank depending on your perspective, for the plethora of coloured boots now worn by the modern footballer?
Yes, Alan Ball the trend setter as my fuddled memory certainly can’t recall anyone wearing anything other than black boots prior to Ball’s break with tradition.
World Cup winner Ball first showcased his distinctive white boots at the beginning of the 1970/71 season whilst playing for Everton in the Charity Shield, a game the Merseyside outfit won 2-1 against Chelsea.
Prior to that, car manufacturer Henry Ford could easily have been talking about football boots when he said in 1909, with reference to his Model T: “Any customer can have a car painted
Updated 13th August 2015 at 02:56 PM by Veritas