Mourinho fired with Hiddink set to take over
Chelsea have fired manager Jose Mourinho seven months after he helped steer them to their fourth EPL title.
The west Londoners cruised to the EPL title last season winning by eight-points, but they struggled in their opening game against Swansea and seem to have slowly got worse. On Monday they lost 2-1 to current EPL leaders Leicester City, after which Mourinho suggested some of his players had betrayed him and that defeat and comment seemed to have sealed his fate.
The self-labeled “Special One” looked to have lost the dressing room, and Blues technical director Michael Emenalo talked about a “palpable discord between manager and players”.
However, Chelsea captain John Terry has described Mourinho’s exit after 30 months in charge as a “sad, sad day”.
Terry captained Chelsea to all three EPL titles under Mourinho, in addition to an FA Cup and three League Cups.
“Going to miss you boss,” Terry wrote on Instagram.
“The very best I have ever worked with, unbelievable memories together. Thank you doesn’t seem enough.”
Pep Guardiola has been touted as Blues owner Roman Abramovich’s favored successor, however, the Spaniard will not be available until at least the summer when his current contract with Bayern Munich expires.
In the meantime it seems former Netherlands boss, Guus Hiddink, will once again take over as interim manager until the end of the season. The dutchman also took over from Luiz Scolari in 2009 leading Chelsea to an FA Cup triumph.
Hiddink won six Dutch league titles and the European Cup across two spells as PSV Eindhoven manager. He has also coached Holland, South Korea, Australia, Russia and Turkey.
|Week 16||My Predictions|
|Chelsea v Sunderland||2-0|
|Everton v Leicester||2-2|
|Man Utd v Norwich||2-0|
|Southampton v Tottenham||1-1|
|Stoke v Crystal Palace||1-0|
|West Brom v Bournemouth||1-1|
|Newcastle v Aston Villa||2-0|
|Watford v Liverpool||1-1|
|Swansea v West Ham||1-1|
|Arsenal V Man City||2-1|
Chelsea v Sunderland
A lot of people have expressed their surprise that Jose Mourinho was fired, but I am actually surprised it did not happen sooner. The players’ performance levels had dropped so drastically that it was only a matter of time really. There have been suggestions that the players were no longer trying and were perhaps trying to get Mourinho fired , so I guess we will see if there is any truth in that this weekend now he has gone.
Sunderland like Chelsea have lost their last two games in the EPL, but before that they had also won two on the trot, so it is not all doom and gloom for the Black Cats.
Last Season you would have put your house on Chelsea to win this game, but the way they have been playing this season you would have to be optimistic to put a dime on them. However, with Mourinho going I think some of the players will want to show it wasn’t all their fault and I expect a better performance from them this weekend.
Everton v Leicester
Everton drew away to Norwich last week and have now drawn their last three EPL games. The Toffees created a bagful of chances but only managed to put one in the back of the net. Romelu Lukaku was once again their goal scorer and has now scored in his last six EPL games.
Leicester once again defied their doubters by beating EPL champions Chelsea 2-1. The Foxes once again played their high tempo and passion filled soccer and were deserved winners. Leicester’s Dynamic Duo were once again at the heart of the action with Jamie Vardy scoring his 15th goal of the season – as many as Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi combined – while Riyad Mahrez has been involved in a season high 18 goals in the EPL, scoring 11 and assisting seven.
Everton have only lost once in their last 20 league meetings with Leicester, but the Foxes are in the best form of their history, so I think this encounter will be different from the previous ones that went on before. Nevertheless, Goodison Park is one of the toughest places to visit in the EPL and that’s why I’ll go for a draw.
Man Utd v Norwich
Manchester United lost 2-1 away to Bournemouth to leave themselves without a win in their last three EPL games. Questions have been raised before about van Gaal’s style, but it seems fans now are really beginning to ask if he is the right man for the job.
Norwich earned a draw 1-1 draw at home to Everton last week, but were fortunate not to lose the game as the Toffees created enough chances to win three or four games. The Canaries have now only won once in their last 10 games and need to start picking up points quick or risk falling into the abyss.
United have beaten Norwich 4-0 in their last three games at Old Trafford, however, they are struggling to score goals at the moment – Old Trafford has witnessed a Premier League-low of 10 goals this season.
Nevertheless the Red Devils have been pretty solid at home and I expect them to win this one, albeit unspectacular.
Southampton v Tottenham
Southampton lost for the third time in three games with a 1-0 loss away to Crystal Palace. The Saints are encountering their worst spell under boss Ronald Koeman and risk being dragged into the relegation battle if they do not start picking up points soon.
Tottenham lost for the first time since the opening day with a 2-1 home loss to Newcastle. The north Londoners’ form has dropped off in recent weeks and they have only won once in their last five games.
Tottenham are unbeaten in their last six games against Southampton, winning five of those matches. But I don’t expect them to have an easy trip to Southampton and expect this game to end in a draw, which both teams would probably be content with.
Watford v Liverpool
Watford beat Sunderland 1-0 last week to move up to seventh in the EPL. The Wasps have now won five of their last seven games, including their last three in a row. Odion Ighalo has been one of the keys to Watford’s good form, and is the first Wasp player to score 10 goals in a Premier League season- in fact, he has scored 26 goals in the calendar year 2015.
Liverpool rescued a 2-2 draw at home to West Brom in their last game thanks to a stoppage time goal from Divock Origi. Such was the relief at the end of the game that new manager Jurgen Klopp asked his whole side to conduct on-field celebrations in front of the Kop – an act that caused some criticism from Liverpool fans, who didn’t believe their side should be celebrating a draw at home to West Brom
Liverpool have won their last five games against Watford in all competitions, keeping clean sheets in the four most recent encounters. The Reds have had their best performances under manager Klopp away from home. However, these performances have mostly been in games where they have played on the counter attack and the Reds have struggled to score when they have played teams happy to defend and play on the back foot.
Watford are one such side and that is why i think this game will end in a draw.
Arsenal v Man City
Arsenal comfortably beat Aston Villa 2-0 away last week to maintain their pursuit of league leaders Leicester Ctiy. First-half goals from Olivier Giroud and Aaron Ramsey were enough to see the Gunners past Villa. Mesut Ozil once again at the heart of Arsenal’s attacking play, and produced his 13 assist of the season thus far.
Manchester City edged past Swansea last week with a 2-1 win at the Etihad. A last-minute deflected goal from Kelechi Iheanacho was enough to spare City blushes, but they cannot really afford to keep performing as they did and expect to win the title.
This game is not a title decider, but if Arsenal want to talk up their title credentials and want others to take them seriously they will need to win this game or at least put in a good performance.
City are really struggling to put together a string of results and performances at the moment and until they get Sergio Aguero, David Silva and Vincent Kompany playing together I think they will continue their stutter through the season.
Arsenal are missing a few key players, but they are on a high at the moment and that is why I’ll back them to win this one.