Chelsea are title contenders, but Frank Lampard must keep players happy, says Paul Merson | Football News

first_imgHakim Ziyech has got a left foot that can open a can of wormsPaul Merson If we are going to talk about Tottenham winning the title, then Chelsea are right in the mix. If Spurs can win it, then for sure, Chelsea can win it.- Advertisement – This is where Mourinho is special. He sees things others don’t. He sees what he needs, and he doesn’t just go out and buy players for the sake of it.In Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg, they needed that ball-winning midfielder to break things up and then there are the full-backs.I couldn’t believe Wolves let Matt Doherty go. For the price Wolves let him go for, I didn’t get that one at all.That’s where Mourinho is so good, and I as I said earlier, as long as he’s in charge, they’ve got a chance. It’s not impossible at all, but again, we are only seven games in, and you could not write the script of the league so far this season. 2:44 – Advertisement – – Advertisement – 0:44 Is the squad too big? It depends how far they go in certain competitions, but that is where Mourinho was great. If you look at his Chelsea team and the squad he had at Stamford Bridge, you never heard anybody moaning.From the outside, you always thought, ‘wow’! How do you keep all those players happy? There’s got to be an art to it because when you’ve got that quality of player, to keep them all happy when they are not playing is a major skill.It’s alright people saying they get £100,000-a-week, they get paid well or whatever, but they want to play football. As a player, you want to play football and that will be Lampard’s biggest challenge going forward.They also have to play a better quality of opponent in the games coming up, but everything at the moment looks good.Mourinho knows what it takes to get Spurs over the lineIt’s a hard question to answer (can Spurs win the league?). They are going to be very reliant on Harry Kane.But, to be fair, results like the win at West Brom, they win you league titles. You look back on results like that and come what may, you remember it as a difficult game against one of the teams down at the bottom, who couldn’t win a game but turned up on the day, and it turns out to be an important win.That’s what you are up against if you want to win the Premier League. You watched West Brom against Fulham and they were atrocious. You start to think Tottenham have only got to turn up on Sunday morning and as long as they don’t forget their boots, they’ll win the game and move on.But in the end, it was a very hard game and Mourinho is probably sitting there asking himself why they didn’t turn up and play like that against Fulham. That’s how hard the Premier League is.Can Spurs go on and win the title? It’s not impossible and that’s because they’ve got a serial winner as a manager. They’ve got a chance because Mourinho is in charge and has won it before. He knows what it takes to get over the line.Can the players keep producing week in, week out? Only time will tell, but having Mourinho at the club gives them an advantage.Mauricio Pochettino was a good manager, don’t get me wrong. However, they’ve now got more chance of winning the title because of Mourinho. He knows what you have to do week in, week out and then all over again. – Advertisement – It’s coming from everywhere too. Hakim Ziyech has got a left foot that can open a can of worms, Timo Werner scores plenty of goals, Tammy Abraham looks like he’s getting better and then there’s Mason Mount. They’ve just got so much attacking talent.The problem is going to be keeping everyone happy and that’s going to be the hardest job in the world. You are going to have top, top-draw players not playing, and that’s hard.Kai Havertz wasn’t even in the squad because he was unwell and Christian Pulisic is injured too. Mateo Kovacic played on Saturday, but he hasn’t been playing. That’s going to be the problem Chelsea have to contend with going forward. The Football Show’s Stephen Warnock and Sue Smith assess where Tottenham striker Harry Kane will finish in the all-time Premier League top scorers list It’s like having Alan Shearer, who played up front as a No 9 and then there’s Teddy Sheringham as a No 10, and Kane can play both of them. Shearer couldn’t drop off and play as a 10 and I don’t think Sheringham could play the Shearer role.For Kane to be able to do both, and they were special players, is remarkable.Summer signings show Mourinho at his best preview image Mauricio Pochettino and Jose Mourinho embraceImage:Spurs have more chance of winning the title under Jose Mourinho than previous boss Mauricio Pochettino (left), thinks Paul Merson Frank Lampard has now got who he wants in key positions and you can really see the difference.Thiago Silva is world-class. They’ve got two full-backs who are as good as any in the league and for me, they [Reece James and Ben Chilwell] are the two England full-backs, in my opinion. They are outstanding. Silva is also only going to make Kurt Zouma a better player and the goalkeeper Edouard Mendy is solid.I know Sheffield United are down at the bottom at the moment, but they are a hard team to play against. They are organised and when you go 1-0 down, you know it’s going to be a difficult evening.However, they literally dismantled Sheffield United. They made them look like a proper relegation team, which I don’t see that because I think Sheffield United will be okay this season. They made them look distinctly average and that’s a sign of a good team.Lampard does have one problem though…center_img Harry Kane and Jose MourinhoImage:Harry Kane has transformed his game, says Merson 2:51 Harry Kane Frank LampardImage:Frank Lampard will need to somehow keep all his players happy this season Kane is a special player. He’s changed his game a bit now as well. He starts drifting off into the No 10 position and he can spray the ball around the park. He’s showing he’s got vision and it is like he’s the all-round package.There are not many players about who can go up front and be a target man, be strong, put his body in the way, score goals and then in the game, he can drop off and hit a 30-yard ball through the eye of a needle and knit play together.There are not many of those players around, if any. I’m one of Mourinho’s biggest fans, but I have been critical of him.When I was critical, it wasn’t about him as a manager, because you cannot knock someone who has won all those trophies. It doesn’t matter when he won those trophies, he’s won them. They are on the CV.My only question mark was whether Kane would be able to get 30 goals in a season being in a Mourinho team.Mourinho is a winner. He doesn’t mind winning games 1-0. He’s not there to entertain people, he’s there to win football matches. If they entertain and end up winning 3-0, then fair enough, but he is one of those managers that wins a game 1-0, puts it into the back pocket and moves on to the next.Fans will moan that it was only 1-0, but Mourinho won’t care, and that comes with experience.But now, with Kane on fire and the other attacking players they’ve got at their disposal, they’ve got a chance. A real chance, but, for me, I just can’t see past Liverpool.Remarkable Kane has changed his game FREE TO WATCH: Highlights from Tottenham’s win over West Brom in the Premier League Chelsea vs Sheffield United highlights Paul Merson insists Chelsea are Premier League title contenders this season, but Frank Lampard has one big challenge: keep the players happy. Don’t rule out Chelsea for the league FREE TO WATCH: Highlights from Chelsea’s win over Sheffield United in the Premier League You have to be there or thereabouts all the time. You cannot be giving teams six, seven or eight-point head starts, and they are right in the mix at the moment.A word of caution, though. Everyone’s talking about the title and because it is November, people think we’re nearly halfway through the season. Usually we’d have played about 15 games by now and that’s a massive difference, but we’ve only played seven or eight games.But when Mourinho won the title at Chelsea, they always got off to a flyer. He’s the only manager I know who treats every game like it is the last of the season. Every point mounts up and Mourinho always flies out of the stalls in a title-winning year.Jose’s not here to entertain, but to win Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg during Spurs' friendly against IpswichImage:Paul Merson has hailed the signing of Pierre-Emile Hojbjerglast_img read more

Durkan stroll for Arvika

first_img Arvika Ligeonniere’s owner Rich Ricci told At The Races: “He jumped really well, he has really come on from his novice season. “It’s a shame was happened to Sir Des Champs but he’s up and around which is good and it’s a pity Flemenstar wasn’t here for Punchestown. “Our lad was good today and I’m not sure if anything would have beaten him. “When he attacks his fences he is beautiful to watch. It’s a lovely thing to see. “I’m not sure what we will do now, but he seems a different horse this season to me. “We talked about dropping him back in trip just after the race. There’s the Dial-A-Bet Chase (Leopardstown, December 27) and a two-five race at Ascot (Betfair Ascot Chase, February 15) coming up. I’d be happy to drop him back (in trip). “He’s more exciting to watch over the shorter distances.” Russell missed the winning ride on Bright New Dawn in the Setanta Sports 1Euro Offer Beginners Chase. Bryan Cooper made the most of the opportunity on the Dessie Hughes’s-trained six-year-old, who making his debut over bigger obstacles. Bright New Dawn made all the running but the 5-4 favourite had to fight off the Mullins representative Dogora. The four-year-old, receiving 12lb, put in a strong bid after the last but Bright New Dawn was always just holding him on the dash to the line as he prevailed by half a length. Cooper told At The Races: “We’ve always held him in high regard and chasing was always going to be his game. “He had to work hard for it, but I would have been happier if Ruby (on Dogora) had come to me going to the last. I could have done with a bit of company. He was idling, but got the job done. “My lad in a proper true-run race is when you will see the best of him. It was his first run of the season. He was only a length and three-quarters behind Champagne Fever on hurdles form and on that evidence he has held his ability so we can go down that route.” Cooper and Hughes were completing a double, having struck with Apache Jack (5-4 favourite) in the 2014 Annual Membership Maiden Hurdle and looked set to claim a treble with Canaly in the Weatherbys Ireland GSB Handicap Chase but he was caught on the line by Walsh on Daring Article (5-2 favourite). Hughes said: “He always looked like he’d make a chaser but it’s nice to see it happen. He’s in the three-mile Grade One (Topaz Novice Chase) at Christmas, and more than likely that’s where he’ll go. “Hopefully he’ll go on from that and it was a good first run over fences. The second horse had already run and we were giving him 12lb. He jumped well.” Press Association Arvika Ligeonniere enjoyed a facile success for the Willie Mullins team after stablemate Sir Des Champs made an early exit in the John Durkan Memorial Punchestown Chase at the County Kildare track. The 4-7 favourite never looked in any danger with Ruby Walsh enjoying an armchair ride. Rubi Light was held when ploughing through the final fence and was eventually beaten by nine lengths. Walsh said: “The fences are there to be jumped, but it’s very unlike Sir Des Champs to make a mistake like that, but that’s racing I suppose. “My fella jumped well bar the first down the back. “He’s got lots of pace and great scope for jumping. If he was mine I’d be inclined to go back in trip. Why hold him back in a longer race and not play to your strengths. but it’s up to Willie and connections what they want to do.” Following his heavy fall from Sir Des Champs Davy Russell was stood down for the rest of the afternoon. Mullins’ son and assistant, Patrick, said: “Sir Des Champs seems fine. He walked away, it was just one of those things. “At least it’s a long way from March and hopefully he’ll be OK in the morning. All being well he’ll go for the Lexus at Leopardstown. Of the winner, he said: “He’s probably better going right-handed, but he has won a Grade One around Leopardstown and he could drop back in trip.” The field had been reduced to three when last year’s winner Flemenstar was taken out on Saturday and there was drama as early as the third fence where Sir Des Champs fell. That left Arvika Ligeonniere to lead the only other runner Rubi Light for the rest of the two and a half mile Grade One. last_img read more

Report: UCF frat forced pledge to use cocaine for initiation

first_img(Orlando, FL) — A University of Central Florida fraternity has been placed on disciplinary suspension for the remainder of the semester as well as the upcoming spring semester for allegedly forcing a pledge to snort cocaine.According to a UCF incident report, Sigma Chi members blindfolded a pledge on Oct. 26 and forced him to use the drug to be initiated.The chapter attempted to appeal the suspension, but was unsuccessful.UCF officials released the following statement on the incident:“At UCF, our top priority is the safety and wellbeing of our students. Student organizations that endanger their members and violate the university’s code of conduct must be held accountable. Hazing in any form is unacceptable. We are thankful to the chapter members and others who had the courage to speak up so the university could investigate. UCF plans to bring chapter leaders together to discuss new ways to reinforce their commitment to Greek values. University leaders also are planning more frequent training to develop and strengthen up-and-coming chapter leaders who will step in when experienced chapter presidents and board members graduate. UCF offers resources to prevent hazing, including bystander intervention training; an anti-hazing webpage and online tutorials; and required workshops for freshmen, transfer students and leaders of Greek-letter fraternities and sororities. There are also multiple ways to report hazing:UCF, which is investigating, says hazing in any form is unacceptable, and it thanks those who came forward.The frat is already on suspension for a party at a resort in the Keys that led to police having to be called to help remove the students.last_img read more