Chelsea waiting for Hazard to emerge from slump

first_imgMANCHESTER, England (AP) Guus Hiddink’s arrival as Chelsea manager has sparked a drastic improvement in a number of the team’s attacking stars. Diego Costa, Oscar, Cesc Fabregas, even Pedro Rodriguez. All look different players now Jose Mourinho is no longer in charge at Stamford Bridge. So when is Eden Hazard going to come good? Because the slump in form of the Belgium winger is one of the mysteries of the season. Hazard was voted English football’s Player of the Year for the 2014-15 season by both his peers and writers, after scoring 19 goals and being arguably Chelsea’s standout player in their run to the Premier League and League Cup titles. Many felt he would make the step up to challenge Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo as the game’s top star. Fast forward to this season and Hazard is no longer assured of even being in the team heading into Sunday’s FA Cup match against Manchester City, which is the headline fixture of the fifth round. He has completed 90 minutes just once in 2016 and has scored only one club goal all season a sympathy penalty in a big win over MK Dons in the FA Cup fourth round. Already testing the patience of Chelsea fans with his performances, Hazard didn’t do himself any favours this week by telling French newspaper Le Parisien, ahead of a Champions League game against Paris Saint-German, that it would be ‘difficult to say no to’ PSG or any other team capable of winning the Champions League. Is he eyeing a big move for next season already? Hazard was substituted against PSG after another sub-standard display and may even lose his place to Oscar against City for the first high-profile match in the FA Cup this season. Chelsea are looking to win the world’s oldest club knockout competition for the fifth time in the last 10 years and is in better form than City, having lost only once 2-1 against PSG in 12 games since Hiddink took over. City, meanwhile, have lost their last two games, at home against title rivals in the Premier League, and have injury problems in midfield. Manager Manuel Pellegrini may also have one eye on next week, when City resumes their Champions League campaign with a trip to Dynamo Kiev in the last 16, and could play a weakened team at Stamford Bridge. There has been a shortage of shocks in this season’s FA Cup, meaning most of the country’s big teams are still involved. TAMED BY THE SHREWS? The biggest so-called ‘giant-killing could come when Manchester United heads to third-tier Shrewsbury on Monday. And it’s the last thing Louis van Gaal needs right now. The United manager has enough on his mind, with his team struggling to qualify for the Champions League through the Premier League and seeing captain and star striker Wayne Rooney joining an injury list that now contains 13 players. Rooney has a knee injury and British media are reporting he could be out for six to eight weeks. Shrewsbury, a market town from central England whose football team plays at a 9,875-capacity stadium, has already beaten two teams higher up the English pyramid second-tier Cardiff and Sheffield Wednesday and are in the fifth round for the first time since 1991. And they caused a big shock in 2003, winning 2-1 in the third round against an Everton side containing Rooney. In 19th place in the third tier, Shrewsbury are the lowest-ranked team left in the competition. REMATCH Arsenal are four victories away from winning the FA Cup for a third straight time. Next up for Arsene Wenger’s side is second-tier Hull, in a rematch of the 2014 final that Arsenal won 3-2 after extra time. There are two more all-Premier League matchups: Bournemouth vs Everton; and Tottenham vs Crystal Palace. In other games, Reading host West Bromwich Albion, West Ham visit Blackburn and Watford are at home to Leeds.last_img read more

Waterhouse tell Young goodbye… Patrick returns to RSPL strugglers

first_imgJust over two months after taking over as technical director and head coach of Waterhouse FC, coach Paul Young has been relieved of his duties, with the familiar face of Anthony Patrick now charged with rescuing the Red Stripe Premier League (RSPL) strugglers. Young, a former Jamaican international, was handed the reigns of the Drewsland-based club in December after returning from the United States with the team sitting at the foot of the RSPL points table with 13 points from 16 games. However, after picking up a mere eight points from his nine games in charge of the two-time national champions, the club felt it was necessary to make the change in an effort to lift the team from its current cellar-dwelling position. Club president Fitzroy Vidal credited Young for his effort, but believes the change will bring renewed energy to the team’s torrid campaign. Vidal noted that the decision was made mutually, while adding that Kevin Lamey will act as Patrick’s assistant for the remainder of the season. “Football is about wins,” said Vidal. “Of course, we have been in a precarious position and we felt it necessary to make some changes to see if we can bring some energy to the team.” “The coach (Young) has done a valiant job; discipline has improved, but we are still not scoring enough goals and winning as a habit,” said Vidal. “We have a few games to go in the season and we are giving ourselves a chance. We need to invigorate the team, psychology is a big part of the sport, and we are confident this change will have the desired effect.” This is the third coaching change at Waterhouse this season. Calvert Fitzgerald started the campaign on the club’s bench, but he was replaced by Patrick, who served for a month before committing his focus to Dinthill during their schoolboy season. Young was brought in at the end of the year with Patrick working alongside him for a period. Waterhouse fans will welcome Patrick’s appointment after the tactician led them to the final in the 2013/14 season and the semi-finals last year. “Anthony Patrick is a senior member of our coaching staff and we are happy that he was available. Kevin Lamey will be his assistant, as was the case before,” added Vidal. “We are optimistic that we can improve our results. We have a very good squad a very good team. Its surprising that this team is where it is in the table; if you see them in training, they are a delight, but we are not coming together on match day. But I remain confident, we have to take it on a game-by-game basis and fix things,” Vidal added. Waterhouse’s next game is away to Cavalier on Sunday. PREVIOUS COACHESlast_img read more