Jose Mourinho returns to Stamford Bridge in a Premier League blockbuster on Saturday
Jose Mourinho enjoyed great success across two spells at Stamford Bridge, but now returns to his former stomping ground looking to overtake his former employers in the standings and
snatch fourth place from the Blues’ grasp.
In the opposite corner stands his former midfield general, Frank Lampard, whose first season in West London is in danger of slipping away from him.
The Blues are without a win in four matches, and haven’t gone this many games without taking three points since late 2012, when they went seven games without a victory.
However, they have a fine recent record against Spurs—they’ve won their last two against their City rivals—while the Lilywhites have just one win in their last 33 games away at
Chelsea in all competitions.
If anyone can improve their fortunes, it’s Mourinho. He’s won 79 matches at Stamford Bridge—all, admittedly, during his time as Chelsea
boss—while only Arsene Wenger and Harry Redknapp have won more London derbies during the Premier League era than the ‘Special One’.
The latter will still be reeling after a recent two-year Champions League ban and £25 million fine from Uefa due to alleged rule-breaking regarding City’s declaration of their sponsorship
They responded well to the news against West Ham United in midweek—winning 2-0—but things may be tougher against a Leicester team who may be starting to look over their
shoulder after a disappointing run of form.
Brendan Rodgers’ team have won just one of their last five matches, and have a poor recent record against City, having lost five of their last six league games against the reigning
After conceding just seven in his first 14 home games as Foxes boss, Rodgers has now seen his team concede nine in their last four outings at the King Power Stadium, and they may be
vulnerable against a City team who will be desperate to let their football do the talking.
In action on Monday night, Liverpool will be keen to bounce back from their Champions League defeat by Atletico Madrid when they host West Ham United.
The Reds have scored four in each of their last two home games against the Hammers—both victories—so don’t expect a shock result when David Moyes returns to Merseyside.
With a win, Jurgen Klopp’s side would surpass the points tally accrued by Sir Alex Ferguson’s legendary treble-winning Manchester United side of the 1998-99 season, with over a quarter
of the season still to play.
In Serie A, the title race is hotting up, with Lazio having replaced Internazionale as Juventus’ nearest challengers following last weekend’s victory over Antonio Conte’s side.
Lazio’s run of dominance has been remarkable, and inspired by Ciro Immobile, they now have 56 points from 24 outings.
Last weekend’s comeback triumph over Inter—when they fell behind following Ashley Young’s opener—could give them the impetus to put more pressure on the leaders when they
travel away to Genoa on Sunday.
By this point, Cristiano Ronaldo’s Juventus could have extended their lead at the top of the table to four points, as they travel away to bottom-club SPAL 2013 on Saturday.
In Sunday’s late kick-off, it will be fascinating to see how Inter respond at home against Sampdoria, following last weekend’s disappointment against Lazio.
That 2-1 loss was bitterly disappointing following the high-octane drama of their derby triumph against AC Milan, as Inter came crashing down to earth with a bump.
Can they respond when they host Samp at 21:45 CAT on Sunday, with the game broadcast on SS9 in South Africa and SS8 across the rest of Africa?
In Spain this weekend, Barcelona and Real Madrid can pull further away from the chasing pack on Saturday when they face Eibar and Levante respectively.
While Los Merengues remain on top of the pile heading into the weekend, their lead has been cut following last weekend’s battling 2-2 draw at home against Celta Vigo.
“We’ve dropped two points at home against a good team who don’t deserve to be where they are in the table,” Zinedine Zidane told Real’s official website after the match, “but at the end of
the day, we’ve dropped two points at home.
“It’s not the best feeling, because the effort was there.”
Will Real be ruing more points dropped this weekend, and can Barca extend their three-game winning run when they host an Eibar side who are just three points from the drop zone?
Eibar recently defeated Atletico Madrid, so cannot be underestimated, while the Catalan giants may have one eye on their upcoming bout with Napoli.
There’s also Nedbank Cup action across South Africa this weekend, as the 16 teams still standing in the competition square off for a spot in the quarter-finals.
Notable ties include Mamelodi Sundowns’ clash with minnows Vaal University of Technology on Sunday, while Kaizer Chiefs are away at Highlands Park on Saturday.
Bidvest Wits, who downed Orlando Pirates in the previous round, face Chippa United on Monday evening, with both potential dark horses for the crown.
Bloemfontein Celtic host Maritzburg United and Black Leopards meet Amavarara in other mouth-watering ties.
Saturday 22 February:
Chelsea vs Tottenham Hotspur SS3 Kickoff at 14:30 (CAT)
Highlands Park vs Kaizer Chiefs SS4 (SA) & SS11 (ROA) Kickoff at 15:00 (CAT)
Barcelona vs Eibar SS7 Kickoff at 17:00 (CAT)
Leicester City vs Manchester City SS3 Kickoff at 19:30 (CAT)
Fiorentina vs AC Milan SS9 (SA) & SS8 (ROA) Kickoff at 21:45 (CAT)
Levante vs Real Madrid SS7 Kickoff at 22:00 (CAT)
Sunday 23 February:
Genoa vs Lazio SS9 (SA) & SS8 (ROA) Kickoff at 13:30 (CAT)
Mamelodi Sundowns vs Vaal University of Technology SS4 (SA) & SS12 (ROA) Kickoff at 15:00 (CAT)
Manchester United vs Watford SS3 & SS10 (ROA) Kickoff at 16:00 (CAT)
Arsenal vs Everton SS3 Kickoff at 18:30 (CAT)
Inter Milan vs Sampdoria SS9 (SA) & SS8 (ROA) Kickoff at 21:45 (CAT)
Liverpool vs West Ham SS3 Kickoff at 22:00 (CAT)
Atletico Madrid vs Villarreal SS7 Kickoff at 22:00 (CAT)