|English Premier League: Ivanovic warns Chelsea to get tough at home|
22 September 2012
LONDON: Chelsea defender Branislav Ivanovic has warned teammates that the European champions are in danger of becoming a soft touch this season.
Ivanovic was left frustrated after Roberto Di Matteo’s side blew a two-goal lead to Juventus in the midweek Champions League draw with the Italian club.
Stoke’s visit to Stamford Bridge in the Premier League today provides Chelsea with an early opportunity to remedy the defensive lapses that contributed to their failure to make a winning start to their Champions League defence.
Those deficiencies were also exposed by Atletico Madrid in the 4-1 European Super Cup defeat.
And Tony Pulis’s side are likely to provide a tough test with Michael Owen in line to make his first start for Stoke alongside his former England strike partner Peter Crouch.
Blues seek first win in four games
After dropping their first league points of the season in last weekend’s scoreless draw at QPR, Chelsea will be anxious to claim a first win in four games.
The arrivals of Eden Hazard and Oscar – who marked his full debut with two goals against Juventus – has given Chelsea a more dynamic look in attack. But Ivanovic has highlighted the need to rediscover the defensive solidity and desire that delivered Champions League and FA Cup glory last season.
“We started well against Juventus but after that it was too easy for them. We can improve 50 per cent more on this performance,” said Ivanovic.
“We are playing differently this year with more emphasis on attacking but everyone also has to be focused on defending. This is what helped us last season.
“It’s all about our concentration and motivation. We have to think that every situation is dangerous and cover well.
“It’s more of a mental situation because our training is hard enough to prepare for a big game. Mentally we have to do more.
Fernando Torres will again lead the Chelsea attack, but the Spaniard is in need of a confidence boost after two lacklustre displays against QPR and Juventus.
Stoke eager to stop
Meanwhile, Stoke are still searching for their first win after recording draws in their opening four Premier League games. Pulis’s squad is still coming together with USA midfielder Maurice Edu, like Owen a late recruit to the Potters, hoping to feature against Chelsea.
Stoke will be without full-back Andy Wilkinson who starts a three-match ban after opting not to an appeal an FA charge for elbowing Manchester City’s Mario Balotelli.
|See Also in Sports News|
|Liverpool manager’s son found not guilty|
25 May 2013
LONDON: Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers voiced his family’s relief after his footballer son Anton was cleared Friday in a sex case at England’s central criminal court.
Anton Rodgers, 20, and three Brighton team-mates were found not guilty of sexual assault and voyeurism.
The retrial, at the Old Bailey in London, followed an earlier trial in which a jury could not agree verdicts.
Brendan Rodgers said: “The last 18 months have been extremely traumatic for us as a family, but we are ... Full Story
|Chaotic end as Giro hit by snow, doping positive|
25 May 2013
VAL MARTELLO, Italy: The 96th edition of the Giro d’Italia is facing a chaotic finale as wintry weather in the Dolomites forced the cancellation of Friday’s stage and changes to Saturday’s final day in the high mountains.
Despite the white-out, it proved something of a black Friday for organisers who woke to the news that 2007 race winner Danilo Di Luca was out of the race after reportedly testing positive for the banned blood booster EPO (erythrpoietin).
Amid unseasonably cold conditions ... Full Story
|Champions League: Bayern, Dortmund eye glory in historic final|
25 May 2013
LONDON: The home of English football will reverberate to the roar of German voices tonight when Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund collide at Wembley Stadium in the first all-Bundesliga final in Champions League history.
It is only two years since Barcelona confirmed their status as Europe’s pre-eminent side by outclassing Manchester United in the same arena to win the 2011 tournament, but the way that Bayern and Dortmund have torn through this season’s competition suggests a new continental ... Full Story