Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : April 24th 2015 Contents A63
Friday, April 24, 2015 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
MANCHESTER---With Chelsea holding a 10-
point lead in the Premier League with six
games left, it's surely no longer a question
of whether the team will win the title.
To many, it's about when it will happen.
Beat Arsenal on Sunday in a match between
the league's top two teams and Chelsea can
clinch the championship at Leicester on
Wednesday, with four games and 3½ weeks
of the campaign spare.
Lose --- and that hasn't happened to a Jose
Mourinho-managed Chelsea team in 12 meet-
ings with Arsenal --- and it's likely the coro-
nation will merely be delayed until one of the
two upcoming home games, against Crystal
Palace on May 3 and Liverpool on May 10.
"I feel we are almost there," Mourinho said,
"but there are no 'almosts' in football."
All the same, the engraver is probably sharp-
ening his blade and preparing to chisel
"Chelsea" on the trophy for the first time since
After blowing away its rivals with attractive,
attacking football for much of the first half
of the season, Mourinho's side has been far
from its best in recent weeks but is still churn-
ing out the victories. Saturday's 1-0 win over
Manchester United, which effectively ended
its slim hopes of reeling in Chelsea, was a case
Chelsea had just 29.7 percent possession
against United, a miserly amount considering
the talent in Mourinho's team and the fact
the match was being played at Stamford Bridge.
But United walked straight into Chelsea's trap
and was hit on the counter-attack through
Eden Hazard's goal.
Expect Chelsea to cede possession to Arsenal
at Emirates Stadium, too. It won't bother
Mourinho one bit.
A win for Arsenal wouldn't just stall the
Blues' procession to the title, it would also be
a relief for Wenger to finally get one over his
counterpart at the 13th attempt. Wenger was
labeled a "specialist in failure" by Mourinho
last season, and it wasn't the first time the
pair have clashed. Wenger even pushed Mour-
inho in the chest in a touchline confrontation
during the teams' meeting at Stamford Bridge
Unsurprisingly, they didn't shake each other's
hand after the final whistle.
ROME---Juventus is still celebrating
reaching the Champions League
semifinals and the Bianconeri could
be in for some more festivities this
weekend in Serie A.
If Roma (at Inter Milan) and Lazio
(home against Chievo Verona) each
lose and Juventus beats Torino in the
Turin derby, Juventus will clinch its
fourth straight Italian league title
with six matches to spare.
Such a scenario seemed improbable
in July when Massimiliano Allegri was
an unpopular choice to replace
departed coach Antonio Conte.
Conte, the architect of Juve's last
three domestic titles, had resigned
surprisingly a day earlier to take over
Italy's national team, while Allegri had
been fired by AC Milan six months
"Our strongpoint was making a
choice that wasn't very popular,"
Marotta added. "But I think we laid
the groundwork for controlling the
season in the best manner possible."
Juventus has also reached the
Italian Cup final, where it is scheduled
to face Lazio on June 7.
However, with the Champions
League final scheduled for June 6, the
Cup championship could be moved if
Juventus advances in Europe.
Italian league officials apparently
did not expect one of their clubs to go
so far in the Champions League.
Here are a few other things to
know entering this weekend's
Coach Zdenek Zeman has left
Cagliari, which is in danger of
"I feel useless," Zeman said
Tuesday in bidding the squad
goodbye. "The players don't listen to
Youth squad coach Gianluca Festa
was appointed as a replacement for
the 67-year-old Zeman entering
Sunday's match at Fiorentina, with
former standout striker David Suazo
as his assistant.
Rafa Benitez has issued an
ultimatum to Napoli president Aurelio
De Laurentiis: Either start opening up
your wallet or find yourself a new
"I haven't seen the club's business
plan yet," Benitez said. "Before I
decide I've got to speak with the
Since De Laurentiis rescued Napoli
from bankruptcy a decade ago, he has
developed the club into a perennial
Serie A challenger while being careful
not to pile up any debts.
"De Laurentiis has done very well
over the last few years and the next
step is to see if he wants to continue
to control the club well, without any
debts, or try and approach Europe's
top clubs," Benitez said. "I want to
understand the business plan and
then I'll evaluate with my family
whether to stay or not."
Meanwhile, reports indicate that De
Laurentiis has already lined up
Sampdoria coach Sinisa Mihajlovic as
a replacement for Benitez.
The southern club hosts Sampdoria
and Mihajlovic on Sunday.
BARCELONA---Having booked their spots in the
Champions League semifinals, Barcelona and Real
Madrid now face tough away fixtures in the Span-
ish league this weekend with just two points sep-
arating the title rivals as the season enters its
After its 5-1 aggregate victory over Paris Saint-
Germain, Barcelona will aim to protect its slim
advantage over Madrid when it crosses the city to
play a derby at Espanyol on Saturday.
Madrid had a much harder time eliminating
Atletico Madrid with a 1-0 victory thanks to Javier
Hernandez's late goal. Carlo Ancelotti's team travels
to the northwestern coast to face a feisty Celta
Vigo side that gave Barcelona fits in a 1-0 loss early
Here are some things to know about the 33rd
round of the Spanish league:
Worth the trouble
Neymar's contract has been a legal nightmare
for Barcelona with the club mired in an alleged
case of tax fraud, but the Brazil striker is living up
to the hype as one of football's next stars.
Neymar netted two goals against PSG on Tuesday
to take his season tally to 30, leaving him second
in the team behind Lionel Messi's 46.
Luis Suarez has also come into his own with 19
The attacking trio has Barcelona in position to
win three titles, with Luis Enrique's team also in
the Copa del Rey final.
"We are alive and in good shape in three com-
petitions," Neymar said. "I'm very happy with my
performance this season, but above all I'm happy
with the work of all the team."
With its place in the first division for next season
secure and its cup campaign over, Espanyol's fans
see the chance to trip Barcelona up as its biggest
game left this season.
Tenth-place Espanyol will be missing Victor
Sanchez, one of coach Sergio Gonzalez's most used
players, as the former Barcelona midfielder serves
a one-game suspension.
But Espanyol is unbeaten in six rounds and will
be able to count on forward Sergio Garcia, one of
the best in the league at creating goals with little
space and even less help.
Striker Felipe Caicedo is its other main threat
with three goals this month.
Arsenal looks to delay Chelsea's coronation
Chelsea's Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho
takes his seat on the bench before their
English Premier League clash against QPR at
Loftus Road stadium in London. AP PHOTO
At the end of March, Leicester was on
an eight-match winless streak and an
apparent certainty to go down. Fast
forward a month and the Midlands club
is the form team among the relegation
contenders and on the verge of
escaping the bottom three.
Consecutive wins over West Ham,
West Bromwich Albion and Swansea
have seen Leicester climb off the
bottom of the standings and go tied on
points with 17th-place Hull. The first of
its remaining six matches is against
last-place Burnley on Saturday.
While Burnley hasn't scored in four
games, Leicester has netted 10 times in
that period, which is the reason behind
"The danger is people start believing
the job is done," Leicester manager
Nigel Pearson said. "It is far from it."
Three points separate the bottom five
teams with a month remaining in the
It was in Manchester City's win over
Aston Villa around this time last year that
Yaya Toure scored a solo goal with a
surging run from inside his own half,
summing up everything about the
midfielder: Power, strength, technique.
That capped a brilliant season on a
personal level for Toure, who scored 20
goals and was the driving force behind
City run to the title.
Heading into the teams' latest meeting
on Saturday, Toure is struggling to reach
the same levels, with his contribution and
work rate in midfield being criticized by
Tellingly, Toure's agent, Dimitri Seluk,
has popped up with comments in the
media about the player's future and said
he has received offers for Toure from two
"I want someone to say that they want
Yaya to stay at Manchester City," Seluk
City is fourth, a point behind Man
United and seven clear of fifth-place
Liverpool. Villa is four points clear of the
Barcelona's Neymar hugs his teammate Lionel
Messi, right, after scoring his second goal during
the Champions League quarterfinal second leg
match against Paris Saint Germain at the Camp
Nou Stadium in Barcelona, Spain, Tuesday.
Barcelona, Madrid face
tough away games
Juventus aims to
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