Mour­inho feels heat as strik­ers stum­ble

Jose be­moans lack of goals ahead of clash with log lead­ers

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - SPORT -

JOSE MOUR­INHO ad­mits he is start­ing to feel the strain of Chelsea’s in­con­sis­tent form as his side head to Arse­nal for a cru­cial clash against the Pre­mier League lead­ers.

Mour­inho is grow­ing in­creas­ingly vexed by the mis­fir­ing form of Chelsea’s strik­ers and the Blues boss has so far been un­able to find a so­lu­tion to a prob­lem that threat­ens to wreck the team’s chal­lenge for the ti­tle.

Fer­nando Tor­res, Sa­muel Eto’o and Demba Ba have scored just five league goals be­tween them this term, leav­ing Mour­inho un­der pres­sure to re­solve the is­sue by mak­ing a sign­ing in the Jan­uary trans­fer mar­ket.

A host of play­ers, in­clud­ing Zenit St Peters­burg striker Hulk and Atletico Madrid for­ward Diego Costa, have been linked with Chelsea, but Mour­inho must make do and mend un­til then, start­ing with the most sig­nif­i­cant match of the sea­son to date at the Emi­rates Sta­dium on Mon­day.

While a win for sec­ond­placed Liver­pool over Cardiff at An­field to­day would knock Arse­nal off the top, the re­sult of the Lon­don derby be­tween the Gun­ners and Chelsea will be seen as an in­di­ca­tion of which club is more likely to last the pace in the ti­tle race.

A win for Arse­nal would take them five points clear of third-placed Chelsea, who have al­ready lost seven times in all com­pe­ti­tions this sea­son and have deep­ened the sense of gloom at Stam­ford Bridge fol­low­ing their sur­prise League Cup quar­ter-fi­nal de­feat at a strug­gling Sun­der­land in mid­week.

In the cir­cum­stances, Mour­inho could do with his strik­ers fi­nally find­ing their shoot­ing boots and he said: “Miss­ing goals. It’s al­ways the same words. It’s un­be­liev­able.

“Even on the bench, I feel ev­ery time we miss a chance and the score is 0-0, 1-0, 2-1, 1-1, I feel the pres­sure.

“I feel that miss­ing the chances, maybe later you are pun­ished. We have this prob­lem.

“In ev­ery match we lost in Eng­land, in the Pre­mier League and in the cup at Sun­der­land, we were the best team by far. We cre­ate, we en­joy the ball, we were al­ways very com­fort­able on the pitch. We had un­be­liev­able chances to score to kill the game. We don’t do it.”

Arse­nal will be with­out Eng­land mid­fielder Jack Wil­shere on Mon­day af­ter he was handed a two-game sus­pen­sion for mak­ing an of­fen­sive ges­ture at Manch­ester City fans dur­ing last weekend’s 6-3 thrash­ing.

That hum­bling re­sult raised ques­tions about Arse­nal’s abil­ity to main­tain their ti­tle chal­lenge and the likely ab­sence of French de­fender Lau­rent Ko­scielny, who suf­fered a deep gash in his knee just be­fore half-time at East­lands, is a fur­ther blow for Arsene Wenger’s side.

Sev­enth-placed Tot­ten­ham visit Southamp­ton for their first league match since the sack­ing of man­ager An­dre Vil­las-Boas on Mon­day.

Tim Sher­wood took charge on a care­taker ba­sis for the mid­week League Cup loss to West Ham and his first move was to bring back Togo striker Em­manuel Ade­bayor, who had been dropped by Vil­las-Boas.

Ade­bayor re­sponded with a bril­liant strike against the Ham­mers and he said: “I was hang­ing in there wait­ing for my chance. Tim gave me the chance to play foot­ball again.

“I’ve still got my smile on my face. I got a chance, I took it well. We just have to keep work­ing hard, put more heart into it and it will be bet­ter.” – Sapa-AFP

MORE PUNCH UP FRONT: Chelsea are eye­ing Diego Costa to solve their striker prob­lems.

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