st English Premier League goal helped to end C
LONDON -- John Obi Mikels first English Premier League goal helped to end Chelseas four-game winless run in a 2-0 victory over Fulham on Saturday. Peyton Manning Authentic Jersey . After Oscar powered in the opener early in the second half, Mikel sliced the ball into the net in the 84th minute of the west London derby. "They have been killing me about it -- going to the national team and scoring but not here," the Nigeria midfielder said. "Im sure the guys will give me a lot of stick." Mikel had previously scored only twice for Chelsea, in the FA Cup in January 2007 during Jose Mourinhos first reign as manager. Mourinhos return has not gone to plan, presiding over the clubs worst start to a season since Roman Abramovichs investment started a decade ago. This victory, however unconvincing, enabled Chelsea to dislodge Liverpool from the top of the standings ahead of Sundays games. "We know our fans have been disappointed about a few performances going into these games so we wanted to give them something to cheer," Mikel said. But the season is barely a month old, enabling Mourinho to dismiss the early criticism. "To lose is a normal thing and it looks like for us its the end of the world," Mourinho said. "Some of (the teams) started the Premier League in a brilliant way, we started in a very bad way ... I read it was a disaster." Chelseas ability to remain among the title contenders will hinge on rediscovering the cutting edge thats been missing. To achieve that, Mourinho has shown hes willing to risk antagonizing his squad with public criticism. Midfielder Juan Mata and defender David Luiz were both in Mourinhos firing line on Saturday as they were left out of the squad and saw their abilities called into question. Mourinho knows his return to Chelsea after six years has not matched the expectations of fans who were ecstatic when the season began with a pair of wins. A draw and a loss domestically was followed by a losing start to the Champions League group stage, provoking a smattering of boos at Stamford Bridge after Wednesdays loss to Basel. "Sorry about your disappointment," Mourinho wrote in the matchday program. "But we will give you happiness." Maintaining harmony in the squad will be as important. The ostracizing of midfielder Mata, last seasons player of the year, has baffled many. Matas displays this season so far were "not convincing," Mourinho said as he justified dropping the Spaniard again on Saturday and warning that he has to "fight and work for his opportunities." That will come in the League Cup against Swindon on Tuesday. "I hope he tells me on the pitch, You are wrong, Im the best and I have to play every game," Mourinho said. "I would love that. Im waiting for a professional reaction." Mourinho also publicly castigated Luiz for his defensive performance in the 2-1 loss to Basle on Wednesday. Yet, Mourinho kept faith with Samuel Etoo to lead the strike force against Fulham, despite publicly doubting his sharpness against Basel. Etoo rarely came close to opening his account for Chelsea since joining from Russian club Anzhi Makhachkala, volleying wide and heading off target in the first half. Fulham, though, was even more ineffective up front as it slumped to a ninth loss in 12 matches stretching back to last season. "The first 50 minutes they were really worried," Fulham manager Martin Jol said. "They couldnt find the space, they couldnt find a solution and that is probably the moment you have to punish them and we couldnt do that." And the visitors were breached seven minutes into the second half. Goalkeeper David Stockdale parried from Andre Schurrle and couldnt keep hold of Etoos shot before Oscar blasted in the goal. To cheers, Etoo was replaced in the 64th by Fernando Torres, the only Chelsea striker to find the net this season. After Torres had a header pushed over Stockdale, the second goal came from the resulting corner from the unlikely source of Mikel after John Terry nodded the ball into this path. "The second half they stepped up a gear, they were more aggressive than us and that is what showed," Jol said. Dennis Smith Jersey . Compared to what hes gone through in recent weeks, that seemed like a breeze. Speaking to The Associated Press on Friday at an NBA Cares event, Silver said hes thrilled that the leagues attention can be on the championship series between the Miami Heat and San Antonio Spurs -- and not, as it was for so much of the post-season, on the off-the-court matters involving the banishment of Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling and now the looming sale of that franchise. Von Miller Jersey .com) - Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson lost an appeal to have his indefinite suspension overturned, the NFL announced Friday.(SportsNetwork.com) - There is no flex scheduling on Thursday nights, meaning the NFL Networks television vehicle will not exactly be going out with a bang this season. You can look at 2014s final Thursday Night Football battle between the Tennessee Titans and Jacksonville Jaguars in two ways, a tilt to decide who will end up in the AFC South cellar or an opportunity to garner a better pick in the 15 NFL Draft. The Titans and Jags will square off having mustered only two wins apiece with one of Tennessees coming when it edged Jacksonville, 16-14, back in Music City on Oct. 12. Since that game, the teams have combined to lose 14 of 16 contests with the Titans dropping eight straight in Ken Whisenhunts first season at the helm, and the Jaguars losing six of eight behind rookie quarterback Blake Bortles. Each team suffered its latest setback in Week 15 as Tennessee fell to the lowly New York Jets, 16-11, and Jacksonville came up short in Baltimore, 20-12. The Jets Chris Ivory scored on a 1-yard touchdown run with 3:09 remaining in the fourth quarter to lift New York to its triumph in Nashville although the Titans made it interesting and nearly pulled off another Music City Miracle on the games last play, lateraling numerous times before Delanie Walker came up short at the Jets 9-yard line. Jake Locker made his first start for the Titans since Week 5 and likely his last with the organization as he left the game late in the second quarter with a dislocated left shoulder. The injury-prone Locker, the No. 8 overall pick in the 2011 draft, started because rookie Zach Mettenberger re-injured his right shoulder the week prior. He was subsequently placed on season-ending injured reserve this week and is unlikely to return to the Titans next season. To me, hes a true pro, Whisenhunt said. Hes a great teammate, works hard and you obviously feel badly for Jake just from the standpoint of having to have surgery and his season being over. Charlie Whitehurst replaced Locker against the Jets and was 10-of-24 for 203 yards in his first action since Week 7. The veteran will start again this week and be backed up by the recently signed Jordan Palmer. I havent played as well as I wanted to this year. Theres a few plays I left out there, Whitehurst said. But every time I go out there, theres a few personal things that come out of it -- Its been fun to do it and kind of see what youre made of. Tennessees current eight-game skid is the franchises longest since the 1994 Houston Oilers dropped 11 straight. Jacksonville, meanwhile, fell in the Charm City when the Ravens Joe Flacco threw for 221 yards with a touchdown and the Baltimore defense kept the Jaguars out of the end zone. Josh Scobee kicked four field goals to account for the Jags entire offensive output. Bortles threw for 210 yards with an interception for the Jaguars. He was, however, also sacked eight times by a swarming Baltimore defense that limited Jacksonville to 248 total yards. Theres gonna be talk about how Hey Jacksonville played extremely hard, very physical, came into our house and did some really good things, special teams wise two phases did really good but I told them were not into moral victories, Jaguars head coach Gus Bradley said. Were into victories. Were into victories. Thats what were after. After the beating Bortles was diagnosed with a mid-foot sprain and has been in a walking boot but the Jags are hopeful he will play on Thursday and the rookie was back at practice on a limited basis by Tuesday. As far as I know, its going to be Blake, Jaguars offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch said Tuesday. Were going to obbviously see how he practices. Tom Jackson Broncos Jersey. He did better, Bradley added on Tuesday. You could see him improve. The Titans lead their all-time series with the Jags by a 22-17 margin, including the win earlier this season when Jackie Battle rushed for a TD and kicker Ryan Succop booted three field goals. Bortles threw for a career-high 336 yards and a touchdown in the setback but Tennessee sacked him six times and blocked a potential game-winning 55-yard field goal with 12 seconds left. WHAT TO WATCH FOR Tis the time of year when certain teams give up and the Titans seem to be at the top of that list, failing to succeed no matter who is under center, Mettenberger, Locker or Whitehurst. The (injury) circumstances arent great, but when something like that does happen, it does give you a chance, Whitehurst said. Theres no substitute for it. You get to play. You get to play in the NFL. The lack of a consistent competent option at the games most important position has hindered Tennessee all season and the Titans head into the final two games with the NFLs 29th ranked offense, mustering just 307.9 yards per game and scoring less than 14 points per game during their current skid. The Jags are even worse, however, 31st in a 32-team league while averaging under 300 ypg at 293.8. On paper that should make things easier for the respective defensive units but they havent exactly set the world on fire either as the Jags stop unit is ranked 28th, surrendering 372.6 ypg, and the Titans are actually a tick below at 29, allowing six yards more. The run game has been particularly daunting for Tennessee. The Titans cant run it, amassing under 65 yards per game over the last 2 1/2 months, and they cant stop opponents from running it, surrendering a league-worst 139.6 ypg. Jacksonville has a little more hope because Bortles, the No. 3 overall pick in last years draft, has shown signs, albeit only for brief periods. Bortles has thrown 10 touchdown passes versus 17 interceptions and has the leagues second-worst passer rating at 70.6 but hes also under significant duress more often than not, being sacked an NFL-high 41 times since hes taken over from Chad Henne. The impressive skill set is visible, though, and Bortles has embraced a leadership role. A lot of (the sacks) are on me, Bortles said. Some are on the offensive line. Its on the whole offense. Its football, so you better be used to getting hit. Bortles also seems aware that he needs to speed up his decision making. In college, you can run around and do more stuff, but in the NFL guys are a lot faster and stronger, the Central Florida product said. So its a little more difficult. You want to be able to get rid of the ball and live another down, not lose yards on third down and create longer field-goal situation. Those are definitely things Im working on. Whitehurst has actually been Tennessees most effective QB this season, compiling an 89.1 passer rating and going 1-2 as a starter with the lone triumph being against the Jags in the October game when he completed 17-of-28 passes for 233 yards. I feel good about Charlie and what hes done, Whisenhunt said. He started against Jacksonville the last time and played a pretty good game. Hes been a great support in the room, and we have confidence in him. OVERALL ANALYSIS Neither team looks primed to much offensively but the Jags seem like the lesser of two evils here mainly because the Titans have been an abject disaster on the road, losing six straight and being outscored by an average of 34 to 16 in those games. Sports Network predicted outcome: Jaguars 16, Titans 13 Cheap NFL Jerseys Cheap NFL Jerseys China Cheap Jerseys From China Cheap NFL Jerseys Authentic Wholesale Jerseys China Cheap NFL Jerseys China NFL Cheap Jerseys Cheap NFL Jerseys ' ' '
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