Wednesday August 24, 2005
Arjen faces wrath of Mourinho
LONDON: Arjen Robben is set to become the latest high-profile Chelsea player to be dropped by Jose Mourinho when the Premiership champions take on West Bromwich Albion at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday.
But unlike Ricardo Carvalho, dropped from last weekend's 1-0 win against Arsenal, Robben is not being demoted for speaking out against Chelsea's squad rotation policy.
The Dutch winger started the match against Arsenal but was substituted after 59 minutes and made his disgust clear by storming down the tunnel.
Robben, also substituted during the 1-0 opening day win against Wigan, said afterwards that dropping players after a handful of games was not good for them or the team.
However, Mourinho insisted on Monday that there was no comparison between Robben and Carvalho's remarks
“Arjen is completely different. He has an opinion and he expressed it. But I knew about it before I read it in the press.
“The only problem is the comments came after Ricardo's situation. But when you read what he is saying it is nothing special.
“He has things he can say to me and I can accept. Of course, I am not going to change my mind.
“When he says he doesn't want to sit on the bench, on Wednesday he will be on the bench.”
Arsenal meanwhile will look to bounce back against fellow London side Fulham at Highbury after manager Arsene Wenger's 500th game in charge of the Gunners ended in defeat.
Arsenal defender Ashley Cole said it was far too early to talk about the end of the team's title challenge.
“There's still a long way to go. Of course, it's always nice to beat the other big clubs but we've got to be focused for Wednesday's game and if we get a good result, everyone will be buzzing again.”
But the England full-back knows he will be lining up in a defence where international team-mate and centre-back Sol Campbell is once again set to be missing with a calf strain.
That places additional responsibility on 21-year-old Philippe Senderos who, for the second time in two weeks following the Community Shield encounter in Cardiff, was outmuscled by Chelsea striker Didier Drogba, the scorer of the Blues' winner.
“Philippe has done marvellously when he's come in,” Cole added.
“He's a strong lad, he's brilliant around the park and very upbeat. He might be down now but he'll be refocused for the next game.”
Today's other games see Blackburn and Tottenham, both fresh from victories over Fulham and Middlesbrough respectively, meet at Ewood Park while Bolton, 1-0 losers against Everton on Sunday, are at home to a Newcastle side that could only manage a goalless draw against Premiership new boys West Ham on Saturday.
Newcastle manager Graeme Souness admitted on Monday that he needed a new striker to take the pressure off lone front man Alan Shearer, although Shola Ameobi will be available for the trip to the Reebok after completing a three-game ban.
“I am not in on the conversations with the agents and clubs that we are trying to buy players from, but we need a couple of goal-getters to take the burden off Alan,” Souness told the Newcastle Evening Chronicle.
“We need a few more door-openers and a person to put the ball in the back of the net.” – AFP