Tag Archives: Chelsea

Leicester City: The Greatest Sports Story. Ever.

 

By Nate Flax

As the clock hit the 96th minute of the Tottenham – Chelsea match, the entire soccer world realized that the greatest underdog story in sport history had concluded. After trailing 2-0 at halftime, Chelsea came back to draw with the second place Tottenham Hotspur, thanks to a brilliant 80th minute equalizer by Chelsea’s Eden Hazard. As the final whistle blew to end the heated London Derby, Tottenham’s title hopes were dashed and for the second year in a row, a new Premier League champion was decided at Stamford Bridge. However, this time it wasn’t one of England’s heavyweight contenders, but instead a club that had been written off before the season even started.

Leicester City

Located right in the heart of England, world-famous clubs, always surrounded Leicester with Manchester just to the North and London to the South, but until this year, very few that did not follow the BPL closely even knew a soccer club existed there, even though the team was founded in 1884 (132 years ago). The Leicester City Foxes were simply insignificant, finishing at the bottom of the table the year before and had only received promotion into England’s top league the year before that. They entered the season 5000-1 odds to win the title this year and featured a team that had cost just £80 million to put together (to put in perspective Manchester City spent £80 million on one transfer alone earlier in the year). Billy Beane’s Moneyball scheme wouldn’t stand a chance against this. Other recent previous 5000-1 odds as explained by ESPN’s Paul Carr included 16-year-old Paul Chaplet’s chances at this year’s Masters (where he shot 21 over par and finished dead last) and the Minnesota Timberwolves’ chances to make the playoffs with a month left in the season and their record sitting at 14-35. The odds for Elvis Presley being found alive were also 5000-1.

Being written off before the season even started, Leicester really had no chance of failing any expectations given to them, quite frankly because there were no expectations to start with. But that’s when everything clicked. Led by Riyad Mahrez, Danny Drinkwater, Jamie Vardy, and seasoned manager Claudio Ranieri, the Foxes outdid themselves by continuing to be that pesky opponent that just wouldn’t give up even though they seemingly had no business competing with powerhouses like Manchester City, Manchester United, Arsenal, and Chelsea. Yet somehow, with Chelsea holding Tottenham to a draw, Leicester City sat seven points clear on top of the table with just two games to play, making it impossible for anyone to catch them, and crowning them the kings of England. With the third smallest budget in the Premier League, the Foxes became the first team not named Manchester City, Manchester United, Arsenal, or Chelsea in 21 years to win the title, and just the sixth to win out of 48 that have tried since 1992. After a season that proved that money can’t always guarantee a crown, Leicester City concluded the fairy tale of a season that underdogs could previously only dream of.

The Ugly Face of Racism in International Soccer

By Kaleb Page

February 23, 2015

This past Tuesday a huge match in UEFA Champions League play took place between Chelsea and PSG (Paris St-Germain). An anticipated match-up between two premiere soccer clubs from England and France that will decide who can move along in the biggest tournament aside from the World Cup.

The first leg of this ended in a 1-1 draw, and despite the draw the intensity was high all the way to the finish. It will be interesting to see the finale in England on March 11th as both teams have aspirations of taking the entire tournament.

Prior to this match however, Chelsea fans did show the ugly side that has been plaguing international soccer for many years.

In the video below you will see a metro station in Paris and in that metro there were Chelsea fans boarding to make their trip to the match. As the train car began to fill up a man tried to board and fit in the last little space available. Now I say “tried” because he was pushed off by the Chelsea fans.

As you can see from the video the Chelsea fans are white, while the man getting on the train is a black man. The worst part of the entire video is the explicit chanting of ‘we’re racist and that’s the way we like it.’ It is videos like these that really put a horrible stigma on supporters of football clubs around the world.

This past year we had a post by fellow blogger Alex O’Connor about how Manchester City player Yaya Touré was sent racial slurs over social media. These tweets coming from none other than Chelsea supporters.

The Chelsea front office has condemned such actions by their supporters and for this most recent incident in Paris, have suspended three of the fans in the video from attending their home grounds. A possible lifetime ban is also on the table says the club if there is sufficient evidence to support that ruling.

FIFA, for as long as I can remember, has been pushing to end this type of behavior. You will see prior to matches players, coaches and officials take pictures with a banner titled ‘say no to racism.’ Sometimes even they have players read off speeches prior to events encouraging fans and fellow players to end this terrible behavior.

I find it interesting that this story really has not picked up much of a reaction here in the United States. I know that this is ‘across the pond,’ but it is something I think needs to be talked about here as well. It still plagues us here as a society with not only racism in everyday life but as well in sports.

I hope that the media picks up on this story and shows the faces of these people who blatantly showed the ugly side of sports and racism. It is time to dismantle this in the world of sports because sport is something that should bring us together no matter what race or ethnicity you might be.

If FIFA and Chelsea are as serious as they say about this, they will come down hard on these ‘fans’ once and for all.

Concussions: Why the World and Soccer Should Listen

By Kaleb Page

When it comes to the topic of concussions in sports the main sport in question is football. Rarely do you find discussion on concussions in any other sport and one rarely finds criticism thrown at other sports like one does with football. The time has come to look at the sport of soccer or fútbol, as a concerning area for concussions.

Recently in a match between Arsenal and Chelsea, Thibaut Courtois, who is a rising star at goalkeeper for Chelsea, fell victim to a blow that left him unconscious on the pitch. This blow resulted after a ball came in the box towards forward Alexis Sánchez of Arsenal and Courtois slid in to recover the ball before Sánchez could get a boot on the ball. The scene was a car- crash-like pile on the pitch that left Sánchez looking over a knocked out Courtois.

Doctors and training staff members came on to check out the star keeper and run what was said to be the Premier League’s standard for head injuries. Even though the guidelines were ran, there is one disturbing fact about what happened following this severe head injury.

For 14 minutes after the injury and testing, Courtois was allowed to play on. Yes, you read that right. The guy who was just lying on the ground unconscious after receiving a knee to the head was allowed to get up and play like nothing even happened. He was eventually taken out of the game, but that was after the fact that he played on for 14 minutes. Now if this happened in the game of football the uproar would be astounding and would almost guaranteed be the talk of sports for weeks on end. Yet when you turn on the television to SportsCenter, Fox Sports Tonight or even NBC Sports Network do you see the same outcry as if it was a sport like football? The resounding answer is no.

Taylor Twellman, who contributes on ESPN broadcasts for soccer, is a very outspoken member of the soccer community who has had his own battle with concussions in soccer. His own professional career was cut short by the mishandling of a concussion he received while playing. He recently looked at the mishandling of this concussion and the concussions in this sport over the years.

Even if you trace back to the World Cup this summer, Twellman was angered by the handling of concussions on the world’s biggest stage for soccer. Several players received concussions in various games, and yet they played on, or attempted to at least. This prompted a response from Twellman saying that, “It’s barbaric. The way FIFA has turned an eye to head injuries, it’s 1950s-ish.”

I could not agree more with Twellman and some of the others in the soccer community who have concern with the treatment and handling of head trauma in soccer. In this most recent development with a rising star like Courtois, it brings this issue to the forefront where it belongs just like it does with football concussions. In the end the question needs to be asked to FIFA and the respective leagues around the World: Do you care about your athletes’ well-being or are you going to continue to pretend like you care?