Dec 12, 2012, 6:03 PM EDT
In terms of player quality, Monterrey is hardly meat scraps. Los Rayados is well equipped with quality men – but not the caliber of collective quality they’ll see in European champion Chelsea early, early tomorrow morning as the pair meet in a FIFA Club World Cup semifinal in Japan.
So, all things being equal, the likes of Eden Hazard, Peter Cech, Ashley Cole, Frank Lampard, Juan Mata, Fernando Torres, etc., should be sufficient to overwhelm a side that just finished Mexico’s fall campaign mid-table, with a barley middling five wins in 17 matches.
But, all things are hardly equal. Not according to Blues manager Rafa Benitez, who seems concerned about Monterrey’s edge in body clock adjustment.
Monterrey, CONCACAF champs, arrived into Japan on Dec. 5. They have already played and won.
Chelsea, by comparison, dropped in only on Sunday. A very, very long Sunday. They played Saturday (a win at Sunderland) and then embarked on the long trip, via Helsinki (somehow) into Japan. That’s nine time zones if you are counting.
It’s quite difficult. We’ve tried to adapt to the time, the pitch, the ball. Everything. It’s all a bit new, but we’ve done everything we have to do.
“My experience in this tournament is that we have to assess the players the day before, see how they feel.
“Sometimes you can see some players are fresher than others. We were analyzing Monterrey and will look at our players before deciding which team to pick. We have options.
FYI, the oddsmakers are not buying it; the West London side is a goal to a goal-and-a-half favorite against the Mexican club.
Apr 16, 2014, 5:40 PM EDT
Real win Copa del Rey as Barcelona’s bad run continues:
Apr 16, 2014, 5:26 PM EDT
One more spot in MLS’s planned expansion is gone, with Atlanta set to begin play in 2017.
Apr 16, 2014, 4:52 PM EDT
Two late goals gave Sunderland a lead, one City pulled back just before full-time.
Apr 16, 2014, 4:51 PM EDT
Eagles soar to safety, but Everton’s Champions League dreams are in ruins:
Apr 16, 2014, 3:37 PM EDT
Two of Serie A’s most productive scorers may not be at this summer’s World Cup. Llorente wonders why.
Apr 16, 2014, 2:56 PM EDT
Which Liverpool player picked up the Player of the Week accolade?
Apr 16, 2014, 2:44 PM EDT
Both sides look to cash in on matches in hand at the Etihad.
Apr 16, 2014, 2:25 PM EDT
Can Tim Howard and the Toffees win their eighth-straight game? Watch live online, right here:
Apr 16, 2014, 2:00 PM EDT
Having MLS teams share their home with NFL sides could be a smart move ahead of the next wave of expansion:
Apr 16, 2014, 1:28 PM EDT
Find out who made the PL Team of the Week, right here:
Apr 16, 2014, 12:35 PM EDT
Two PL matches take place on Wednesday, with both set to impact the top and bottom of the standings:
Apr 16, 2014, 12:04 PM EDT
Are you ready to get ‘Duff-ed?’
Apr 16, 2014, 11:15 AM EDT
Watch all 10 PL games across 10 different channels on final day of the season. All the details, right here:
Apr 16, 2014, 11:00 AM EDT
PlayStation, mafia-style fights, Gattuso and not feeling pressure… welcome to the extremely cool world of Pirlo:
Apr 16, 2014, 10:16 AM EDT
Ahead of their cup final with Real Madrid, here’s why Barca must prevail:
Apr 16, 2014, 8:57 AM EDT
MLS heading to the Twin Cities?
Apr 16, 2014, 7:58 AM EDT
Kroos’ camp say he won’t move on until 2015, as Bayern and United scrap over German star.
Apr 16, 2014, 7:15 AM EDT
The top 10 best paid sports teams in the world revealed. Find out who pays the most, right here:
Apr 15, 2014, 11:10 PM EDT
Mexico’s top two teams reach halftime of their two-legged final, with leg two kickoff next Wednesday in Toluca.
Apr 15, 2014, 9:42 PM EDT
The top four remain unchanged, while Houston, New England, and Portland make big shifts on this week’s chart.
- Real Madrid beat Barcelona to win Copa del Rey, as Bale’s brilliance seals it 0
- It’s official: Atlanta gets Major League Soccer’s 22nd franchise 0
- Manchester City 2-2 Sunderland: Two Wickham goals, late Nasri equalizer leave sides even 1
- Everton 2-3 Crystal Palace: Toffees’ top four hopes take huge hit 4
- Ahead of Atlanta’s expected MLS entry, are NFL stadium shares the way to go? 9
- Premier League Preview: Man City host Sunderland, Everton face Palace 0