Egyptian winger Mohamed Salah is desperate to kickstart his career at Chelsea.
He is yet to start for Jose Mourinho‘s men, but has already scored against them this season when he bagged Basle’s winner in the Champions League.
“I hope I can now start to score for Chelsea, not against Chelsea,” he told Chelsea Magazine. “I know it will not be easy to play every game for Chelsea because we have so many very good players in my position, but I hope to show how hard I work and then we will see.
“This move is a fantastic thing for me – going to a big team like this is fantastic for anyone – and I hope I can play here for a long time and have a good career.
“Football in Switzerland and England is a little bit different.
“But if you were to go straight from Egypt to the Premier League, it would be too difficult – it’s not possible!”
Cameroonian Samuel Eto’o and Senegalese Demba Ba stole the show as Chelsea thrashed Tottenham 4-0 at the weekend to take a seven-point English Premier League lead.
Eto’o, who turned 33 Monday, celebrated breaking the deadlock by staggering toward the corner flag after manager Jose Mourinho recently suggested he may be older.
Ba, who last week ended a long spell in the international wilderness owing to limited club game time, replaced Eto’o and bagged a late brace.
In France, Mali international Sigamary Diarra earned Ajaccio a valuable point while Ghana striker Abdul Majeed Waris scored again for relegation-threteaned Valenciennes.
SAMUEL ETO’O (Chelsea)
Eto’o grabbed the headlines with a goal, an assist and a cheeky goal celebration as Chelsea trounced Tottenham. The Cameroon star broke the deadlock in the 56th minute and celebrated by staggering towards the corner flag like an old man, in reference to Mourinho’s recent suggestion that he may be older than he claims to be. Four minutes later, he won the penalty from which Eden Hazard doubled Chelsea’s lead.
DEMBA BA (Chelsea)
Ba threatened to upstage Eto’o with a late brace after replacing his team-mate in the 76th minute at Stamford Bridge. He pounced after Sandro was unable to clear a cross from Oscar to put Chelsea 3-0 up in the 88th minute and claimed his second goal a minute later after capitalising on a calamitous back header by Kyle Walker.
SONE ALUKO (Hull City)
Aluko squandered an opportunity to put Hull ahead in their FA Cup quarter-final with Sunderland when he saw a first-half penalty saved by Oscar Ustari. The Nigerian’s blushes were spared in the second half, however, as goals from Curtis Davies, David Meyler and Matty Fryatt secured a 3-0 win that set up a last-four date with third-tier Sheffield United.
SEBASTIEN BASSONG (Norwich City)
Bassong cost his team two points in the race for Premier League survival after conceding a penalty in a 1-1 draw at home to Stoke City. Norwich led through Bradley Johnson’s header when the Cameroonian centre-back rashly brought down John Guidetti in the penalty area, enabling Jonathan Walters to level in the 73rd minute.
YOUSSEF EL-ARABI (Granada)
Moroccan forward El-Arabi registered his ninth La Liga goal of the season as Granada eased their relegation fears with a 2-0 win over Villarreal.
SOFIANE FEGHOULI (Valencia)
Feghouli provided his fourth assist in his last seven La Liga games as he teed up Paco Alcacer to open the scoring against Athletic Bilbao. However, the Algerian midfielder undid his good work by upending Ander Herrera to allow Aritz Aduriz to equalise from the penalty spot in a 1-1 draw.
Angolan striker Manucho played 66 minutes as Valladolid stunned Spanish champions Barcelona 1-0.
KWADWO ASAMOAH (Juventus)
Another piece of absolute magic from Black Stars midfielder Kwadwo Asamoah saw Juventus beat visitors Fiorentina 1-0 and extend their lead atop the Italian Serie A table to 14 points. Even more awe-inspiring was that the 24-year-old left-footed star’s stunning effort into the top corner came from his right foot with four defenders surrounding him.
GERVINHO (AS Roma)
Gervinho showed more pace and creativity than he did in last week’s scoreless draw at home against Inter, but the Ivorian was guilty of missing more than one great scoring chance to give Roma the lead away to Napoli in a match billed as crucial for the Giallorossi’s title bid. It finished 1-0 in favour of Napoli, who remain third but are now three points behind Roma.
IBRAHIMA MBAYE (Livorno)
Mbaye has shown steady improvement on his debut Serie A season, but the Senegalese defender – on loan at Livorno from Inter but reportedly attracting interest from a number of top foreign clubs – took that up a notch with a first-half brace away to resurgent Sampdoria. The Genoese side eventually awoke from their slumber to score four second-half goals in a 4-2 win that left Livorno third from bottom.
MICHAEL ESSIEN (AC Milan)
Essien was one of Milan’s better players during a 1-0 defeat away to Udinese which put a severe dent in the Rossoneri’s faint hopes of Europa League qualification. The Ghanaian saw a long-range effort go over the bar but was mostly noticeable for a battling display in an otherwise mediocre collective performance.
MAME DIOUF (Hanover 96)
The Senegal striker faces a lengthy lay-off after dislocating his shoulder in a 1-1 Bundesliga draw with Bayer Leverkusen. The 26-year-old came off after just 15 minutes and a MRI scan will show whether he needs an operation with 10 Bundesliga matches left this season.
CHINEDU OBASI & JOEL MATIP (Schalke 04)
Nigerian striker Obasi scored his first goal of the season when he netted Schalke’s third in their 4-0 hammering of Hoffenheim. Playing on the right wing, Obasi converted a pass from Ghana midfielder Kevin-Prince Boateng. Cameroon centre-back Matip also weighed in with an assist when he provided the final pass for Klaas-Jan Huntelaar to net Schalke’s first goal after only six minutes.
DOMINICK KUMBELA (Eintracht Braunschweig)
The Democratic Republic of Congo-born striker weighed in with an assist as Bundesliga bottom side Braunschweig picked up a point in a 2-2 draw at VfB Stuttgart. Kumbela set up Braunschweig’s 82nd-minute equaliser from a corner when he scrambled the ball to defender Ermin Bicakcic in the six-yard box.
ERIC CHOUPO-MOTING (Mainz 05)
Cameroon’s striker scored his third goal in four games when he netted a second-half penalty to give Mainz 05 a 1-1 draw at home to Hertha Berlin. Colombia striker Adrian Ramos had given Hertha a second-half lead, but Mainz levelled after South Korea’s Park Joo-Ho was fouled in the area.
SIGAMARY DIARRA (Ajaccio)
The Malian netted a dramatic injury time leveller to earn Ajaccio a valuable point in the fight against relegation. The 30-year-old picked up a long ball from Senegalese midfielder Ricardo Faty before slotting home in the 2-2 draw. Algerian midfielder Mehdi Mostefa had given the Corsicans a fifth-minute lead.
SERGE GAKPE (Nantes)
Togo forward Gakpe was on the scoresheet for only the second time this season as he converted a cross from Senegalese defender Issa Cissokho in the 2-2 draw with Ajaccio that extended Nantes’s winless run to almost two months.
ABDUL MAJEED WARIS (Valenciennes)
The Ghana forward set up a goal and then bagged the winner 14 minutes from time as Valenciennes boosted their survival hopes with a 2-1 win over Rennes. Waris crossed for Mathieu Dossevi to equalise and then slotted home the rebound after his penalty had been saved for the winner.
Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Cech was delighted to see Demba Ba amongst the goals in victory over Tottenham.
Cech feels he could become an unexpected hero for the run-in like some of the fringe members of the squad from the victorious Champions League success in 2012.
He said: “Of course Demba may still have a big role to play. You need everybody because you never know what can happen.
“Two seasons ago when we played the Champions League Final, we suddenly had all our central defenders injured and one banned and needed everybody to fill in and play.
“It’s credit to the guys like Demba who aren’t playing much because you can see that anything might happen and we need everyone in the team to be ready. Samuel came in just before the kick-off for Fernando and then Demba came on with 15 minutes to go and they both did really well.
“It’s credit to them that they keep working hard and waiting for their opportunity to help the team to achieve success. Everybody seems to be doing that.”
Victor Valdes is happy for former Barcelona teammate Yaya Toure over his success with Manchester City.
Valdes is not surprised that City have nurtured Toure’s attacking qualities.
He told the Daily Mail: “Here, Yaya started as a holding midfielder and he had a way of playing that suited what Pep (Guardiola, Barca’s former coach) wanted from a central defender, so he played there, too.
“But his strength is carrying the ball forward and that ultimately means you have to be playing further forward. He protects the ball so well — and now you are all discovering something that I already knew only too well: he has some shot on him. I learned about that in training a long time ago!”
Ghana Football Association president Kwesi Nyantakyi believes the Black Stars have the can win the 2014 FIFA World Cup finals.
Concerns have been raised about Ghana’s World Cup campaign after last Wednesday’s 1-0 friendly defeat to Montenegro.
This June’s tournament in Brazil will be tough for African giants who face Portugal, USA and Germany in Group G but Nyantakyi has played down suggestions that last week’s defeat could be used as an index to measure the chances of the Black Stars.
“I can promise you that Ghana will qualify from the group and lift the trophy at this year’s World Cup,” Nyantakyi said on Accra-based radio station.
“The friendly against Montenegro was a useful exercise and it strengthen our believe that we have all it takes to go all the way in this year’s World Cup.”
Ghana will face Holland on 31 May in a friendly.
The 2010 World Cup quarter-finalists will then engage Honduras at their camping base in Los Angeles, USA before the tournament starts on 12 June.
Cote D’Ivoire skipper Didier Drogba is still in an impressive scoring form in top-flight football a week to his 36th birthday.
The striker bagged a brace for his club Galatasaray as they hammered visitors Akhisar 6-1 in the Turkish Superlig on Saturday.
The goals come just three days after the former Chelsea star scored to inspire a Cote D’Ivoire fight-back from two goals down to 2-2 in an international friendly with Belgium in Brussels.
Drogba gave Gala the lead in the 13th minute and scored again three minutes after the break to make it 3-0.
The two-time African Player of the Year now has an impressive ten goals in 21 appearances this season.
He turns 36 on March 11.
Senegal striker Demba Ba was delighted to be amongst the goals in Chelsea‘s rout of Tottenham on Saturday.
He has struggled to take his limited opportunities off the bench since, but will hope his double strike earns further chances, especially as Fernando Torres faces a spell out with a groin injury.
“That was a great day for the whole team and the whole club,” Ba told Chelsea TV.
“I try to deal with what I’ve been given and it’s not always easy, but I just do what I have to do. I just take the chance to score and I did.”
Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho was full of praise for Samuel Eto’o after his goal in victory over Tottenham.
The Cameroon international turns 33 today.
“Eto’o was brilliant,” said Mourinho. “You can speak about (Jan) Vertonghen’s mistake but it was only Vertonghen’s mistake because Eto’o is there. If Eto’o does not read the situation the defender or the goalkeeper will get the ball.
“He’s not a 20 years old super-fast player like he was 10 years ago, so he needs to be close to the goal, he needs his feet in the box and he’s very intelligent in the way he moves.”
Moroccan midfielder Adel Taarabt says he’s “flourishing” at AC Milan.
The midfielder is on-loan at Milan from QPR.
“Have I finally found the club I need to show my talents? Clearly,” he told Le Matin.
“There is no comparison between where I’ve been and where I am currently. Milan is a great club and I am well suited to it here. There are all the conditions to let me give my best.
“I am fortunate to be at a great professional club, one that strives to ensure the players only have to focus on the pitch. When you are in a context like this, it makes you transcend your limitations.
“I flourished at Milan and it shows on the field. I am happy to join this great club and hope to stay as long as possible.”
A late Demba Ba brace and a goal from Samuel Eto’o in the second half saw Chelsea cruise past 10-man Tottenham 4:0 in the English Premier League on Saturday.
There had been little to separate both sides until some shambolic defending gifted Chelsea at least three of the goals in the closing half.
Eto’o struck first in the 56th minute after intercepting back pass by a player that had lost his footing and coolly slotting under the goalkeeper.
The legendary Cameroonian then celebrated in a way that mocked recent suggestions that he was past his prime when he ran to the corner flag and held his waist.
There was more misery to come for Spurs when substitute Ba profited from another defender’s slip to make it 3:0 on 88 minutes. The Senegal star was on target again a minute later when he took advantage of more comical defending to strike home.
The victory provisionally lifts Chelsea seven points clear atop the table.
Nigeria midfielder Mikel Obi and Egypt star Mohamed Salah were unused substitutes for Chelsea, while Togo star Emmanuel Adebayor featured all 90 minutes for Spurs but failed to find the back of the net.