The Blues are chasing a first Premier League title since 2009/10, but won the Champions League in 2012 and the Europa League in 2013. Jose Mourinho has made it clear Chelsea are in a transitional period, but Cech is one of four survivors from his title-winning sides from his first spell in a squad full of talent and potential. Press Association “We need to rediscover our killer instinct in the way that when we have chances to kill games off we need to do it,” Cech added. “You can’t keep your opponent alive and it happened to us many times this year.” Chelsea drew at Arsenal on Monday after adopting a defensive approach which prompted home fans to label the visitors ‘boring’. Cech hit back at the criticism and could not resist pointing to Arsenal’s eight-year trophy drought. “Well in the end you count the titles,” he said. “If you have figure skating where you are judged by how nicely your routine is then obviously that is one point, but football is about points and goals and you need to get points to win trophies.” Petr Cech hopes Chelsea’s trophy-winning experience can prove crucial in the Barclays Premier League title race. In recent years Chelsea have been out of title contention by Christmas, but Mourinho’s men enter the Boxing Day bout with Swansea two points behind first-placed Liverpool, who lead Arsenal on goal difference and visit Stamford Bridge on Sunday. “We are right up there – we are two points (behind),” Cech said. “We don’t depend on anyone else. If we win our games we have a big chance of winning the title so it’s very positive and we know that we haven’t hit the best level of this team yet. We are improving and hopefully that will show. “We have won things in the past years which give us experience as a team so let’s see if we can use that as our advantage. “We have been in these situations many times fighting for the titles and playing under pressure before and after Christmas. “Towards the end of the season you have a lot of pressure because you need to get results and hopefully our experience will pay off.” Chelsea have made a stuttering start and lost away to Everton, Newcastle and Stoke, while strikers Fernando Torres, Samuel Eto’o and Demba Ba – with five Premier League goals between them – are still to fully fire. Too often, according to Cech, Chelsea have let their opponents off the hook, making their own lives difficult.
Eye-popping, unpopular opinion: It’s not on Adam Gase. At least, not entirely.The Jets’ 2019 season has been a nightmare. For fans, it’s been like waking up late on a Monday morning, discovering someone stole your car, turning on the news and then finding out it was wrecked when it went through the front of a 7-11, destroying the Slurpee machine in the process. It’s been bitter, and it gets worse. Look at the recent Cowboys run, or the Rams in 2018, or any other team that had a hope of winning a Lombardi Trophy. No line, no time, no dimes. That’s just the way football works and has always worked. What good is having a downfield threat in Robby Anderson if there’s no time for Darnold to get him the ball?There are injuries at key positions elsewhere: Big-ticket free agent C.J. Mosley has only played in two games this season, dealing with groin injuries. Avery Williamson, Mosley’s linebacker runningmate, was injured during the preseason. Rookie Blake Cashman is on IR with a shoulder injury. Cornerback Trumaine Johnson was benched and is now out for the season, as well. The list goes on.It’s easy to point to Gase’s 23-25 record with the Dolphins and say history is repeating itself, but the 2019 season requires context. You can’t tell Gase’s Jets story until you tell all of it: The injuries. The roster. The lack of depth. The mono. The ghosts.This is not Gase’s team; it’s not even Joe Douglas’ team yet. The new GM has barely figured out how to work the thermostat in his new office. If Douglas was brought in to helm the operation alongside Gase, then he and Gase should be allowed at least one offseason together to figure out how to mold and shape the roster in their image. If 2020 rolls around and the results aren’t there, then heads will roll, and rightfully so. But some amount of time should be afforded to new coaches in situations as bad as that of the Jets.There’s also the reminder that Douglas’ monstrous, six-year contract, which outlasts Gase’s deal, means that if things don’t work out with the coach in the immediate, he’ll have an opportunity to build with someone else; a coach of his choosing. But we are still far from that point.UPDATED NFL DRAFT ORDER:Giants jump ahead of victorious Jets, DolphinsThis isn’t to absolve Gase or make excuses for him — his offense has looked beyond poor during his tenure. A lot of that, though, is due to the horrific offensive line play and a lack of weapons on the offensive side of the ball. Tight end Chris Herndon played just 16 snaps this season between suspension and injuries and has landed on IR. Quincy Enunwa, who figured to be one of Darnold’s biggest receiving threats prior to the season, was injured in Week 1. The offensive line can’t get to the second level and give Le’Veon Bell even a little more room to breathe. But if team owner Christopher Johnson’s vote of confidence Tuesday to keep Gase through 2019 and 2020 means anything, it’s that this is not Gase’s fault.WEEK 11 NFL PICKS:Against the spread | Straight-up predictionsJohnson pointed to the working relationship between Gase and new general manager Joe Douglas; Gase and Sam Darnold and the rest of the players on the roster. Johnson also pointed to the fact that players in the locker room were open to the idea of Gase sticking around for this year and potentially next.There are likely other reasons that Gase is staying. One is probably so the Johnsons would have to avoid paying three head coaches at once — Todd Bowles and staff from his firing, Gase and whoever the new coach would be. Another would be to offer some level of stability and not make knee-jerk reactions to appease a vocal minority of fans.Obviously, some modicum of blame falls on Gase for a 2-7 record and a downward spiral of a season. But to use Gase a scapegoat, nine games into his Jets career, is wholly unfair.Jets CEO Christopher Johnson on why he’s bringing back Adam Gase …pic.twitter.com/RzT2ByF7cQ— Ralph Vacchiano (@RVacchianoSNY) November 13, 2019True: Darnold has had an up-and-down season. He didn’t look himself in the opener vs. the Bills, and he was potentially dealing with mononucleosis in that start. In his return game, he and the Jets walloped the Cowboys. Then, a Murphy’s law start vs. the Patriots (the infamous “Ghosts” game) and a few bad losses vs. the Jaguars and the hapless Dolphins cast some doubt on whether Darnold was the QB of the future. Fingers pointed at Gase, eyes rolled, and Jets fans flew “Fire Gase” banners over New York.While Darnold’s candid “seeing ghosts” moment was a horror to Gang Green fans, the true scary story here is how poor this roster is, top to bottom. There is a lack of depth everywhere that isn’t defensive line, and among the three most important position groups for 2019 football — offensive line, pass rusher and cornerback — the Jets are almost completely devoid of talent. Darnold’s numbers, while not comforting (especially in the turnover department), aren’t all that bad, either: 6 games, 63.2 percent completion rate, 7 touchdowns to 9 interceptions and a 2-4 record.But there is a fundamental flaw for the Jets: It starts and ends with the offensive line.A trade gamble on Kelechi Osemele, a move by now-fired GM Mike Maccagnan, backfired and cost the Jets a fifth-round pick in 2019. Osemele is now off the team after he was expected to be a key cog of a “re-worked” offensive line. Third-round pick Chuma Edoga hasn’t played well in his rookie campaign. Ryan Kalil looks like he should have stayed on his couch this offseason. Brian Winters was having a poor year and is now on IR.Good football teams are built through the trenches, in case we want to gloss over that tried-and-true fact en route to damning Gase. Darnold’s top receiving targets have been Jamison Crowder — who has been worth the money paid by Maccagnan — Anderson and what’s left of Demariyus Thomas. It’s hardly a who’s-who of receiving threats.Part of the reason Gase was hired was his ability to get the most out of a barren roster as coach of the Dolphins, which, through 10 weeks, hasn’t been the case with the Jets. There’s plenty of season left — we are just nine games into the Gase tenure, after all — to get things moving in the right direction. It’s easy to point to “Same Old Jets” and “loljets” and all the meme-atic things you’d find on Twitter, but it doesn’t tell the whole story of the 2019 New York Jets.Context matters, and whether Adam bombs or not, he deserves some time to get it figured out. (Getty Images) https://images.daznservices.com/di/library/sporting_news/16/d8/adam-gase-110319-getty-ftrjpg_npkq3dzwwjj41w0etal9sgoj1.jpg?t=857317454&w=500&quality=80
The Commander-In-Chief (C-I-C) of the Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL), President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, has declared that by February, Liberians would fully take charge of the nation’s armed forces.They will, accordingly, serve in the echelons (levels in a hierarchy) of the AFL’s command structure.President Sirleaf described as ‘tough’ the times when a Nigerian officer had to be in charge of the AFL. A turn of events that took place in keeping with the crafting of 2003 Accra Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA). The President was pleased to announce this situation was now something of the past.According to C-I-C Sirleaf, with the support of the international community, especially the United States and United Nations’ peacekeeping and peace-building efforts, Liberia has rebuilt a new, ethnically balanced and professional army.The President maintained that her government has embarked upon a process to enhance the professional capacity of other security apparatuses, including the Liberian National Police (LNP), immigration and intelligence agencies in line with their responsibility to man the country’s borders.However, she admitted that much work remains to be done. As such, government welcomes the recent United Nations (UN) Security Council Resolution 2116 extending the mandate of UN peacekeepers to September.President Sirleaf’s statement was contained in her Annual Message to the third Session of the 53rd National Legislature on the theme: “Consolidating the Processes of Transformation.”Referencing the role of the Ministry of National Defense (MOD), the C-I-C said the 1,980-person-strong AFL continues to position itself to support a democratic environment through tactical and technical proficiencies and the development of a robust capacity to defend Liberia’s territorial integrity.She explained, “The Armed Forces Training Command now headquartered at the newly renovated Todee Camp, Upper Montserrado County, assumed responsibility for tactical and proficiency training locally and is presently training 140 new army recruits.”“The number,” C-I-C Sirleaf noted, “would be increased by some 400 recruits who have already been vetted and endorsed by the Joint Personnel Board.”“The AFL is also expanding its engineering and medical units to assist in reconstruction projects and social service delivery. Similarly, the Coast Guard of 82 persons, is expanding and strengthening its capabilities to patrol and protect the country maritime domain, as evidenced by the recent arrests of several illegal fishing vessels in the country’s territorial waters,” explained President Sirleaf.The President also disclosed that the United Nations Mission in Liberia’s (UNMIL) transition plan to transfer security management of the state to the government has entered its second phase.The exercise follows the completion of phase one in strategic locations, such as Robertsport, Grand Cape Mount County; Foya District, Lofa County; and the Loguatou Border in Nimba County, respectively. According to C-I-C Sirleaf, plans are well under way for trained security units to fill security personnel gaps created by the UNMIL drawdown.In her last year’s Annual Message, President Sirleaf indicated that government would, at this year’s Armed Forces Day—February 11— celebration, install a Liberian army Chief of Staff, among other top military brass.The process is the result of close consultation with relevant committees, particularly the security sector.Based on the consultation, “We have officially nominated, for confirmation by the Senate, the Chief of Staff, the deputy Chief of Staff and the Brigade Commander, all of whom, if confirmed, would be installed in these positions on February 11; Liberia’s Armed Forces Day.”Afterwards, the government would then bid farewell to General Suraj Abdurrahman of Nigeria, who the President said “served so well as the Command Officer-in-Charge of the AFL.” Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)