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Chelsea's issues shared around by Jose Mourinho, Juve's woes, Real still shaky

Jose Mourinho blames himself for not making the proper substitutes in their loss against Crystal Palace, claiming certain individuals were not performing up to par, but not specifying who he is referring to.

When managers of big clubs lose at home -- particularly when it's only their second league home defeat in the past 100 games -- they'll inevitably be asked about it. Usually, unless it's a heavy defeat, and Chelsea's 2-1 setback at Stamford Bridge against Crystal Palace on Saturday was not, they'll cite one of several reasons.

It's either something well beyond their control: usually the referee, sometimes an unbelievable performance from the opposition or some extraneous factor like the pitch...

Michel Platini curiously quiet in bid to replace Blatter as FIFA president

UEFA President Michel Platini refused to speak about his candidacy to be the next FIFA President at a press conference in Monte Carlo, Monaco, but said he had "his UEFA hat on."
Former South Korean FA president Chung Mong-joon has vowed to fix "corrupt" FIFA after formally announcing his bid to replace Sepp Blatter at the helm of world football's governing body.
The former French international captain is favoured by many to take over as FIFA president after Blatter steps down. His former French international teammate, Luis Fernandez, speaks his praises and supports his decision to run for the position.
Michel Platini refused to get drawn into questions about his bid to become the next FIFA president.

MONACO -- The media crowded into Monaco's Grimaldi Forum hoping to hear the front-runner -- among confirmed candidates, at least -- in the race to succeed Sepp Blatter as FIFA president in February speak for the very first time and got -- nothing.

Big fat zero, or just about.

UEFA President Michel Platini held his traditional seasonal kickoff news conference on the banks of the Mediterranean a day after the Champions League group draw but made it very clear he wasn't going to answer any questions...

Champions League draw: Man City and Barcelona face toughest groups

The FC crew react to Manchester City's Group D matchups and wonder if Juventus will be able to escape the group with Sevilla in such good form.

MONACO -- UEFA's new seeding rules began to have an effect at Thursday's Champions League draw. Guaranteeing the champions of the top seven associations (Spain, England, Germany, Italy, Portugal, France and Russia), plus the reigning winner of the competition a place in Pot 1 -- rather than awarding the top seeds to the top eight qualified teams according to UEFA rankings -- didn't amount to the seismic shift it might have been.

Still, it benefited the likes of PSV Eindhoven and Zenit. At the...

Are today's central defenders worse than their predecessors?

ESPN FC's Shaka Hislop shares his thoughts on Gab Marcotti's article examining whether or not central defenders are worse today than in the past.

Well, Team X really need to upgrade their back four, but who are you going to get that's better than the guys they already have? There are very few great central defenders out there.

You've probably heard the above, usually linked to some kind of transfer talk. I've heard it too, and maybe it's true, but it strikes me that there's one fundamental problem with that logic:

If this generation of center-backs is so bad, why aren't teams scoring more goals?

The numbers on this are pretty clear: In the...

FIFA, here we go again: Reform chief Carrard talks Blatter-style nonsense

ESPN FC's Alejandro Moreno and Brian McBride discuss the controversial comments made by potential FIFA reformist, Francois Carrard, who called the game in the US, "an ethnic sport for girls in schools."
Former South Korean FA president Chung Mong-joon has vowed to fix "corrupt" FIFA after formally announcing his bid to replace Sepp Blatter at the helm of world football's governing body.
Francois Carrard helped clean up the Salt Lake City Winter Olympics scandal, but in his current role to reform FIFA he has made some outlandish statements.

The man charged with leading with FIFA's reform task force (he was appointed earlier in August) is a 77-year-old Swiss lawyer who spent 14 years as director general of the International Olympic Committee.

He's also a guy who, in 2015, believes that football in the United States -- the FIFA kind -- is "just an ethnic sport," something for "girls to play in schools." And who thinks it's a good idea to say as much. In a public, on-the-record interview.

Francois Carrard was speaking to the Swiss newspaper...

Real Madrid's draw doesn't matter, Man City's hot start, no panic for Juve

ESPN FC's Alejandro Moreno gives his take on the slow starts for both Barcelona and Real Madrid and believes there should be more concern at the Bernabeu than at Camp Nou.

You have to look beyond the result to assess Real Madrid's performance away to Sporting Gijon on the opening day of the 2015-16 La Liga season. A 0-0 draw against a newly promoted club with a tiny budget and one of the youngest squads in the league is not a good result, but right now, what's more important is whether they played well and whether Rafa Benitez's vision is coming together.

The truth is Real Madrid could easily have won that game. They took plenty of shots, forced enough outstanding...