DISAPPOINTMENT FOR DAN
Dan Petrescu's Jiangsu Suning had a rough couple of weeks. Despite their recent big name signings (Ramires, Alex Texeira, and former Everton/Man City striker Jo) Jiangsu struggled in their first competitive game of the year - an Asian Champions League clash with Vietnamese champions Becamex Binh Duong on February 23rd. Jiangsu managed only a 1-1 draw against Binh Duong (whose nickname is ‘Chelsea of Vietnam'). The long journey from eastern China to southern Vietnam was likely a challenge, but Jiangsu entered this game as heavy favourites. The result was even more disappointing given that Binh Duong played with 10 men from the 67th minute on.
Four days after their failure in Vietnam Jiangsu faced last year's league champions, Guangzhou Evergrande Taobao, for the Chinese Super Cup. Guangzhou is coached by former Chelsea manager Luiz Felipe Scolari. Like Jiangsu, Scolari's team has made a splash in the transfer market. Last summer former Spurs midfielder Paulinho joined for close to £10million and this pre-season Colombian international Jackson Martinez signed from Atletico Madrid for £33million. In front of 50,000 people at the Chongqing Olympic Sports Center, Guangzhou dominated Jiangsu en route to a 2-0 victory.
Given these results, and the team's underwhelming 2015 season, Dan Petrescu may be starting the new season already on the hot seat. Jiangsu's first league game is on March 5th, home to Shandong Luneng.
Hernan Crespo had the best two-weeks of any Dugout Blue, seeing Modena win two games in a row for the first time this season. On February 20th his team beat promotion chasing Brescia 1-0 at home and on the 27th they held on to beat Latina 1-0 away - despite being outshot 19 to 5. Modena now sits 15th in Serie B, though there's not many points between them and the relegation zone.
QPR and Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink had a productive two weeks, drawing 1-1 with both Bolton and Sheffield Wednesday away from home, before defeating Birmingham 2-0 at Loftus Road on February 27th. The unbeaten run saw the Hoops rise to 11th in the Championship.
Though they beat QPR two weeks ago, Slavisa Jokanovic's Fulham have fared far worse than their fellow Londoners as of late. On February 16th they lost 3-0 at Blackburn. They then beat Charlton 3-0 at the Cottage and drew 1-1 with Leeds. They lost 2-0 to Boro at home on the 27th. The inconsistent form has seen Fulham drop to 20th in the table.
In Qatar Gianfranco Zola and his Al Arabi squad had two weeks to forget, they lost 2-0 at home to league leaders Al Rayyan on the 20th of February and then dropped an away game to Al-Sadd 3-1 on the 28th. The two losses saw Al Arabi slide to 6th in the table, opening up a 7 point gap between them and a shot at Asia Champions League qualification.
Gus Poyet's AEK Athens had mixed results. A disappointing 1-1 draw at Iraklis on the 20th was redeemed by a tough fought 1-0 victory at home to Panathinaikos on the 28th. AEK sit second in the league, a long way back of champions-elect Olympiakos.
Ludicrous. Not yet March, and Olimpiacos have secured their sixth consecutive Greek title after beating Veria 3-0.— Philippe Auclair (@PhilippeAuclair) February 28, 2016
In the Vanarama National League North Frank Sinclair has been winless since January 26th. Over the last two weeks his Hednesford Town drew with Lowestoft and North Ferriby and lost to Chorley and Brackley.
Leon Knight's wild ride in charge of Barnton FC came to an end on February 15th after he resigned from the club. He had been in charge for 18 months. Knight's departure comes after he was accused of stomping on an opposing player in his last game in charge.
On February 16th it was announced that Andriy Shevchenko, who struggled to find his form in 48 games with Chelsea between 2006 and 2009, had joined the coaching staff of the Ukrainian national team. ‘Sheva', who scored 48 goals in 111 appearances for his country, will be the assistant to head coach Mykhaylo Fomenko for Euro 2016.