• It’s been somewhat shocking to see Chelsea’s difficult start to the Premier League season. Heading into this weekend’s game against Arsenal, Chelsea is 17th in the league, already 11 points back of league leader Manchester City. Chelsea beat Maccabi Tel Aviv 4-0 in their midweek Champions League game, which should help its confidence level, but the team’s floundering start in England has led to increasing criticism for manager José Mourinho. It’s a little hard to see why it’d be the manager’s fault that several players — notably midfielder Cesc Fàbregas — look to be on the decline. That said, Mourinho is in the third year of his current Chelsea tenure, and with the difficulties, it’s worth remembering that his previous stint with Chelsea and his time with Real Madrid both ended following acrimonious third seasons.

 

• Los Angeles FC, which will join MLS in 2018, announced this week that it was adopting its LAFC placeholder name as the club’s official name. It’s part of the newest trend in MLS naming, which has seen the past five announced clubs — including Orlando City, New York City FC, Minnesota United and Atlanta United — going with traditional English names, rather than American-style nicknames or Europeanized names (such as Real Salt Lake). That said, LAFC’s hope that fans would create their own organic nickname for the squad might be unfounded. Toronto FC, which began play in 2007, still doesn’t have a better nickname than “the Reds,” for the color of its jerseys.

 

• This is the opening week of Big Ten play for the Gophers women’s soccer team, and the team kicked things off with a 2-1 win at Ohio State on Thursday night. Head coach Stefanie Golan was concerned about her team’s offense coming into the season, but after some struggles in the nonconference season, things appear to be turning around. For one, the Gophers scored nine goals against Nebraska-Omaha last week; for another, scoring two regulation goals in a Big Ten road game is something that they didn’t accomplish all of last season. Sunday’s game at No. 4 Penn State will be a difficult test but a good benchmark of how far the team has come.