The unmanaged expectations of Chelsea FC

Jul 29, 2016 Posted Under: News

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Cesc Fabregas, Chelsea FC” (CC BY 2.0) by  Ben Sutherland 

 

On the back of a disasterous 2015/2016 campaign which saw them forfeit their Premier League crown in the most feeble of fashions, Chelsea have undertaken a rebuilding project which has bred new optimism around Stamford Bridge this summer.

 

Getting down to brass tacks, the project has also incurred its fair share of heavy costs financially. Off the pitch, highly-regarded Italian boss Antonio Conte finished up his successful stint with the Azzurri at Euro 2016 to come and manage in West London whilst on the pitch  N’Golo Kante has swapped his Leicester City shirt for a lighter shade of Chelsea Blue and we as a club, have incurred a not-too-paltry transfer fee of £30 million for the privalege.

With the acquisition of a manager of Conte’s pedigree not coming cheap neither, all the cash being thrown around in the lead-up this year’s Premier League campaign has only ramped up the pressure. The Blues are currently 11/2 to win the Premiership according to the football betting and considering the fact supporters have had their heads and indeed their expectations firmly in the sky since Abramovich took over last decade, anything less than Champions League football next year will be seen as an unmitigated disaster. Even then some Chelsea fans will argue we’re still setting the bar too low and they have every reason to think that.

Billy Beane (played by Brad Pitt), the protaganist for the hit 2011 film Moneyball – a movie about a prudent baseball scout who uses disregarded stats as opposed to face-value judgements to sign players who have been massively undervalued in the market, once proclaimed to his down-on-their-luck Baseball team:

“You may not look like a winning team but you are one.”

Whilst we can see the irony in the fact Chelsea’s transfer policy has been anything but moneyball in these past few years, the sentiment uttered by this Oakland A’s coach can be firmly applied to the Blues’ lost bunch of footballing misfits.

A winning team on paper but not by nature (or is it the other way round?), the first task at hand for Conte when he opens that dressing room door this summer will be reminding his ailing stars that they are indeed winners. The way in which Jose Mourinho master-minded this same group of players (mostly) to their 2014/2015 Premier League championship should be evidence enough that they’re a team built to win football matches.

With other high profile acquisitions reportedly on their way – Leicester City’s other sought-after midfielder Riyad Mahrez has been linked with a move to Stamford Bridge this week, reinvigorating the old guard whilst bedding in the fresh new talent is the key to building a Chelsea side who can challenge for trophies this season.

With old foes Manchester United and indeed their neighbours Manchester City also building title-challenging sides worth envying over, Conte as well as many of Chelsea’s expectant fans should be made aware of the task at hand they face this season.

As the old adage goes, ‘the road to sucess isn’t paved in gold’, even if you’re spending said gold like it’s going out of fashion.

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Chelsea paid £87m by the Premier League this season

May 25, 2016 Posted Under: News

New figures including TV and prize money released on Tuesday show that just one club broke over the nine-figure sum, while 1.6 billion was issued to all 20 clubs in total.

Arsenal were the only club to receive more than £100m in Premier League payments for the 2015/16 season, according to the new figures released.

The Gunners pipped fierce rivals Tottenham to second on the last day of the campaign, which played a key role in them creeping over the nine-figure mark to receive a total fee of £100,952,257 from the top flight.

Data combining several payment categories including overseas TV and prize money revealed that champions Leicester City were awarded the fifth highest overall amount at £93,219,258.

Manchester City received the second biggest amount from the Premier League, with Manchester United and Tottenham rounding off the top five.

Liverpool were issued the highest amount of money from outside the top four, raking in £90,506,139, whereas relegated Aston Villa brought in the lowest at £66,622,215.

Every club received the same fee from the equal share, overseas TV and central commerical categories, with the difference between them the clubs being made in the facility fees and merit payment brackets.

Arsenal received £21,496,762, the highest amount, in facility fees, with 10th-placed Chelsea earning the fifth most with £17,757,152.

Leicester received the biggest merit prize amount following their remarkable title triumph, earning £24,848,100 from the Premier League.

Chelsea Nike Deal weights £60m a year, which is the second most expensive kit deal after Man. UTD. Let’s hope good players will come this summer from all these incomes.

 

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Why Guus Hiddink deserves to be the next permanent Chelsea manager

Mar 17, 2016 Posted Under: News

In December, Chelsea were in complete disarray. The defending champions were languishing towards the bottom of the Premier League table, had already been knocked out of the Capital One Cup and were on the verge of elimination from the Champions League.

Ultimately, something had to happen – and it did. Guus Hiddink happened. As was the case midway through the 2008-09 season, the Dutchman stepped in as interim manager to help the Blues in their time of need and Chelsea have benefited considerably in the aftermath of his appointment. Chelsea have continued to climb up the Premier League table throughout the campaign and are currently unbeaten during Hiddink’s tenure. Chelsea now stand an outside chance of finishing in the top four this season whilst a top-six finish remains a genuine possibility.

Although they were recently eliminated from the FA Cup at the hands of Everton, Chelsea remain confident of snatching a Europa League spot and Hiddink’s influx of positivity and confidence has been a key reason for their sudden resurgence. At the time of writing, Chelsea are 5/1 in the Bet365 football betting markets to secure a top-six finish this season. On current form, it would be hard to argue against them continuing their assault on the Premier League, especially if the likes of Cesc Fabregas continue to shine.

If nothing else, Hiddink has helped Chelsea’s star players to regain confidence. At the beginning of the season, Costa was struggling to score goals and seemed lost under Jose Mourinho. But he has gone on to score 11 goals in 15 games under the Dutchman. In addition, Fabregas and Oscar have also flourished and are much more prominent in Chelsea’s attack.

Hiddink has given their flair players the opportunity to prove their worth and Chelsea are now playing with a lot more freedom than they did under Mourinho. They aren’t quite the complete package but Hiddink has certainly got Chelsea back towards their best. Despite this, it’s unlikely that Hiddink will stay at Chelsea past the end of the season. The Dutchman himself has admitted that he wouldn’t necessarily want the permanent position at Stamford Bridge and owner Roman Abramovich is probably going to look elsewhere.

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Chelsea FC (and Spain) striker Diego Cos” (CC BY 2.0) by  Ben Sutherland 

According to reports, Antonio Conte is top of Roman’s hit-list and, while the Italy manager would be welcomed at Chelsea, the supporters do have a soft spot for Hiddink – especially after this second spell at the helm. Hiddink didn’t have to take this job but he did it because he admires Chelsea and the club will always have a special place in his heart.

Hiddink has done a fantastic job since taking over in December and the Dutchman will be more than satisfied with his campaign so far. If Chelsea can secure an unlikely top-six finish, many fans will want Abramovich to offer him a permanent contract. But unfortunately, it doesn’t look as though Hiddink will be at Stamford Bridge next season. However, if the potential deal for Conte falls through, Hiddink might be given another year to try and mount a Premier League title challenge.

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David Luiz bites back at Neville's 'Playstation' jibe: He lacked respect… he's still learning

Sep 04, 2015 Posted Under: News

The former Chelsea defender insists he holds no grudge against the England coach and indicated that the departure from the Blues was his decision

Paris Saint-Germain defender David Luiz has suggested that former Manchester United full-back Gary Neville lacked respect when likening the Brazil international to a 10-year-old on a PlayStation.

The former Chelsea player formed part of Laurent Blanc’s 2014/15 Ligue 1 winning side, after leaving Stamford Bridge following the 2014 World Cup.

But Luiz, who was singled out for criticism following Brazil’s 7-1 defeat to Germany in the World Cup semi-final, indicated that though Neville’s comments were wrong, he does not hold a grudge.

“I think that respect is imperative,” Luiz told Bleacher Report.

“I’m not saying that people have to like me or that nobody can criticise me. Do it with reason and balance, though, with responsibility. Not lacking respect.

“You can criticise someone, say they didn’t play well. That’s fine. When Gary Neville talked about me being like something out of a video game, that’s the sort of thing that lacks respect, especially because he was a player.

“But I reacted in a positive way because I know that he’s learning, and he’s growing into a new profession. I think he realised that he’d made a mistake, and he spoke well of me later on. These things happen.”

The 28-year-old also commented on his departure from Chelsea and his relationship with manager Jose Mourinho during and after the 2014 World Cup, with the defender insisting that the move to PSG was his choice.

“I’d had four happy years at Chelsea, and they offered me a new contract, but I preferred to go. It was my decision,” Luiz added.

“When I left [the Chelsea squad at the end of the 2013/14 season], I was with Brazil, and I didn’t really have any contact with [Mourinho].

“I was in Brazil on holiday first, then preparing for the World Cup. Everything was presented to me, I accepted, and he sent me a little message saying ‘good luck.’

“Afterwards, I went straight to Paris. I didn’t go back to London.”

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Azpilicueta on De Gea: Man Utd fans love him… they'll welcome him back

Sep 04, 2015 Posted Under: News

The Chelsea defender is convinced that his compatriot will be have no trouble being accepted by supporters at Old Trafford, despite his aborted move to Real Madrid


Chelsea defender Cesar Azpilicueta says that Spanish national team-mate goalkeeper David de Gea is loved by Manchester United fans, and will be welcomed back by them.

De Gea was all set to move to Spanish giants Real Madrid until a problem with paperwork halted the move, with both clubs laying the blame at each other’s door.

But despite the goalkeeper’s attempted move away from Old Trafford, Azpilicueta says that De Gea will have no problem with the United fans upon his return to Manchester.

“As a rival, I’ve experienced the affection the United fans have for De Gea,” Azpilicueta told reporters. “They always respect him and they will continue to do so.

“He is very loved there, and the United fans will welcome him with respect.”

De Gea has one year left on his current contract at Old Trafford, but is said to have been in contact with his agent, Jorge Mendes, to discuss the possibility of signing a new long-term deal with the club, such is his dismay at the collapse of his proposed move to Madrid.

But De Gea has yet to feature for United this season, with manager Louis van Gaal insisting that he was not focused with on-pitch matters.

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