Chelsea Fans ‘Brought Nazi Symbol Flag’ to Hungary for Europa Match as Racism Storm Intensifies

?Chelsea fans are set to come under further scrutiny, after pictures on social media showed a number of the club’s supporters toting a flag with a Nazi symbol on it in Hungary ahead of their clash with Vidi. 

The club were already forced to release a statement condemning a small part of their in-stadium support on the night for antisemitic chants, with these latest images – published by The Gua?rdian on Saturday evening – likely to provoke a strong response. 

The newspaper report that the club are aware of the images, and aware of around 40 fans who travelled to the continent for the match without tickets or any intention of attending the match itself. The club are said to be ‘confident’ that the banner was never brought into the stadium.

The flag references the ‘?Chelsea Headhunters’, a notorious hooligan group from decades gone by who had links with the neo-Nazi Combat 18 group, the far right National Front and Northern Irish loyalist paramilitary organisations – with the latter being alluded to in the flag’s design; a modified Northern Irish flag. 

The flag’s four quarters featured (from top-left, clockwise) the phrase ‘You have been nominated and dealt with by the Chelsea Headhunters’, a Rangers logo in Union Flag colouring, Loyalist slogan ‘No Surrender’, and the SS-Totenkopf skull.

The images will come as another blow to the club, in a week in which sections of their fanbase have come under heavy scrutiny. In addition to the chants on Thursday night, the Blues hit the headlines on Sunday afternoon when one of their supporters was caught on camera appearing to racially abuse ?Man City star ?Raheem Sterling

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Christmas Crackers: 10 of the Best Ever Premier League Goals During the Festive Season

Christmas is the time for giving, and that includes giving us great goals. There have been some absolute thunderbastards over the years during the festive season. 

Sit back and enjoy these stocking fillers… 

Note: This might be harder if you’re a Villa fan. Oddly a lot of them are against the Claret and Blue. Sorry, Villa!

1. Robin van Persie vs Watford (26/12 2006)

December 2006 produced one of the all-time great Goal of the Month compilations.

Robin van Persie’s patented cut inside and curl past the keeper on Boxing Day was one of his finest. Seek it out and watch as the Dutchman wraps his foot around the ball like pigs in a blanket.

2. Paul Scholes vs Aston Villa (26/12 2006)

It would’ve been frankly wrong not to put together any festive goals list and not include Scholes thundering volley from Boxing Day 2006.

The ginger wizard lends his incredible technique to one of the Premier League’s greatest ever goals. Talk about the gift that keeps on giving.

3. Cristiano Ronaldo vs Sunderland (26/12 2007)

There is nothing anyone can do once Cristiano Ronaldo steps up to hit the ball at the Stadium of Light. You may question the goalkeeper’s starting position but that is pretty much the perfect free kick. Peak Ronaldo.

Man Utd ran out 0-4 winners in a Christmas stuffing.

4. Andriy Shevchenko vs Aston Villa (26/12 2007)

Both defences were presumably still hungover on Boxing Day, when Chelsea and Villa played out a 4-4 draw.

The £30m lump of coal that was Shevchenko got the pick of the goals with a top corner screamer that day.

5. Robbie Keane vs Arsenal (21/12 2008)

Robbie Keane may be remembered as a bit of a turkey for his short-lived spell at one of his many boyhood clubs Liverpool, but his equaliser against Arsenal is the dictionary definition of a thumping finish. 

Great technique to take it over the shoulder, first time, at pace. 

6. Dwight Gayle vs Aston Villa (26/12 2013)

Villa fans, please continue to avert your eyes.

Back on Boxing Day of 2013, Dwight Gayle tore through a suspect defence on the break, like the ghost of Christmas worldies, before putting away a very neat finish.

7. Gylfi Sigurdsson vs Aston Villa (26/12 2014)

Gylfi Sigurdsson’s Boxing Day free kick against Villa back in 2014 is in absolute treat for the eyes.

Few players have as many direct free kick goals in the Premier League as the Icelander. However, this one from 2014 might be his best. 

Find it and watch as the spray come off the turf as he hits it. Delightful. And, better than just about anything Swansea fans received under the tree that year.

8. Cuco Martina vs Arsenal (26/12 2015)

Cuco Martina stepped up almost nonchalantly, before hitting an absolutely ridiculous outside of the boot screamer against the Gunners on Boxing Day 2015.

If we are treated to anything of this quality while chowing down on leftovers this year, it will indeed be a very Merry Christmas indeed.

9. Xherdan Shaqiri vs Everton (28/12 2015)

Shaqiri’s ‘chip of the tastiest variety’ (as one of the weirder lines of FIFA commentary used to say) won Stoke’s goal of the season in 2015. It is definitely one for Santa’s naughty list.

The ‘Messi of the Alps’ scored twice in a barnstorming encounter with Everton on 28 December 2015. 

10. Henrikh Mkhitaryan vs Sunderland (26/12 2016)

Henrikh Mkhitaryan won December’s Goal of the Month (unsurprisingly) for his ‘scorpion kick’ against Sunderland two Christmases ago. Afforded some Christmas cheer from the linesman, the Armenian might have been a shade offside…but really who cares?

Apparently inspired by Mkhitaryan’s effort, Olivier Giroud scored a similar goal just a week later for Arsenal.

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Chelsea Star Ruben Loftus-Cheek Courted by Premier League Duo Ahead of January Transfer Window

Bournemouth and West Ham will go toe to toe with each other in the race to sign Chelsea midfielder Ruben Loftus-Cheek on loan until the end of the season.

The England international has once again found himself on the periphery of Chelsea’s first team this season, with Maurizio Sarri opting to start Loftus-Cheek in just one Premier League game during the current campaign.

Chelsea v FC BATE Borisov - UEFA Europa League - Group L

As a result, Loftus-Cheek is now being tipped to leave Stamford Bridge on a short-term loan, similar to his move to Crystal Palace last season which proved decisive in his inclusion in Gareth Southgate’s World Cup squad.

A caveat, the Sun points out, is that potential suitors Bournemouth and West Ham both want an option to sign the 22-year-old on a permanent deal at the end of the season.

Bournemouth supposedly want Loftus-Cheek to move to the south coast in an attempt to secure the Premier League’s last qualification spot for the Europa League, while West Ham hope the promise of first team and staying in London will be enough to persuade the midfielder of joining their ranks.

Loftus-Cheek has made 44 appearances throughout his career with Chelsea, having first made his debut for the club during a Champions League group stage match against Portuguese giants Sporting CP, 10 years after he joined their academy.

Bournemouth’s interest in the midfielder could offer Chelsea some advantage in their rumoured interest in England international striker Callum Wilson, who is being linked with a £30m move to Stamford Bridge.

AFC Bournemouth v Huddersfield Town - Premier League

However, one of Chelsea’s reasons for chasing Wilson is the Premier League’s increased quota on homegrown players which will come into effect next season, something which would all but rule out a move away for Loftus-Cheek.

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Brighton vs Chelsea Preview: How to Watch, Recent Form, Team News, Prediction & More

?Resurgent Brighton welcome Chelsea to the Amex Stadium in the Premier League this weekend, looking for a fifth home victory of the campaign.

Seagulls boss Chris Hughton, who recently marked his 60th birthday, has seen his side lose just once at home all season – a 2-1 defeat at the hands of ?Tottenham back in ?September.

Meanwhile, Maurizio Sarri’s ?Chelsea eased through to the Europa League round of 32 on Thursday night, finishing their group campaign with a 2-2 ?draw at Vidi amid a hectic schedule that sees them play four games in ten days. The Blues ended Manchester City’s ?16 game unbeaten league run last time out to blow the title race wide open.

This weekend’s fixture is one of several ahead the Christmas period, which can often be season defining in teams’ respective league ambitions.


How To Watch

?When Is Kick Off? Sunday 16 December
?What Time Is Kick Off? ?13:30 (BST)
?Where Is It Played? ?Amex Stadium
?TV Channel/Live Stream? ?Sky Sports Live Score
?Referee? ?Stuart Attwell

Team News

Hughton will be ?boosted by the return of winger Alireza Jahanbakhsh after the Iranian missed over a month with a hamstring injury. However, defender Shane Duffy will serve the second game of the three match suspension picked up in their win ?over ?Crystal Palace.

Chelsea FC v Manchester City - Premier League

Having made wholesale changes in Hungary, Sarri is expected to give starts to several players rested. One of those, ?Eden Hazard, is set to feature after his instrumental display against the current Premier League champions. 

Forward ?Alvaro Morata is likely to miss out after ?sustaining a knee injury, with ?Olivier Giroud set to replace the Spaniard after scoring the equaliser at Vidi.


Predicted Lineups

?Brighton ?Ryan; Bruno, Balogun, Dunk, Bernardo, Gross, Propper, Bissouma; Knockaert, March, Murray.
?Chelsea ?Kepa; Azpilicueta, Luiz, Rudiger, Alonso; Kante, Jorginho, Kovacic; Hazard, Willian, Giroud.

Head to Head Record

This will be the third ever Premier League encounter between the sides, the two teams crossing paths on just 10 occasions in all competitions – with Chelsea winning eight of those, compared to Brighton’s solitary win and a draw.

FBL-ENG-PR-BRIGHTON-CHELSEA

The Blues dismantled their opponents in January’s corresponding fixture – Hazard ?netting a brace on the way to a 4-0 win.

Recent Form

Typically strong on home soil, Brighton boast the seventh best home record in the division – picking up 14 points from seven games. Hughton’s side are just three wins from equalling their tally for last campaign, as they look to improve on their eventual 15th place finish.

FBL-ENG-PR-BRIGHTON-CRYSTAL PALACE

Despite strong defensive performances, their form has been in debt to their all time top flight record goalscorer Glenn Murray. In his second stint, the evergreen 35-year-old has continued last term’s formidable form, netting eight in 16 outings so far, with seven of those coming on the south coast.

Meanwhile, Chelsea have suffered a slight dip in form in recent weeks, despite their impressive win over City. Away defeats to Spurs and ??Wolves have raised questions ahead of Sunday’s clash, as they seek a first win on the road in three.

Burnley FC v Brighton & Hove Albion - Premier League

Currently level with ?Arsenal in fourth on 34 points, three of their next four games see them play three bottom half teams, ?Watford, ?Southampton and Crystal Palace – as they pursue an unlikely title push.


?Brighton Chelsea?
?Burnley 1-0 Brighton (08/12) ?Vidi 2-2 Chelsea (13/12)
?Brighton 3-1 Crystal Palace (04/12) ?Chelsea 2-0 Manchester City (08/12)
?Huddersfield 1-2 Brighton (01/12) ?Wolves 2-1 Chelsea (05/12)
?Brighton 1-1 Leicester (24/11) ?Chelsea 2-0 Fulham (02/12)
?Cardiff 2-1 Brighton (10/11) ?Chelsea 4-0 PAOK (29/11)

Prediction

Both sides have match winners in Murray and Hazard, whose contribution to their sides’ respective causes have been integral in recent campaigns.

With 15 goals between them this season, they’ll look to stamp their authority on what should be a much tighter affair than last season’s thumping.

Chelsea FC v Fulham FC - Premier League

Albion’s home record speaks for itself, but their opponents come in high spirits after rectifying recent away losses – Sarri’s side may have enough to brush aside Hughton’s outfit.

Prediction: Brighton 1-2 Chelsea

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Transfer Rumours: Denis Suarez to Arsenal, Callum Hudson-Odoi to Bayern & More

January is soon, now. Very soon.

It’s just over a couple of weeks away, and that means the transfer window is coming with it. Get prepared for a truckload of stories on Jose Mourinho moaning (more of them, somehow), dozens of transfers being confirmed, and seemingly thousands of potential moves being discussed.

It can be a stressful and annoying time, but hopefully you’ll enjoy this little summary of the top transfer gossip from around the Premier League this Friday.

6. West Brom & Watford Interested as Cardiff Striker Is Set for Release

First of all, a big massive “don’t care” for anyone but Cardiff City, West Brom and Watford fans. Yes, all of you!

Bluebirds striker Ibrahim Meite is on his way out next month on a free transfer, according to the Mail, after making just two first team appearances since he joined in January 2017 – and both the Baggies and the Hornets have been credited with interest.

The likes of Saint-Etienne, Spartak Moscow and Hannover have also been talked up as potential destinations for the former Crawley loanee.

5. Wolves Deal for Leicester & Southampton Target Stalls

Wolves’ talks over a deal for Japanese midfielder Shoya Nakajima have stalled, leaving the deal in doubt, and in turn allowing Southampton or Leicester a shot at signing the player instead.

Record carry quotes from Rodiney Sampaio, president of Nakajima’s current club Portimonense, and he’s confirmed that there’s been a lack of progress on Wolves’ front in terms of completing a deal.

He said: “I said last week that there was a 20 percent gap to close the transfer of Nakajima to Wolverhampton and since then no steps have been taken so that other interested parties can come up with better conditions.”

He also explained that Wolves “do not have any priority and are open other possibilities”, while adding “one of them is the continuity of Nakajima until the end of the season. We believe he will play for Japan in the Asian Cup [next January], and he can value himself even more.”

4. Hudson-Odoi a ‘Serious Candidate’ for Bayern Munich

Among English football’s newest trends are Liverpool actually managing to convince people outside of their own fans that they’re actually good, and young English wingers going to the Bundesliga to absolutely smash it. 

See the Premier League table, Jadon Sancho and Reiss Nelson.

The latest young English winger linked with a move to Germany is Chelsea’s Callum Hudson-Odoi, who is notoriously very talented but struggling for game time under Maurizio Sarri. And SportBild journalist Christian Falk claims Bayern Munich are interested in signing him.

Arjen Robben will leave in the summer, Franck Ribery too, most likely, so regeneration is needed – and Falk has tweeted that Hudson-Odoi is a “serious candidate” to step in. If they can get him, of course.

3. Barcelona Set Bargain £14m Price for Arsenal & Chelsea Target Denis Suarez

Barcelona have offered Denis Suarez to Arsenal, as the Gunners seek out a long-term replacement for departing midfielder Aaron Ramsey.

Suarez has been barely used by Ernesto Valverde over the course of the season and could be tempted by north London if Arsenal want him, as he’s already spent some time playing under Unai Emery at Sevilla.

The Independent report that Suarez has been offered to a range of clubs – Chelsea have been linked too recently – and could cost as little as £14m.

2. Newcastle & Man City Tracking Japanese Winger Ritsu Doan

Newcastle have taken a look at 20-year-old Japanese winger Ritsu Doan ahead of next month’s January transfer window.

Doan, who plays in the Dutch Eredivisie with Groningen, has a price tag of £1.7m – a figure of money that most of us likely have forgotten even existed in today’s market – and Newcastle are reported to have a chance of signing him as they’re able to offer regular football. Man City, another linked club, most likely can’t, given they’re a better football team and that.

Chronicle Live carry the story, citing sources in Holland themselves.

Doan is an international teammate of Yoshinori Muto, and has three caps for the Japanese senior team so far. He was also on this year’s Kopa Trophy shortlist along with Kylian Mbappe and Liverpool’s Trent Alexander-Arnold.

1. Galatasaray President Flies to England to Try to Sell 18-Year-Old to United, Obviously

Galatasaray president Mustafa Cengiz has met with Manchester United over a potential deal for 18-year-old centre back Ozan Kabak.

(Yes, Manchester United have been linked with another centre back. I’m counting at least 42 so far this year. Honest. Proof to come soon).

Turkish source Aksam, via M.E.N., claim Cengiz flew to England for discussions, and he’s chasing a €20m fee from United. Man City and Arsenal have been linked too in recent weeks.

The question remains though – is that top centre back that’ll solve all of United’s issues in Jose Mourinho’s eyes an 18-year-old kid from Turkey? 

No, obviously.

Not familiar with the name, though? Check out a few things to know about Ozan Kabak just here.

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