PRE-MATCH BRIEFING: ARSENAL V CHELSEA – PART TWO

29.09.2012

PRE-MATCH BRIEFING: ARSENAL V CHELSEA – PART TWO

Joining club historian Rick Glanvill and club statistician Paul Dutton to complete their in-detail derby build-up is former player Clive Walker…

29.09.2012

DI MATTEO: SAME OLD ARSENAL

Roberto Di Matteo has experienced a range of results as a manager visiting Arsenal…

29.09.2012

MIKEL DISCUSSS HIS NUMBER ONE

Voting closes on Monday for Chelsea magazine’s quest to select the 100 greatest Blues players of all time. John Mikel Obi has his say…

28.09.2012

DI MATTEO: DERBY TO EXCITE

It is one of the biggest games of the season and Chelsea are able to call upon our two most experienced players for what Roberto Di Matteo believes is a contest against genuine title challengers…

28.09.2012

UNDER 21S REPORT: CHELSEA 1 MIDDLESBROUGH 3

It was a second successive home defeat and a third game without a win for our Under-21s as we were beaten 3-1 by Middlesbrough at Griffin Park…

28.09.2012

AZPILICUETA: INSIDE KNOWLEDGE

The Blues take on Arsenal at the Emirates tomorrow, and Cesar Azpilicueta has been speaking about two of the players we will need to keep a close eye on…

28.09.2012

CHELSEA TV EXCLUSIVE: CAHILL ON CAPITAL CLASH

Gary Cahill was part of a Chelsea defence that kept a clean sheet away at Arsenal last season and the defender has been speaking to Chelsea TV ahead of the re-match…

28.09.2012

PRE-MATCH BRIEFING: ARSENAL V CHELSEA – PART ONE

After three home games in a row, the Blues hit the road once more, albeit one only eight miles long…

28.09.2012

CECH TO HANG OUT WITH FANS

Petr Cech will be chatting live online with fans in a link-up with our Google+ page next week, and you could be a part of it…

28.09.2012

FIFA 13 OUT TODAY

EA SPORTS FIFA 13 has arrived and is available from today for PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and PC.

28.09.2012

UNDER-21S IN HOME ACTION TONIGHT

Our Under-21 side plays its second game of the week this evening (Friday). The opposition is Middlesbrough, the venue Brentford’s Griffin Park and the game is live on Chelsea TV…

28.09.2012

STILL TIME TO VOTE FOR YOUR NUMBER ONE

Voting closes on Monday for Chelsea magazine’s quest to select the 100 greatest Blues players of all time…

27.09.2012

STATEMENT ON TERRY HEARING RESULT

Chelsea Football Club has today released a statement following the Football Association’s decision regarding John Terry…

27.09.2012

HALLOWEEN DATE FOR CAPITAL ONE CUP CLASH

The Capital One Cup fourth round match against Manchester United at Stamford Bridge will take place on Wednesday 31 October, kick-off 7.45pm…

27.09.2012

GILES SMITH’S THURSDAY THOUGHTS

The season may be more than a month old, but there is still so much to get used to, such as five-syllable names and remonikered silverware. Columnist Giles Smith has some advice…

27.09.2012

CHELSEA TV HEADLINES: DERBY DATE LOOMING

Today’s Chelsea TV headlines come from Cobham, where Roberto Di Matteo and the squad are preparing for Saturday’s lunchtime date with Arsenal at the Emirates…

27.09.2012

TICKETS AVAILABLE FOR SPANISH STARS AT STAMFORD BRIDGE

Our Spanish-themed An Audience With… is just days away and there are still tickets available to see Juan Mata, Fernando Torres, Cesar Azpilicueta and Oriol Romeu up close and personal at Stamford Bridge.

27.09.2012

WIN YOUR CAMPAIGN SHIRT

To celebrate the release of new movie The Campaign, we have a Chelsea shirt signed by its two stars Will Ferrell and Zach Galiafinakis to give away via Twitter.

27.09.2012

MARIN AIDED BY DEBUT

Marko Marin was pleased to earn his first 20 minutes in a Chelsea shirt on Tuesday night, and now has his sights set on Arsenal at the weekend…

27.09.2012

THE TWEET SPOT: RYAN BERTRAND

Next up in our new social media feature, Ryan Bertrand discusses pre-match, unexpected pronunciation and what went through his head in Munich…

26.09.2012

MAN UNITED TO VISIT IN CAPITAL ONE CUP

The fourth round draw for the Capital One Cup has paired us with Manchester United, the tie to be played at Stamford Bridge…

26.09.2012

YOUNG BLUE MAKES ENGLAND UNDER-19 DEBUT

Chelsea Academy product John Swift was a late substitute for England Under-19s as they began a qualification tournament for the European Championships with a win…

DI MATTEO: SAME OLD ARSENAL

Roberto Di Matteo has experienced a range of results as a manager visiting Arsenal. He suffered a League Cup defeat there in his first meeting there when in charge of West Bromwich Albion but followed that up with a memorable win after taking the Baggies into the top-flight.

Last season with Chelsea, there was a goalless draw at the Emirates just prior to flying to take on Barcelona.

So the Italian understands the Gunners threat well and although our London rivals are adjusting to the departure of former skipper Robin van Persie, there are no great changes to the tactics needed to counter them according to Di Matteo.

‘It makes them more unpredictable because the goals are coming from more players,’ he says,’ but I don’t think they have a different pattern of play. It is quite the way that Arsenal have been playing over the years with a lot of possession and rotation in midfield.

‘Lukas Podolski has been scoring goals, and Gervinho and Santi Cazorla have been scoring goals so they have a lot of players that are a danger. The personnel have changed but I don’t think the philosophy of the way Arsenal play football has changed.

‘They will have a lot of possession as well as a lot of rotation so you have to try to limit their threat but also we want to try to impose ourselves and try to play our football.’

Many are describing today’s game as chance to measure how Chelsea with new players on board are shaping up, and Di Matteo is not disagreeing.

‘It is certainly going to be a big test,’ he says. ‘Arsenal away in any season is a big test so it is a big challenge for us, but so it is going to be for Arsenal because we are a big team as well.’

You can follow the game via live text commentary on this website (click on live chat).

MIKEL DISCUSSS HIS NUMBER ONE

In a video which can be viewed here, John Mikel Obi gets involved in the debate over the greatest Chelsesa players.

Voting closes on Monday for Chelsea magazine’s quest to select the 100 greatest Blues players of all time.

The magazine will be turning 100 soon and for the landmark edition of the club’s official monthly publication, it is looking for as many supporters as possible to get involved with the vote.

You might look at what current stars such as John Terry, Frank Lampard and Petr Cech have contributed to our trophy-laden recent years and think that one of those players should come out on top. Perhaps Didier Drogba’s penchant for big goals in big games will see you give the Ivorian the nod or were Gianfranco Zola’s silky skills the highlight of your Blues-watching days?

Many of you might still favour other players from yesteryear, such as Dennis Wise, Kerry Dixon, Charlie Cooke, Peter Bonetti or Jimmy Greaves. Or will Peter Osgood always remain the King of Stamford Bridge to you?

Of course, the choice is completely yours, so get voting. Just follow this link, fill out the simple form and enter the name of your favourite Chelsea player of all time. Alternatively you can send your vote to us by emailing cfc.magazine@trinitymirror.com or post your vote to Chelsea magazine, 3rd Floor Stamford Bridge, Fulham Road, London, SW6 1HS.

UNDER 21S REPORT: CHELSEA 1 MIDDLESBROUGH 3

Summary
It was a second successive home defeat and a third game without a win for our Under-21s as we were beaten 3-1 by Middlesbrough at Griffin Park.

The visitors took the lead at the end of a first half which was devoid of too many clear-cut opportunities at either end, Lewis Sirrell firing them in front from the edge of the penalty area.

We came out for the second spell determined to restore parity, and were rewarded when Patrick Bamford reacted quickest to fire home after Billy Clifford’s shot took a deflection and ran into his path.

However, with the Blues beginning to take over, Middlesbrough went in front against the run of play moments later through Charlie Wyke, and when Matthew Waters netted a third for the visitors with only four minutes left to play, we were left with too much to do.

In truth, the scoreline probably wasn’t a true reflection of how the game developed, but the away side were rewarded for a ruthless streak in front of goal, leaving our attention turning towards a local derby away at Fulham next Friday. 

Team news
Chelsea manager Dermot Drummy made only one change to the side which drew 2-2 at Crystal Palace on Monday night, with Jeremie Boga coming into the midfield for Ruben Loftus-Cheek who dropped down to the bench. Patrick Bamford once again lead the line, flanked by Islam Feruz on the right and Lewis Baker on the left.

First half
The Blues were quick out of the blocks and should have been ahead within the opening 30 seconds after a decent move down the right-hand side.

The ball was worked out to Todd Kane who showed a lovely piece of skill to evade his marker, but as the skipper fired his cross into a crowded penalty area and it fell at the feet of Boga, the midfielder, leaning back, fired over the bar.

We were enjoying plenty of the ball in the opening quarter of the game without looking threatening, and it was the visitors who came closest to breaking the deadlock after a Nathan Ake clearance ran straight into the path of Ryan Brobbel, who crashed an absolute thunderbolt against the bar with Jamal Blackman rooted to the spot.

Middlesbrough were growing in stature as the game progressed and playing some nice stuff, but more often than not they were let down by the final ball from out wide, while at the back they looked relatively comfortable as the likes of Billy Clifford and Boga struggled to find the killer pass.

It was Middlesbrough, again, who went close to seizing the initiative, but midfielder Jake Fowler’s long-range strike flew inches wide of Blackman’s left-hand post.

A minute later, for the first time in the match, Bamford managed to get beyond the last line of defence, latching on to a clever Clifford pass only to be scythed down on the edge of the box by Christian Burgess.

It was a free-kick in a dangerous position, but with Bamford and Clifford standing over the ball deliberating, the striker eventually sent his effort harmlessly over the bar.

Boga had a second sight of goal shortly after, and the visitors had Ripley to thank for keeping the scores level after the goalkeeper saved a powerful drive low down.

George Saville then carved out a chance for himself through sheer endeavour, but as the midfielder rolled his effort beyond the advancing Ripley, Paul Weldon somehow managed to clear off the line to deny the midfielder what would have been his third goal in two games.

As the half wore on, it was the hosts looking more likely to steal an advantage, but with Middlesbrough seemingly content to defend deep and in large numbers, finding a breakthrough was proving far more difficult than we would have hoped.

Two minutes before half-time, however, what had been a disappointing first-half took a turn for the worse when the away side went in front, and the manner in which the goal was conceded will certainly have worried Drummy.

Sirrell collected the ball wide on the left-hand side, and as the Chelsea defence stood off, allowing him to work himself into a menacing position, the winger drove his strike from the edge of the box into the far corner past Blackman.

It was far too easy, and as the referee signalled for the break, there was plenty for the Blues, and Drummy, to ponder.

Second half
We emerged for the second spell early, clearly intent on finding a way back into the game. There was one change to personnel at half-time, with Lamisha Musonda replacing Islam Feruz, who had been a peripheral figure during the opening 45 minutes.

Blackman, though, was called into action barely a minute after the restart, saving well from a stinging Sirrell effort as Middlesbrough looked to extend their lead.

Our first sight of goal soon followed, Alex Davey arriving at the far post to meet a Baker corner, but the defender who, if anything, had too much time, failed to find a proper connection.

Eleven minutes into the second half the breakthrough finally came, Middlesbrough were struggling to clear their lines and, as a Clifford strike took a deflection and rolled into the path of Bamford, the striker calmly slotted into the bottom corner to level things up.

Clearly buoyed by his equaliser, Bamford was beginning to make a nuisance of himself, and he went close twice in quick succession, firstly with an effort which was well saved by Ripley, and soon after with an ambitious chip from distance.

The Blues were in the ascendancy and looking the more likely to push on and take control, but against the run of play all our hard work was undone when Middlesbrough restored their lead.

The ball was played into the penalty area from wide on the right, and it was the striker Wyke who reacted quickest, taking it beyond Davey with his first touch before slotting his strike past Blackman into an empty net.

It was a cruel blow on the young Chelsea players who had shown great determination to get back into the game, but once again we had it all to do.

Drummy made his second substitution of the evening shortly after, Davey making way for the returning Daniel Pappoe.

We were once again seeing plenty of the ball following Middlesbrough’s second goal without ever looking like scoring, but any hopes we harboured of salvaging a point were extinguished with four minutes remaining when Waters burst into the box unchallenged and fired beyond Blackman.

Chelsea (4-3-3): Jamal Blackman; Todd Kane (c), Nathan Ake, Alex Davey (Daniel Pappoe 68), Aziz Deen-Conteh; Billy Clifford (Adam Nditi 89), George Saville, Jeremie Boga; Islam Feruz (Lamisha Musonda h/t), Patrick Bamford, Lewis Baker.
Unused substitutes: Ben Killip, Ruben Loftus-Cheek.

Middlesbrough (4-2-3-1): Connor Ripley; Andre Bennett, Kyle Oliver, Christian Burgess, Paul Weldon; Matthew Dolan (c), Jake Fowler; Ryan Brobbel,Matthew Waters, Lewis Sirrell; Charlie Wyke.
Unused substitutes: James Montgomery, Jarrett Rivers, Wilson Kneeshaw, Curtis Edwards, Ejiro Okosieme.

DI MATTEO: DERBY TO EXCITE

It is one of the biggest games of the season and Chelsea are able to call upon our two most experienced players for what Roberto Di Matteo believes is a contest against genuine title challengers…

Squad news
Di Matteo is one player short of a full squad going into the weekend local derby in north London.

Daniel Sturridge has missed the last three games with a hamstring injury and has not recovered in time, but the good news is Frank Lampard is over the minor ankle problem that that kept him out of the midweek win over Wolves.

There are no other injury concerns. John Terry trained with the rest of the squad on Friday morning.

‘He trained well today, as hard as always,’ reported Di Matteo. ‘He has only missed a couple of days training and he was in yesterday afternoon. I have spoken to him as I speak to all my players regularly, and he is going to be available.’

On Terry’s focus
In the light of being found guilty of an FA charge yesterday, questions about whether the Chelsea captain will be in the right frame of mind for a huge London derby on an away ground are inevitable, but Di Matteo is not concerned that Terry’s play may be affected by the decision or any reaction he receives at Arsenal.

‘John is a professional player and he is a senior player,’ said the manager.

‘He has played many, many games and he has all the experience in the world to be able to deal with a big game. He has played difficult games under different circumstances and environments before and if selected, I don’t think there will be a problem.’

Terry announced his retirement from international football on Sunday and Di Matteo spoke to the player prior to that decision too. The Italian is not commentating on what is a non-Chelsea matter other than to say:

‘I know that John loved playing for England, it was his childhood dream and it was a very difficult decision for him to take. It certainly increases the chance to play for a little longer when you don’t play international football.’

On facing Arsenal
The Gunners’ boss Arsene Wenger has this week admitted his side won’t miss playing against Didier Drogba, so often their nemesis, but there have not only been changes at Chelsea with Robin van Persie having left Arsenal in the summer.

Di Matteo is expecting the new-look sides to do justice to this fixture’s recent past.

‘It is a big game every time Arsenal and Chelsea play each other. It is two teams in good form and I think it is going to be an exciting game, so I am looking forward to it.

‘We are in good shape, good form and the spirit is good. I think we have a very good team that is capable of beating Arsenal. Didier Drogba has been a fantastic player for many years for this club but we have to move on.’

Fernando Torres is the player who will take the attack to Arsenal this time. One of our opponents’ three summer signings is a Spaniard too. Di Matteo believes Santi Cazorla will need careful watching tomorrow.

‘He is a very exciting player to watch and has certainly made an impact in Arsenal’s team. They have very good players already but he has probably been a highlight so far.

‘I said at the start that Arsenal are going to be challenging for the league and I am not sure anybody believed me, but that is the way I saw it so I haven’t changed my mind.

‘They have signed some very good players and they have been playing the same kind of football for many years and I think they are up there with the other teams.’