West Ham Eye Move for Out of Favour Chelsea Defender Gary Cahill Ahead of Summer Window

?West Ham United will try to lure Chelsea centre-back Gary Cahill to the London Stadium after the England international’s contract expires this summer.

The 33-year-old was a key component in two Premier League winning sides at Stamford Bridge, lifting the trophy in 2015 and 2017 under José Mourinho and Antonio Conte, respectively. However, Maurizio Sarri has ousted Cahill since arriving last July, affording the defender just seven appearances in all competitions this term.

Maurizio Sarri

The former ?Napoli manager has preferred the trio of Antonio Rüdiger, David Luiz and Andreas Christensen in his lineups, Cahill being given a pitiful total of 21 minutes in the ?Premier League thus far.

?The Mirror report that ?West Ham are interested in acquiring the former ?Aston Villa defender, regardless of his lack of time on the pitch for ?the Blues. He has, for the most part, enjoyed a successful career in west London following a £7m switch from ?Bolton Wanderers in 2012, showcasing his proficiency at the top level.

The likelihood is that Cahill will move on from the club with whom he won the ?Champions League during his debut season, with the chances of the defender signing a new contract at the club now seeming remote. However, a potential stumbling block for the Hammers could be his wage demands, with the centre-back currently earning a hefty £150,000 a week.

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The FA Cup winner also offers experience and leadership having retained the captaincy at Chelsea despite falling out of favour. Such qualities would be hugely beneficial for the Irons, who have been criticised by their own supporters in recent weeks for some lacklustre performances.

The addition of Cahill would be most welcome for a backline that has appeared decidedly shaky at times this year, with the fact that a misfiring ?Huddersfield Town outfit scored three goals against them last month demonstrating their need for an organisational, inspirational figure.

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Chelsea vs Slavia Prague: Where to Watch, Live Stream, Kick Off Time & Team News

?Chelsea will look to book their place in the Europa League semi-final on Thursday, as they welcome Slavia Prague to Stamford Bridge for the second leg of this quarter final tie.

In what was an unconvincing first leg display, the Blues left it late to snatch an away goal through a fine Marcos Alonso header, giving them an important 1-0 aggregate lead.

Marcos Alonso,Josef Husbauer

A positive result for Maurizio Sarri would send ?Chelsea through to the last four where they would face either Benfica or Eintracht Frankfurt, with lifting the Europa League beginning to look like their most likely route to playing Champions League football next season.

Last Thursday proved that Slavia Prague are no pushovers and their dramatic last 16 win over Sevilla should serve as a warning for the Blues that the 1-0 advantage does not make the second leg a foregone conclusion.

Check out 90min’s preview of Thursday’s clash below.


Where to Watch

?When Is Kick Off? ?Thursday 18 April
?What Time Is Kick Off? ?20:00 BST
?Where Is It Played? ?Stamford Bridge
?TV Channel/Live Stream? ?BT Sport 3
?Referee? ?Damir Skomina

Team News

?Antonio Rudiger was forced off before half-time against ?Liverpool after sustaining a knee injury, and although the extent of the blow is not yet known, it is highly unlikely that the German centre-back will be available for Thursday.

Andreas Christensen, or even the forgotten man ?Gary Cahill, should line up alongside ?David Luiz at the heart of the Blues’ defence, with ?Marcos Alonso in contention to return to the squad after missing the trip to Anfield with a thigh problem.

Sarri continues to carefully manage the fitness of ?Ruben Loftus-Cheek and after playing 75 minutes on Sunday, Blues fans might expect to see ?Ross Barkley in the starting lineup against Slavia Prague.


Predicted Lineups

?Chelsea ?Kepa; Azpilicueta, Christensen, Luiz, Alonso; Jorginho, Kovacic, Barkley; Pedro, Giroud, Hudson-Odoi
?Slavia Prague ?Kolar; Coufal, Ngadeu-Ngadjui, Deli, Boril; Sevcik, Kral, Traore; Stoch, Masoput, Olayinka

Head to Head Record

Ibrahim Traore,Mateo Kovacic

The first leg was the first ever meeting between the two sides, giving Chelsea a resounding 100% record against the Czech club.


Recent Form

Last Thursday’s win in Prague was the fourth on the bounce for the Blues, but that run came to an abrupt end against Liverpool after a five minute frenzy from the Reds just after the interval.

However, it would be harsh to say that things haven’t improved slightly in recent weeks, following the overdue introduction of Callum Hudson-Odoi and Loftus-Cheek to the regular starting eleven.

Slavia’s defeat to Chelsea brought an end to a ten-match unbeaten run, which may have knocked their confidence going into the weekend’s derby against Sparta Prague. The match finished all square at 1-1.

Here’s how each team has performed in their last five fixtures:

?Chelsea ?Slavia Prague
?Liverpool 2-0 Chelsea (14/4) ?Slavia Prague 1-1 Sparta Prague (14/4)
?Slavia Prague 0-1 Chelsea (11/4) ?Slavia Prague 0-1 Chelsea (11/4)
?Chelsea 2-0 West Ham (8/4) ?Dukla 1-5 Slavia Prague (6/4)
?Chelsea 3-0 Brighton (3/4) ?Slavia Prague 5-0 Karvina (2/4)
?Cardiff City 1-2 Chelsea (31/3) ?Slavia Prague 1-1 Liberec (30/3)

Prediction

FBL-EUR-C3-SLAVIA PRAGUE-CHELSEA

Chelsea should need no extra motivation on Thursday, knowing ?Arsenal hold all the cards in the race for a top four Premier League finish – as well as knowing they have a trip to Old Trafford coming up.

The Europa League is arguably their most realistic hope of achieving Champions League football and with a 1-0 advantage, the Blues should move one step closer to their target at Stamford Bridge.

Prediction: Chelsea 3-1 Slavia Prague

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FIFA 20: 8 Legends We Want to See in This Year’s Game

?FIFA 19 was the latest instalment of the popular gaming franchise that allows users to play as their favourite players, and subsequently launch their controllers when they concede in the 90th minute, as it brought enjoyment and pain in equal measure. 

With it being April however, attention will begin to turn to latest release, FIFA 20, which is likely to drop in the autumn.

One of the best parts of the game is being able to play with a host of ‘icons’ that are part of each game, with FIFA 20 likely to be no different. 

So without further ado, here are eight legends we want to see in the next game. 


Gordon Banks – Goalkeeper


Arguably the greatest goalkeeper to ever play for England, surely there’s a space in FIFA 20 for one Gordon Banks.

With reflexes that most keepers could only dream of, the prospect of having the 1966 World Cup winner between the sticks for your Ultimate Team would be one that strikes fear into the hearts of your opponents.

Following his tragic passing, his inclusion into the next game would be a nice touch; giving people who didn’t have the fortune of seeing the former ?Leicester City and ?Stoke City shot-stopper play why he’s regarded so highly. 


Alan Hansen – Centre-Back 

If it’s a ball-playing centre-back with genuine pace that you’re after, then there are few better to have played than Alan Hansen. 

His time at ?Liverpool between 1977-1991 was awash with silverware, as the talented Scot won eight league titles, three European Cups and two FA Cups in what was the most successful period in the club’s history. 

Hansen was a joy to watch, as he married a confident and composed exterior with an astute reading of the game, making him one hell of a central defender. 


Philipp Lahm – Full-Back


A more recent addition to the list now, having only retired in 2017, but one that’s no less deserving is that of former ?Bayern Munich and Germany full-back Philipp Lahm.

The defender, who was equally adept as playing at either right or left-back, was a terrific servant for both club and country, winning eight ?Bundesliga titles – captaining Die Roten to the treble in 2013/14. 

Lahm also lifted the World Cup in 2014 for Die Mannschaft – earning 113 caps for the national team – and is recognised as one of the best full-backs to ever grace the game.


Cafu – Right-Back 


??While the likes of Ronaldo, Ronaldinho, Roberto Carlos and Rivaldo were rewarded with cards on FIFA 19, one player that seemed to be missing was right-back Cafu.

The Brazilian defined a new approach to the position, with him often appearing in the oppositions half rather than his own over the course of the game, but it resulted in what was a glorious career for the defender.

A World Cup win in 2002 was the pinnacle of his career, having also won two Serie A titles with AS Roma and ?Milan, and the ?Champions League with the latter, so he’s certainly a player deserving of an icon card in FIFA 20. 


Kaka – Central Midfield 

The 2007 Ballon d’Or winner was shockingly omitted from FIFA 19, so it would be great to see the Brazil legend back in FIFA 20.

A terrific option as a central attacking midfielder, Kaka has everything you want?? for that position: size, quality on both feet, genuine pace, and the ability to score a sackful of goals when in and around the area. 

With a World Cup, Champions League, ?Serie A and ?La Liga title also on his resume, few could argue with the former Milan and ?Real Madrid man’s inclusion in the next instalment. 


David Beckham – Right Midfield 

One of the very few players to actually transcend the world of football and become an established name as a celebrity, it’s easy to forget how good of a footballer he actually was.

Famed for his trademark free-kick technique, Beckham also had incredible quality when crossing the ball into the box from open play. 

Although his crowning glory was the treble with ?Manchester United in 1999, the former England international also won a further five league titles in England, while winning league titles in Spain, USA and France, and would certainly be an asset to any team, especially those reliant on set-pieces.


John Barnes – Left Midfield 

Ask any Liverpool fan and John Barnes gets into their top five in terms of best players to play for the club, and for good reason, as his pace and dribbling ability to still talked about to this day.

Barnes was part of the title-winning sides of 1987/88 and 1989/90, winning the Football Writers’ Association Footballer of the Year award on both occasions, while winning the PFA Players’ Player of the Year award after his first title triumph.

Internationally, Barnes was part of the England squad that reached the semi-finals of the 1990 World Cup, with five of his 79 England caps coming during that tournament.


Didier Drogba – Striker 

Just uttering his name sends a shiver down the spine of most central defenders, as Didier Drogba was a bully of a striker that had it all, and could decide a game on his own.

The Ivorian became one of the revered strikers in ?Premier League history following his move to ?Chelsea in 2004, winning four league titles over two spells, while scoring an impressive 164 goals during his time at Stamford Bridge.

His crowning moment however came in 2012, as a late header sent the Champions League final to extra-time, before he scored the deciding penalty in the shootout against Bayern Munich; signing off his first spell at the club in sublime style.


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Liverpool Threaten Lifetime Bans After Flare Was Thrown at Chelsea Fans During 2-0 Win

?Liverpool have released a statement threatening lifetime bans for any fan found guilty of throwing a flare at Chelsea supporters during Sunday’s 2-0 victory.

On the 30th anniversary of the Hillsborough stadium disaster, the match was marred by crowd unrest as a flare was thrown into the away supporters during the second half, whilst homophobic chants towards Chelsea fans were also heard.


?Liverpool released a ?statement in which they confirmed that any fan who was involved in the flare incident will be banned from Anfield going forward.

It read: “Liverpool Football Club would like to thank the players, staff, officials and supporters of ?Chelsea for their compassionate marking of the Hillsborough Anniversary during our fixture at the weekend.

“As ever, the overwhelming majority of those present at Anfield ensured the occasion was a fitting tribute. Regrettably however, a smoke device was thrown into the away section during the second half and we are actively working with Merseyside Police to investigate the matter. Any person found to have committed this offence will be banned from our ground.

Sadio Mane,Andreas Christiansen

“The club is also concerned about a chant from some of our fans, specifically referencing Chelsea, as inappropriate and offensive. We would urge all Liverpool supporters to respect each other and stop such chants as they do not reflect the inclusivity that the club stands for. 

“As a proud member of Stonewall’s Diversity Champions programme, we are committed to LGBT equality across all areas of the Club and have contacted them and our own affiliated LBGT group Kop Outs for further support.”

The build-up to the match was also shrouded in controversy after a video emerged on Twitter of a group of Chelsea fans chanting a racist song about Liverpool forward ?Mohamed Salah – an incident which saw ?some of the group turned away from their Europa League meeting with Slavia Prague on Thursday.

FBL-ENG-PR-LIVERPOOL-CHELSEA

The Egyptian got himself on the score sheet in spectacular fashion on Sunday, with his stunning long-range strike following ?Sadio Mane’s headed opener to gift the Reds the three points. They returned to the top of the ?Premier League title, although the fate of the trophy remains in the hands of ?Manchester City, who have played one fewer game.

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David Luiz Praises Jurgen Klopp’s Influence as Liverpool Overcome Chelsea at Anfield

Chelsea defender David Luiz has spoken highly of Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp, saying prior to the Reds’ 2-0 victory that the German consistently improves his players. 

His praise comes as Klopp’s side sit atop the Premier League with four games remaining, albeit having played a game more than second place Manchester City, and have shown dramatic signs of improvement since Klopp took over in 2015. 

Jurgen Klopp

The former Dortmund manager has lifted the Anfield side from ?Premier League mediocrity into one of the best sides the competition has seen, taking them to two European finals in the process, and Luiz admitted that he is due all the praise he has received in recent years. 

?“He improves every single player,” the Brazilian told ?Sky Sports“He has done it with everybody, with the full-backs, with the defenders, the goalkeeper, the midfield. 

“Especially the strikers because they play in the same way, with the same passion and the same spirit.

FBL-ENG-PR-LIVERPOOL-CHELSEA

“That is why they are doing amazing, but football can sometimes be a bit cruel because they are doing amazing but at the moment City are winning the title. It is a pressure for everybody.”

Luiz’s praise looks almost prophetic in hindsight, as goals from Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah inflicted defeat on ?Chelsea, who performed reasonably well, but looked second best to what is a formidable ?Liverpool side throughout. 

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