Chelsea And Conte May Come To Regret EFL Cup Exit

Nov 22, 2016 Posted Under: News

Chelsea continued their excellent start to their Premier League campaign at the weekend by beating Middlesbrough to not only record another win but to bring up their sixth consecutive clean-sheet in the competition. The Blues have not conceded a goal now in the Premier League in 590 minutes since Mesut Ozil was the last man to beat Thibaut Courtois between the Chelsea goal in Arsenal’s 3-0 victory in the London derby at the Emirates Stadium back in September.











Conte nuovo “allenatore” della Nazi” (CC BY 2.0) by NazionaleCalcio

Conte arrived in the summer at Stamford Bridge after a two-year spell with the Italy national team. He came with a reputation of fielding sides which are very hard to break down and that is finally rubbing off on the Blues who top the table by one point ahead of Liverpool and Manchester City respectively.

The Chelsea boss has particularly had success with the system he has adopted with his new side. Chelsea have used a 3-4-3 formation this season with David Luiz, Gary Cahill and Cesar Azpilicueta bringing up his defensive line. In front of the back three, summer signing N’Golo Kante and Nemanja Matic have offered protection in midfield, while Diego Costa is arguably the most in form striker in the league with 10 goals to his name already in the campaign.

Wins over Manchester United, Southampton, Everton and defending Premier League champions Leicester in recent weeks has sent a message round to the rest of the clubs in the league that Chelsea are serious title contenders this season. They were more or less out of the running this time 12 months ago in a very poor attempt at trying to retain their trophy so it’s been an impressive turnaround.

However, although Chelsea have got themselves in a great position in the league going into the very busy Christmas schedule, Conte may come to regret not advancing into the quarter-final of the EFL Cup.

Chelsea fell in the 4th round of the competition to London rivals West Ham back in October. Goals from Cheikhou Kouyate and Edimilson Fernandes put the Hammers through to the last eight at the expense of the Blues.










Wembley Stadium” (CC BY 2.0) by HerryLawford


Former Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho was always keen to do well in the League Cup as it is the first opportunity to win silverware in the season. Success at Wembley in the competition takes the pressure of a club going into the final few months of their league campaign. The Portuguese boss has taken that approach to Manchester United where his side remain in the tournament and are 7/2 in the League Cup betting to lift the trophy in February.

With Chelsea not in Europe this season, you would expect the cup competitions to carry extra significance. Conte does not have the disadvantage of having to juggle his squad between midweek European trips and domestic games at the weekend. The Italian does still have the FA Cup though which you would expect him to take very seriously considering it is one of only trophies he can now win this season with the Blues.

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Who could join Chelsea before the transfer window closes?

Aug 16, 2016 Posted Under: News

New Chelsea manager Antonio Conte has not made wholesale changes to the Chelsea squad he inherited this summer after joining the Blues from the Italian national team, but he has strengthened well with the acquisition of two world class players.

The first signing the former Italy boss made was striker Michy Batshuayi from Marseille who cost the club £33.2 million. The Belgium forward scored 17 goals in Ligue 1 last season and is expected to be suited to the physical demands of the Premier League.

Conte also splashed out over £30 million on N’Golo Kante from Leicester. The Frenchman played a key role in helping the Foxes win the title last season so should be a great signing for the Blues as they look to regain their Premier League crown in a market where they are 11-2 with Betway.

Here are five players who could also join the club before the window shuts later this month:

Kalidou Koulibaly – Napoli

Napoli defender Koulibaly is likely to leave his Italian side this summer and there are a number of clubs chasing the Senegal international who could £50 million before he leaves Serie A.

Conte will be very keen to add another defender to his squad given the injury to Kurt Zouma, while John Terry is now into his final season at the club and at the age of 35 may not be able to play a full season.

Romelu Lukaku – Everton











?????? ?????? / Romelu Lukak” (CC BY-SA 2.0) by  Aleksandr Osipov 

Jose Mourinho allowed Lukaku to leave Chelsea for Everton back in the summer of 2014 but it now looks like the Belgium striker could be set for a return to Stamford Bridge. Since leaving the Blues, the 23-year old has developed into one of the top strikers in the Premier League.

Lukaku is thought to be keen on a move away from Goodison Park however, Arsenal are also in the hunt to add the striker to their ranks before the transfer window shuts later this month.

The Everton forward scored 25 goals in all competitions last season, his best tally to date since moving to England from Anderlecht in 2011.

Blaise Matuidi – PSG

Matuidi missed PSG’s recent 4-1 victory over Lyon fuelling speculation that the Frenchman could be leaving the Ligue 1 champions this summer.











_MG_2839” (CC BY-SA 2.0) by  xavnal 

If Chelsea do manage to get this transfer over the line it could cost them over £40 million for one of Europe’s leading midfielders.

The 29-year old played a key role in helping France reach the final of Euro 2016, while he has a wealth of experience of playing Champions League football with PSG.

Shkodran Mustafi – Valencia

German international Mustafi started his career in England with Everton, but he failed to make a single appearance for the Toffees in the Premier League.

The German made his mark in Italy with Sampdoria before moving to Spain to join Valencia. His performances for the Spanish club earned him a spot at the 2014 World Cup which he won which Germany.

Mustafi would likely walk straight into Conte’s starting XI if the Chelsea boss can get beat his rivals for the signature of the German.

Simone Zaza – Juventus

Zaza is a player Conte knows very well given he has managed the striker with the Italian national team and a deal could be done with Juve including Nemanja Matic who may head in the opposite direction to Zaza.

Juventus have recently sold Paul Pogba to Manchester United and see Matic as an ideal replacement and they may be happy to let go of Zaza to make that deal happen.

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The unmanaged expectations of Chelsea FC

Jul 29, 2016 Posted Under: News












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.


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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