French striker aiming to fire Chelsea into the top four

French striker Olivier Giroud hasn’t always been flavour of the month at Chelsea, but the experienced 33-year-old has shown his loyalty to the London club as he is set to extend his contract until 2021. Granted the stability that comes with a new deal and his short-term future decided, Giroud will be keen to fire his employers to a top-four finish in the English Premier League, securing Champions League football returns to Stamford Bridge next term.

Giroud answered the call

Sections of the media, including many tabloids, ran stories that suggested Giroud would exit Frank Lampard’s side in the winter transfer window, but a cruel twist of fate changed Chelsea’s plans. With Blues’ striker Tammy Abraham picking up an injury that forced him onto the sidelines, leaving the club short of attacking options, Giroud proved his professionalism and eye for goal beyond doubt.

The former Arsenal attacker – who scored 73 goals in 180 appearances across the city – hit the ground running upon his return to first-team action. He scored two goals in four games and turned in several eye-catching performances which helped him win over doubters in the crowd. Having rediscovered the form that has earned him 97 caps for France since 2011, Giroud will hope his patience and goals will be rewarded by Lampard and he does not find himself dumped back on the bench.

Chelsea coach Lampard certainly seemed to be giving it serious thought during a recent press chat. The former England and Chelsea midfielder credited Giroud’s character despite interest from Inter Milan late last year. The gaffer confessed his respect and admiration for the striker. That will be put to the test when Frank decides his next Chelsea starting XI line up.

Blues hoping to hold off Man Utd

Chelsea sit fourth in the Premier League after 29 games with a record reading 14 wins and six draws against nine defeats. They have scored 51 goals and conceded 39. The blues are five points behind Leicester City in third, having won two and drawn one of their last three. Man Utd in fifth are just three points behind, however, and that is a major concern. Prior to the break, Chelsea were ahead of the Red Devils in the football betting in the Premier League top four outright market, but it looks like the race for the Champions League places will go down to the wire.

Since suffering a hurtful 2-0 home defeat to rivals Man United, the lions of Chelsea have roared back. They upset the odds to defeat Tottenham and former manager Jose Mourinho less than a week later, edging a fiery London derby 2-1. Giroud broke the deadlock inside 15 minutes that day before Marcos Alonso doubled his side’s lead just after the break.

In their most recent league outing, Chelsea demolished Everton in a convincing 4-0 win to quickly erase memories of the disappointing 2-2 draw with Bournemouth. If they can continue where they left off prior to the break then they stand a good chance of maintaining their Champions League status. Giroud is likely to play a key role in this, although Abraham will challenge him all the way as he looks to win back his starting berth.

Which Chelsea Players Are Out of Contract This Summer?

Big screen inside Stamford Bridge” (CC BY-SA 2.0) by Jason Bagley

Out-of-contract players at top clubs like Chelsea may be busy this summer with the Euro 2020 finals taking place. It could even be a shop window for those whose deals at Stamford Bridge are set to expire during the tournament.

Which Blues players have their contracts coming to an end? Let’s take a look.

Marco van Ginkel

Seven years during which time Netherlands midfielder Marco van Ginkel has spent more time injured and away from Chelsea on loan than in the first team are due to end this coming summer. He has played just four times for the Blues since signing in 2013.

Although loan spells with AC Milan and Stoke City weren’t particularly fruitful, Van Ginkel was prolific in a stint with PSV Eindhoven in his homeland last two and a half seasons. The Dutchman is still just 27 and there is time for him to rebuild his club career somewhere else.

Willian

Brazil winger Willian has been a fine servant and fan favourite at Chelsea following his £30,000,000 transfer from boom and bust Russian club Anzhi Makhachkala in 2013. With over 200 Premier League games and two titles under his belt, his time in West London has been hugely successful.

Besides those league crowns, Willian has EFL Cup and FA Cup winners’ medals and the 2019 Europa League. He has played for five different Blues bosses – Jose Mourinho, Guus Hiddink, Antonio Conte, Maurizio Sarri and former teammate Frank Lampard.

Now 31, Willian is unlikely to be offered a new long-term deal at Chelsea. The club’s policy under Roman Abramovich has been to only put one-year contract offers on the table for players over the age of 30.

If he does leave the Bridge, then Willian will not be short of suitors. He remains in favour under Lampard, however, and will look to help the Blues to a top four finish which they are 4/9 to get, according to the latest Premier League betting at bet365.

Pedro

Fellow winger Pedro isn’t always first-choice these days. The World Cup and European Championship winning Spaniard matched his best-ever scoring season last term with 13 goals, but Lampard isn’t giving him much game time now.

Youngsters such as Mason Mount and Christian Pulisic are ahead of Pedro, who signed for Chelsea from Barcelona in 2015, in the pecking order now. Although a senior player for the Blues, he hasn’t turned out for Spain since 2017 – with another generation now preferred at international level.

Olivier Giroud

France striker Olivier Giroud has also fallen out of favour under Lampard despite firing Chelsea to Europa League glory last season. The current Blues boss prefers Tammy Abraham as his centre forward.

Giroud offers a different kind of threat than those younger legs, but his physical presence is not really in keeping with Lampard’s style of play. He remains a key player for his country, however, and he may need to leave the Bridge even before his contract expires during the winter window to get first-team football.

The best Chelsea matches this season

We’ve picked the best Chelsea matches so far this season in Premier league. Not everyone expected Chelsea to have such a good start, but their fans did, just like those who like to bet on football.

“I have to know the characteristics of the players. I have to adapt myself to the characteristics of the championship and the players. Now I study my players.” said Sarri after the win away against Huddersfield 0-3.

For the BBC Sport, Maurizio Sarri said: “The game was more difficult than the result. If you see the result, you think it was a very easy match, but in the first half it was very difficult against physical opponents. We are not a physical team so for 20 minutes we were in trouble but we did very well. In this moment we are not at the top of our potential but we had the capacity to suffer for 20 minutes in the first half.”

“Chelsea were very clinical. They had four or five chances and scored three. We started very well in the first half. We pressed them high and the players did very well.” said Huddersfield coach David Wagner after the loss.

Second one we chose was the one home agains’t Arsenal. It was a tough one, but very important. It ended 3-2 after the late goal from Marcos Alonso. Man of the match was Jorginho, he won the ball 9x, had touched the ball 105x, and made 99 passes at with the 91,6%.

The third one was against Cardiff at home, 4-1 was the final outcome. The only match where Chelsea has scored 4 goals this season in Premier league. Man of the match was Eden Hazard who scored a hattrick.

“Hazard was unbelievable, unplayable. It was one of those days. Every time he got the ball he made things happen. The equalising goal was fantastic, his second had a little bit of luck, and the penalty was undoubtedly a penalty.” said Tony Cottee for Sky Sports.

Chelsea have won their first five matches in the Premier league this season, which is the fourth time, previously done in seasons 2005-06, 2009-10 and 2010-11, which is more than any other team in the league.

Chelsea also won the first match in the Europa league against PAOK away in Greece with 0-1. Willian scored in the early 7th minute.

In the first match against Liverpool, we won at Anfield in the cup on Wednesday 1-2 with a comeback after losing 1-0.

The last match for Chelsea in Premier league was against Liverpool at Stamford Bridge on 29th September, we drew. Currently, City and Liverpool are leading 2 points ahead of us on top.

Liverpool in Premiership have enjoyed their start of the season by winning all 6 matches so far. This was their hardest test so far this season in Premier league, in which they drew.

Could Golovin Move Ease Pressure On Hazard

Source: FTalentScout via Twitter

Aleksandr Golovin has been heavily linked with a move to Chelsea following his exploits for Russia in the 2018 World Cup. The forward was considered one of the emerging prospects in European football due to the standard of his performances for CSKA Moscow over the past two seasons.

However, he caught the eye with his display in the opening match of the 2018 World Cup, scoring a brilliant free-kick to guide Russia to a crushing win against Saudi Arabia. Since then, he has been active in the final third, becoming one of Russia’s most influential players in their drive for the latter stages of the competition. At the age of 22, Golovin appears to be on his way to becoming the key man for his country for many years to come.

Chelsea are not the only side in the Premier League to have noticed his talents. Manchester United and Arsenal have also been reported to have interest in the forward. The Blues appear to be in prime position to secure his signature, although it will have to wait until Russia are out of World Cup 2018, with Stanislav Cherchesov’s men backed in the international football betting odds at 20/1 to go on and win the competition.

Compared to prices around the world at the moment, Golovin would be a decent price in the range between £25m to £30m. However, the need for Chelsea is great as they were far too reliant on Eden Hazard in the final third last season. Their big signing of last summer, Alvaro Morata, failed to fire in front of goal in the decisive moments of the campaign, despite making a good start to life at Stamford Bridge. Whether the Chelsea manager is Antonio Conte or Maurizio Sarri at the start of the new season, they will have to weigh up their options to get their best out of the team on the pitch.

Source: cfc_wale via Twitter

Olivier Giroud could be an important player for the Blues next term and he did make an impact in his five months at the club after joining from Arsenal. Conte or Sarri will be paying attention to see how he has been deployed at World Cup 2018 for France. He has played the lone striker role with Kylian Mbappe, Antoine Griezmann and Blaise Matuidi playing behind as three support players. That system could suit Chelsea perfectly with the addition of Golovin alongside Willian and Hazard.

Hazard has been known to not play well with others in the final third, but Golovin appears to have a similar trait to the Belgian, displaying a willingness to run with the ball. That could alleviate the pressure off the 26-year-old as Chelsea looked to him far too often to provide solutions, especially in bigger games when the leading sides made significant strides to put defenders around him. An additional ball carrier could provide the perfect complement with Giroud occupying space in the middle. Add Willian’s deadly delivery from dead-ball situations, then Chelsea could be on their way to forming a formidable forward line if they can get a deal for Golovin secured.

Chelsea favourites to kick-off Premier League 2018/19 season with win over Huddersfield

Premier League bosses announced fixtures for the eagerly anticipated 2018/19 Premier League season, Chelsea bringing the curtain up with a trip to Huddersfield Town on Saturday 11th August. The Blues are then at home to Arsenal in a London derby seven days later before visiting St James Park.

All eyes are currently fixed on Russia with the host nation kicking things off with a stunning 5-0 win over Saudi Arabia in Moscow. That result moved bookmakers to shorten the world cup 2018 betting odds on a home win, a market dominated by Brazil and Germany.

The race to be crowned kings of planet football captures the imagination but there will be plenty of punters on the lookout for their value fix in the early Premier League betting. Manchester City have been scratched up as convincing favourites to win two-in-a-row with no more than 8/13 available at Paddy Power.

Source: ArsenalFanTV via Twitter

Liverpool are expected to be the champions’ main danger at 9/2 and you have to cast your eye down to fifth in the betting to find Chelsea written off as 10/1 outsiders. If odds compilers are to be believed the Stamford Bridge residents will end behind the likes of Manchester United and Tottenham again.

Fans are demanding improvement in the coming months, starting with a strong showing in the summer transfer window, much better than we saw this time last year when Antonio Conte missed out on a host of targets including Belgian scorer Romelu Lukaku. Names currently being linked to the bridge are Alfie Mawson, Alisson Becker and Anthony Martial.

A return to the top-four and Champions League football is the least season ticket holders expect but there’s a competitive 8/11 trading, that quote leaving them fourth in the list. Average punters can ignore a top-six finish at 1/7.

Source: Absolute Chelsea via Twitter

A squad low on confidence will require a strong start to the season and bookies expect Chelsea to hit the ground running with a comfortable win over The Terriers at Kirklees Stadium on matchday one. A punt on the visitors will land supporters 2/5 at the time of writing and that’ll surely pull its weight in accumulator bets. The draw goes 3/1 with Huddersfield 5/1 for an upset.

The prices would suggest a strong away win is on the cards but checking the head-to-heads stats tells a different story. From 66 recorded matches in competitive action the scores stand at Chelsea 29-27 Huddersfield with 10 draws. The pair played out a rather uninspiring share in their most recent meeting, Alonso responding to cancel out a Depoitre opener early in the second-half.

Both teams to score would’ve been settled as a winning bet on that occasion and the result fell into line with the trends. Both clubs have found the net at least once in each of their last four with a 1-0 Huddersfield win back in 1999 the odd one out in seven – a run stretching back to 1983.

That appears to have been lost on odds-makers who have no in the both-teams-to-score field as favourite – 8/11 at Paddy Power against the 11/10 for yes.