Why Chelsea Should Avoid the Transfer Market Even if Ban Is Overturned

?Following a 4-0 drubbing on the opening day of the 2019/20 Premier League season, it would have been hard to envisage that Chelsea would currently be sat third in the table – one point above reigning champions Manchester City.

But they are. And they most certainly deserve to be.

Frank Lampard’s first league game in charge of the Blues was one to forget, as Manchester United put four past them at Old Trafford without reply.

It was a result that left fans fearing the worst. They lacked organisation defensively, while there was a distinct lack of balance in the side. 

Manchester United v Chelsea FC - Premier League

Since then, the team has only lost once more in the league in 11 games – and this defeat came against runaway leaders Liverpool. 

Lampard has been praised for his desire to promote youth, with Mason Mount, Fikayo Tomori and Tammy Abraham all shining in the league. Of course, the Blues were banned from signing players during the summer after being found guilty of breaking rules in relation to recruiting young players, but this shouldn’t take away from the faith and trust that the current manager has placed in his youngsters.

While this ban is due to run until next summer, there is a growing optimism that it could be lifted in January.

The Stamford Bridge club ?are believed to be keen on bringing in players to fill three key positions, with the likes of Sergej Milinkovic-Savic among others being linked with a move to the club in recent weeks.

Frank Lampard

The thing is, this would be completely the wrong thing to do.

A ?survey conducted by the Mirror in July 2018 revealed that Chelsea were in fact…the most hated club in the Premier League according to fans from every club in the division. A whopping 68.7% of fans put the west London side at the top of their list. That’s quite something. 

So yes, ?Chelsea were in fact disliked. But this has changed, many are beginning to hold a soft spot for the SW6 side and their manager.

Lampard has allowed his youngsters to go and play free-flowing attacking football and this has guaranteed goals. In addition, a never say die attitude has been instilled into the team by their manager, with a number of performances this season backing this up.

Most recently, ?the Blues came back from 4-1 down to draw with Ajax in the Champions League – and in turn, they kept their hopes of progressing to the next stage of the competition alive. This performance was filled with heart, desire and most importantly, a sense of team unity.

So often these days, high profile and talented players have attempted to carry the mantle alone, without the help of their teammates and this has proven detrimental. However, Chelsea’s Champions League display at home to Ajax encapsulated exactly why no reinforcements are needed in January even if the ban is overturned.

When Tammy Abraham clipped the ball into his own net early in the match, his teammates rallied around him and encouraged him to go and make amends. The Englishman looked sharp from that moment, working hard and created chances for himself and others. 

Similarly, when Marcos Alonso was hooked at half time for a poor showing, many questioned his replacement – a 19-year-old Reece James. Sure, the club rate him highly, but it was yet another reminder of Lampard’s levels of trust with this group as he put his faith in the full back to come on and be the man to make the difference.

Reece James

The outcome?

He orchestrated the comeback and even chipped in with a goal himself. Money cannot buy this understanding. 

Throughout the team, each individual player is improving with each passing game and the transformation of certain fringe players is unquestionable. The likes of ?Mateo Kovacic and Kurt Zouma have taken their games to the next level this season and have become fixtures in the side.

Following Zouma’s unfortunate injuries, few would have predicted that he would have a future at the club and yet he is playing week in, week out – and this has helped him reignite his international career, as well. As for Kovacic, he made 32 Premier League appearances last season, but only managed to complete a full 90 minutes in two of those games. This season, he has been irreplaceable, constantly driving forward with pace and skill. 

One argument that has been made repeatedly by fans who are keen to see Chelsea dive into the transfer market in January, if the ban is overturned, is that there is a lack of squad depth. 

However, such is the fine form of Chelsea at the moment, it would be easy to forget that the likes of Antonio Rudiger, Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Ross Barkley and more have all struggled this season with injuries.

These were all key members of the squad last season and they will add strength in depth once they return, also making it a very competitive squad. 

Certain fans have deemed a number of players ‘not good enough’ and have even made their opinions known during matches, for example when there were calls for “Tammy! Tammy! Tammy!” during the club’s tussle with ?Manchester United in the Carabao Cup. They wanted Abraham to come on and replace Batshuayi, but the Belgian scored a stunning goal four minutes later.

Lampard has built a squad that he trusts and one that is performing. With key players set to return, the team will only get stronger and, as a result, it would be criminal to invest in January if the transfer ban is lifted. 


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LOL: The Best Memes & Funnies From the Premier League This Week

?In the era of banter, one single week is enough time to prompt the keyboard warriors of this world to amuse us to great degree with some (sometimes) light-hearted chuckles.

One club in particular has assumed the role of Banter Claus this season, while there were moments of infighting and Ronaldinho-esque skill that left us purring.

Whether your team is struggling for form, or your club are flying in a footballing sense, here are some of the week’s best memes and funnies to either lift your mood, or keep it going.


AFTVersus the World


When you fancy something to raise your spirits, say, for instance, if your team lost on the weekend, why not set sail for an online odyssey where you can watch other club’s supporters scream loudly down a camera for five minutes?

The biggest fan channel of ?Arsenal has earned a reputation for the way in which some of their regular contributors are accused of being, dare I say, too hard on some of the players. Whether their responses are constructive or not, or indeed whether you find it great that fans can have their say, the Gunners squad are supposedly not too keen on the way captain ?Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has embarked on a close-knit relationship with the channel.

In particular, ‘Troopz’ has become a closer-than-usual friend of Aubameyang’s, with the Gabon forward issuing a response to the reports he is stepping too far out of the bubble in which footballers are supposedly meant to live in.


The club is essentially one big walking meme at present. So any opportunity to make light of the situation was duly touched upon by the loving public.





With stardom already propelling Troopz onto the official FIFA video game, there is unquestionably going to be a mention or two of this week’s happenings on his next appearance on the channel.


??However, their friendship must be kept a secret from now on…


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??Flip Flap You Just Got Slapped

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We all love Ronaldinho and, anyone who suggests otherwise, look away.

Who can forget the ?magnificent Nike advert that pitted Brazil against Portugal? While wondrous in every way – Ricardo Quaresma having hair and the old school T90 boots, for example – nothing beat the Brazilian wizard’s glorious skill. The Flip Flap. The Elastico.

Well, at Old Trafford on Sunday, we were gifted with it once more. Only this time, it was….?Marcus Rashford?

Ermm, yes.


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Naturally, the comparisons were made.


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Davy. Propper. On. Toast.


Training Ground Bust-Ups You Don’t Love to See

Liverpool FC v Manchester City - Premier League

Unless you’re Montenegro, of course, in which case your chances of beating England have increased a solid 0.5%.

Yes, that’s harsh, but ?Raheem Sterling being left out of consideration for the Three Lions’ next Euro 2020 qualifier due to his scrap with Joe Gomez will offer Thursday’s visitors a glimmer of hope no doubt.

?Basically, the two came to blows during the Manchester City vs Liverpool game. Essentially, it hadn’t been forgotten. Ultimately, Sterling ain’t playing at Wembley.

Hilarity ensued even after the Anfield clash.


While it was Sterling who was the most antagonised, there were those who questioned if the match-up was a fair one in the first place.




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??Forgotten man Jesse Lingard got a shout out (of sorts) in what was probably an accurate reenactment of the events.



Really, Roberto?

Roberto

After what appeared to be a fine transfer window of business for Manuel Pellegrini’s side, ?West Ham have proceeded to be rather rubbish in a season in which they were tipped for European qualification. There is undoubted quality in their starting XI, even in goal.

…When ?ukasz Fabia?ski plays, that is.

Instead, they’ve got Roberto. A gift that seemingly keeps on giving. 

The Hammers stopper had an absolute stinker against Burnley, none more so than when he punched the ball into his own net. 

I wish I was joking. 

OK, not really, because I don’t support West Ham, and it was rather hilarious. The internet thought so, too.


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??At least their backup goalie hasn’t ?made any clangers recently…


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Reece James on Breaking Through at Chelsea, Playing With His Mates & Who He’d Like to Score Against

It’s been a sensational four months for Frank Lampard.

He’s played through the period of Chelsea’s greatest success. But while teams of his past were used to scoring freely, enjoying their football and winning titles, the Blues’ new head coach has brought the glory back in a different way – his own way – since taking the role in the main seat on the Stamford Bridge bench in July. 

Talk of titles with the modern day squad is premature, but it hasn’t taken Lampard long to reunite a previously divided fanbase and make them believe that this is a journey, and a team, worth following again following a difficult season under Maurizio Sarri. Lampard has triggered a culture shift that has been in demand for the better part of a decade, and proven fully justified in doing so.

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The ?Chelsea of today are young. They’re confident, daring and unafraid. Tammy Abraham and Mason Mount are flourishing. Fikayo Tomori has been unearthed and there’s high hopes for Callum Hudson-Odoi. There’s plenty of others to list too.

But Reece James is the latest off the conveyor belt. His performance shackling Wilfried Zaha in the win over Crystal Palace at the weekend has earned praise – he’s come in for plenty of that since his breakthrough – while he’s already shown himself to be an effective weapon in an attacking sense too. The attention was certainly fixed on the 19-year-old following his equaliser in the crazy 4-4 Champions League draw with Ajax earlier this month.

That said, James isn’t one to let his feet leave the ground. He’s merely concentrating on making a regular spot in the first team his own for now.

“At the moment it’s about taking the next step and being a starter in the team. That’s the next goal,” he told 90min‘s ?YouTube regulars ?Ben Haines, ?Lawrence Bury and ?I at the recent launch event for Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, later confessing that it’s actually his mate Mason who is probably the best gamer at the club.


There’s plenty of time for James to brush up on his COD skills in afternoons after training, but making a success of his career at Stamford Bridge following a loan spell at Wigan Athletic last season has been the objective since the age of six – when James was initially brought in to the Chelsea academy.

“I’ve been there all the way through. I was playing in a tournament with my Sunday league team and then got scouted from there,” he continued, going on to share his experience of coming up through the ranks to making his home debut – another game in which he scored in, at that – in the recent EFL Cup win over Grimsby.

“Obviously it’s great playing with loads of players that I’ve played with in the academy [naming Hudson-Odoi, Mount, Tomori, Abraham and ?Billy Gilmour among them]. Everyone seems to be getting a chance at the moment and results are going the right way.

It was a great atmosphere, stepping out at Stamford Bridge. Winning 7-1 on my home debut and scoring as well was pretty special.”

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He named ?Manchester United as the team he’d like to score against, and while a recent chance to do so was missed in the same competition, there will be plenty more opportunities to come for the right back.

James has Lampard to thank for that. His loan spell with the Latics proved successful as he played in all but one of their Championship fixtures last term – he could even celebrate scoring the club’s goal of the season – and James was keen to stress that going out on loan could be an invaluable experience to young players in a similar position.

I was playing week in, week out and grew to get to know the lads better,” he assessed. “It was a tough season but it was enjoyable playing [regularly]. If you can get out and play then there’s nothing better.”

Except, perhaps, for playing directly under one of his idols.

“[He was] one of the leaders in the team the whole way through when I was a youngster,” James said of his head coach, listing both Lampard and John Terry as the players he looked up to growing up. 


He’s got a lot to teach you but it’s a lot different from when he played the game. Now he’s on the side trying to help you.”

Lampard has made a superb start to his career as Chelsea’s head coach, drafting in a number of youth team players desperate for the chance to represent their boyhood club, while he’s taken his team to a lofty third place (joint second on goal difference) after 12 games. The future is bright, and the club’s fans are supremely grateful for a chance to get behind their own.

James will continue fighting for his position as Chelsea’s first choice right back when Premier League action resumes after the international break, but he has certainly put himself in a strong position for regular selection moving forward. Continuing in his current vein will surely ensure his place in the Blues’ first team squad for many years to come.


Reece James was speaking to 90min at the launch event for Call of Duty: Modern Warfare. You can watch th?full video here.

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Alvaro Morata Reveals He Was the ‘Opposite of Happy’ During Difficult Chelsea Spell

?Alvaro Morata has lifted the lid on his struggles while playing for Chelsea, revealing that he was far from happy during his 2017/18 debut season with the Blues.

Following a promising start to his Chelsea career, Morata’s form tailed off and resulted in his omission from Spain’s 2018 World Cup squad – something that had a significant impact on his happiness and desire to play football.

Alvaro Morata

In an interview that will be aired on Spanish TV programme Jugones this Wednesday, as reported by AS, the striker revealed: “I didn’t feel like doing anything, leaving home, talking to people, nothing.”

He added: “The only thing I had in mind was going to the World Cup, playing and being happy … and in the end I was quite the opposite of happy.”

For Premier League viewers, Morata’s omission came as no surprise. After nine goals in ?Chelsea’s opening 15 Premier League fixtures following his July 2017 signing from Juventus, the Spaniard managed to hit the net just two further times across the remainder of the season.

Although the thought of retirement never crossed his mind, Morata did reveal his desire to escape the limelight and pressure. He added: “I did think about playing somewhere very far away, without pressure, without having to win every Sunday, without having to concentrate for matches.”

Alvaro Morata

A loan move to Atletico Madrid rejuvenated Morata and convinced Los Rojiblancos to part with a reported €56m to secure a permanent transfer. The player has more than repaid Diego Simeone’s faith in 2019/20 and heads into the latest international break with six goals in his previous six ?La Liga appearances. 

It’s this form that has many tipping Morata to lead the line in Spain’s final two Euro 2020 qualifying matches – a home double-header with Malta and Romania – which offer the perfect chance to seal his starting spot and put World Cup heartbreak behind him.

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Chelsea Star N’Golo Kante Opens Up on His Public Image in Candid Interview

?Chelsea midfielder N’Golo Kante has admitted that he does get annoyed, despite being portrayed as an innocent guy.

The France international is seen as one of football’s nicest and most professional men, but confessed that he is like football fans and can get angry at times.

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“I can, like everyone, get annoyed, accept or not accept certain things,” he said in an interview with L’Equipe, as quoted by ?Get French Football News. “I try to live life in the best way possible. Before I became a professional, I had a life like a quasi-majority of people. I loved football and footballers like a fan.”

?Kante enjoyed a quick rise to the top of world football after moving from Caen to ?Leicester in 2015, playing a significant role in helping the Foxes win the ?Premier League title.

However, Kante insists that he remembers what it’s like to not be famous, and simply wants to make people happy, before joking that he shies away from media opportunities.

N'Golo Kante

“Today, although people view me as a star, I know what it is like to be on the other side. And to make people happy, that’s always good,” he added. “I have always wanted to take pleasure in my life in football. 

“Even if it is also a job, it is the thing that I do that I feel most comfortable doing. Putting myself out there in the media or the public, I can do it at certain points. But I don’t like to do it too often.”

Kante joined ?Chelsea in 2016 after his astonishing year at the King Power Stadium, winning a second successive league title at Stamford Bridge as well as the PFA Players’ Player of the Year award.

N'Golo Kante

His incredible rise was capped off with winning the World Cup with France in 2018, before further improving under managers Maurizio Sarri and Frank Lampard and turning into a complete midfielder.

He’s been hampered by injuries this season, but the Blues haven’t suffered in his absence, and sit third in the Premier League heading into the November international break.

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