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The Odds of It Being Chelsea’s Year

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Sarriball Shed Upper Stamford Bridge

It may be early in the season still, but the Blues have come out with something special this year — an attacking mindset, a cohesive team, and a star player in possibly the form of his life in Eden Hazard.

All that adds up to create something that should be capable of beating any club they come up against. And, though it may not mean much yet, Chelsea now find themselves at the top of the league with favourites Manchester City, and last year’s winner Liverpool, after those teams met in a drab match last weekend that culminated in a draw.

Chelsea, on the other hand, put three unanswered goals past Southampton with a fantastic performance, and they just seem to be getting better and better as each match goes by. It’s surprising looking at premiership predictions from Betfair in light of all this.

While Chelsea’s odds to win outright aren’t bad (15/2), Man City and Liverpool have both been given much shorter odds, with 4/6 and 5/2, respectively.

But of course, odds aren’t everything and Chelsea will be looking back at their performance against Southampton with a lot of confidence and much to be happy about.

Perhaps the thing they can be most pleased about was the performance of Ross Barkley in the midfield, which won him high praise from the head coach Maurizio Sarri.

Not only did he set up The Blues’ first goal, beautifully put away by danger man Hazard, he also went on to score himself, becoming the first English Chelsea player to do so in the Premier League since a certain Frank Lampard did the same way back in December 2013.

Barkley’s performance prompted Sarri to say that the player will be an extremely significant asset to the England side. Hopefully, he’s right.

But in the meantime, Chelsea have so much more to be happy about. They’ll look forward to hosting the out of form Manchester United on October 20 and will be looking to repeat their performance against Southampton.

The only thing they may not want to emulate from that performance was a few defensive errors. There were times where they did not look as solid at the back as they should have been and they were lucky to watch a poor Danny Ings effort sail over the crossbar.

Equally, goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga showed some real promise, picking up the pieces and seems like the kind of player Chelsea will be able to rely on to get them out of sticky situations in the future.

Ultimately, it probably is too early to speculate as to whether Chelsea can win the league this year. What we can say though, is that they’ve shown great promise at the start of the season and their attacking play is both exciting and clinical.

Judging by their start, it shouldn’t be too much of a stretch to expect the boys in blue to fetch a top-four finish. Either way, what a season we have in store with three undefeated teams at the top of the table and a lot of talent on display at Stamford Bridge.

Five Reasons Chelsea Can Mount A 2018/2019 Title Challenge

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Top of the table after eight games, fans and pundits still don’t think Chelsea will  challenge for the title this season, results, and style suggest it is time to change that thinking.

The season may still be young but there is a level of optimism about everything Chelsea at the moment.

The results speak for themselves; 8 games, 6 wins and two draws. A run that has seen the Blues beat Arsenal and come close to defeating an otherwise rampant Liverpool.

Before the season began the Premier League best predictions were that Manchester City and Liverpool would go toe to toe fo the title with Chelsea, Manchester United, Arsenal and Tottenham battling it out for the other two Champions League spots.

Liverpool and Manchester City have met this expectation so far with both clubs sharing the lead at the top with the Blues on 20 points apiece. Manchester United have struggled under Mourinho, whilst Tottenham and Arsenal sit just two points behind the league leaders.

Sarri has so far continued to dismiss the prospect of a Chelsea title challenge but there are plenty of reasons to be optimistic.

New Signings Have Blended Into The Team

Sarri may have arrived late to Cobham after the World Cup, but he has been given a few talented new players to work with and they have hit the ground running.

Kepa Arrizabalaga has made Thibaut Courtois a long lost memory, Jorginho is making the midfield sing and Kovacic looks like an incredible player considering he is on loan as a makeweight in the Thibaut Courtois sale to Real Madrid.

The Style Of Football Is Sexy

Chelsea have not played with such an attacking style of football in over a decade. Against Southampton there were 31 passes across both sides of the pitch before Alvaro Morata was played in to score the third goal.

The Blues look solid on the ball and have so far provided goals to match the slick passing and fancy flicks, fans are excited and it translates to results.

Eden Hazard Is On Fire

Despite his attention being slighty turned by Real Madrid, Eden Hazard has taken his game to the next level since returning from the World Cup. He has scored 10 goals across all competitions and been the match winner on multiple occasions.

His opening goal against Cardiff was magnificent and he seems to be on a one-man crusade to score the goal of the month every time he steps onto the field of play.

Squad Depth

Chelsea have one of the strongest squads for a Premier League season since the Mourinho era with depth in every position.

In goal Callabero, Green and Bulka sit basking in the talent of Kepa, in defence Gary Cahill and Andreas Christensen are warming the bench behind Rudiger and Luiz.

In midfield there is an embarrassment of riches with Kante, Jorginho, Barkley, Loftus-Cheek, Pedro, Willian, Drinkwater, Kovacic and Hazard all able to be rotated and rested as required.

A key development has been the fitness and emergence of Ross Barkley who is being tipped for great things by Eden Hazard. His form has seen him return to the England squad and onto the scoresheet against Southampton.

Up front we have a £57m striker just finding his feet after a rough couple of months who is being pushed all the way by Olivier Giroud who offers a different kind of tactical option for Sarri to unleash from the bench.

Lack Of Champions League Football

FA Cup or Champions League

Already in the Europa League we have seen key names like Kante and Hazard rested or even left at home when traveling across the continent for games.

With advancement to the knockout stages with games to spare extremely likely the squad is likely to be well rested heading into crunch games over Christmas.

The squad depth is matched by a lack of Champions League football which means that despite the number of games Sarri is going to be more empowered to rotate the squad.

Sarriball Most Attacking, Free Flowing Style Since Ancelotti?

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Sarriball Shed Upper Stamford Bridge

Chelsea have started the Premier League season with five wins on the bounce as Sarriball takes hold. With Eden Hazard firing on all cylinders and a midfield that clicks Blues fans are being treated to an attacking football masterclass.

Is it one that makes it the most exciting teams the Blues have had for almost a decade.

Cardiff, Huddersfield and Newcastle have all tried to upset the expert weekend accumulator tips and bust a few coupons with defensive teams and tactics that have taken time to break down.

Chelsea are managing to break down even the most defensive of opposition tactics through sheer weight of passing and being able to change gears and add a touch of class at just the right moment.

When early goals have not come, they have stuck to their task, probing and passing their way to create chances and puncture the opposition with sheer weight of effort.

Sarriball means Jorginho is having more touches of the ball than the entire outfield unit of opposing teams as the Blues recycle the ball and probe defences. When the time is right Hazard, Pedro, Giroud and even Morata have been there to add a sprinkle of class to make the difference.

Sarriball dominates  Dominate & Add Attacking Excitement

Against Cardiff Chelsea played with a zip and intricate passing that had Cardiff on the back foot the entire game.

The Blues have stood up to the tests ahead of them and top the table on goal difference. A stat that shows just how prolific the Blues have been despite conceding against Newcastle and Cardiff.

Whilst defensively there are questions to answer it was an incredibly enjoyable site to see the Blues building attack after attack in a game where they could have scored 7 or 8.

We were watching from the Shed End and even though the Blues went behind they produced an almost instant response and were deservedly ahead before the break with the equaliser a showcase of the attacking flair and movement we currently possess.

The last time Chelsea were such a consistent threat was under Carlo Ancelotti in 2009/2010 season when the team scored 103 goals on the way to a historic league and cup double.

This team has potential, but it has not yet been properly tested. The true challenge will come when autumn turns to winter and the Blues travel to sides with no intention to give Chelsea space to attack into.

There may not be Nicolas Anelka and Didier Drogba tearing up defences and scoring goals this time around, but Eden Hazard looks like he might take a stratospheric jump and place himself at the pinnacle of Europe’s elite.

Sarriball looks like an exciting experiment.

Video of Loanee Mason Mount’s Goal In Lampard’s Managerial Debut Win

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Frank Lampard’s Derby kicked off the start of the Championship season against Derby and it was Chelsea loanee, Mason Mount who struck the first blow for the Rams who scored a late, late winner.

Mount played the whole 90 minutes of his Derby debut and looked solid throughout, his strike got the Rams up and running after they fell behind to a Bodvarsson goal.

This helped set up a stunning stoppage-time winner, to give Lampard a winning start to his managerial career.

Lampard’s first competitive game as a manager was against a manager he will know well from his playing day’s. Former Chelsea assistant manager Paul Clement was in the dugout falling victim to a bit of a smash and grab raid from the Rams.

Derby loanee Mount is a talented member of the Chelsea academy. It is no surprise that Lampard wanted to take the attacking midfielder who has been likened to the Blues legend with him to Pride Park (or whatever they call it now).

He had this to say about his debut

Yeah, the manager has put a lot of faith in, we got our rewards for keeping going. It is unbelievable to score on debut, this (Derby) is a great club.

Mount has yet to play for the Chelsea first team, however, he has been part of the all-conquering FA Youth Cup teams over the years. A year in the Championship could be a good building block for a future career at Stamford Bridge or somewhere else at the top of the game.

The season has literally only just started, but it is an exciting highlight of the opening weekend.

With his time at Chelsea and Gianfranco Zola the new assistant manager, I think we can look forward to more than a few Blues youngsters getting the opportunity to shine in the Championship at Derby.

Best of luck to Mason Mount, Frank Lampard and Paul Clement for the season ahead.

Fantasy Football Can You Beat Your Man Utd, Liverpool, Man City, Arsenal & Spurs Mates?

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Fantasy Football is one of the best things about pre-season as fans get to pore through the new signings to pick their team for the year ahead. 

Unlike our childhood most games are now free to enter and are a great way to prove to your mates that you know the game better than they do!

It is great to beat your mates, particularly if they support a different team. Although it can be conflicting when you have Harry Kane in your fantasy team and you almost fist pump when he scores to boost your points total.

This year we have partnered with Fansbet to offer a FREE fantasy football game. There is a top prize of £20k and it is free to enter – http://bit.ly/2M3m6yl

 

Should Chelsea Sell Gary Cahill?

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Having won every conceivable trophy since arriving at the club and being our captain, Gary Cahill is a hero to many Chelsea fans.

Unfortunately, as time moves on his credentials as a top-level Premier League central defender are being severely tested. He did not have his best season in Blue last time out and lost his place to Rudiger in the New Year and only got back into the frame at the back end of the season.

If Chelsea sign Danielle Rugani then the writing would really be on the wall for Cahill. He is already going to be competing against Kurt Zouma, Rudiger, David Luiz, Cesar Azpilicueta, Andreas Christensen and even younger guns such as Ethan Ampadu.

Why Should Cahill Stay

The argument for keeping Cahill is simply his previous record and the influence he can have on a team in transition. He will undoubtedly add something to the dressing room but may struggle to get game time.

The real question is can he rally and get back into a position as a first choice centre-back?

If he can then he should definitely stay and remain as captain in the Sarri ball era.

However if not then it might be time for Cahill and the club to look at other options as he deserves to be allowed to leave the club with dignity and plot the path for the rest of his career.

Where Would He Go

Cahill is at an odd point of his career.

At 32 he is too young to be put out to pasture and could still do a role in a Premier League club and is not ready for his MLS or Chinese payday.

He could walk into any Premier League defence outside of the top six or he could go abroad, hopefully the decision to stay or go is in his hands.

3 Types of Chelsea Loanee – 2018/2019 Season

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The forgotten Chelsea loan army is gearing up for battle across Europe and beyond for the 2018/2019.  

Chelsea loanees come in three different categories

  1. Youth prospects with a shot getting experience
  2. Young players with no chance of making it at Chelsea preparing for their next step
  3. Random signings that are now loaned out until their contract expires

These players range from the wonderkids to the future journeyman playing for clubs at the highest level to the lower echelons of European league football and everything in between.

Youth Prospects Getting Loanee Experience

The players going out on loan that have a realistic shot at the first team is a smaller group than you would think. Whilst every player at Chelsea hopes they have a shot, the reality is only a few will ever get a sniff of the first team.

There are a few players already out on loan in this category such as Dujon Sterling and Trevor Chalobah.

They may be joined by others who are currently playing in pre-season such as Callum Hudson-Odoi or Ethan Ampadu, depending on how ready Maurizo Sarri feels they are for the first time.

Young Players Preparing For The Next Step

There are many young talented players at Chelsea who realistically never make it. They are now entering their early to mid-twenties and the club has not shown any hint that they are on the edge of the first team.

They may have had a shot at some point in the past, but slowly the reality of a career outside Chelsea is coming into focus.

Loans for these players are more about preparing them for life outside Cobham than developing them for the first team.

Players that fit this category could include Tomas Kalas, Jhoao Rodriguez, Lucas Piazon Danilo Pantic and Victorien Angban.

Random Signings That Didn’t Pan Out

Chelsea have developed a weird habit of buying players that it seems were next intended to play for Chelsea.

The players arrive and they are shipped out on loan almost immediately and often get no closer to the first team than the fans on the front row at Stamford Bridge.

Recent examples include Papy Djilobodji, Michael Hector and Matt Miazga.

Who knows you may see one of these types of players in a European league near you soon.

Highlights Of Chelsea v Inter Milan Pre-Season Friendly

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Chelsea played their second pre-season fixture against Inter Milan in the International Champions Cup at the Allianz Riviera in Nice.

The Blues started the game well and squeaked to victory on penalties.

Top performances were again delivered by our top two youth prospects Ethan Ampadu and Callum Hudson Odoi.

Time For Chelsea To Act In The Transfer Market!

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The season is almost here and despite a poor season and a new manager Chelsea have not gone crazy in the transfer market and time is running out. 

The transfer window closes at the start of the season for the first time meaning there are less than two weeks before the window closes.

The club are bound to be targeting some signings but the time to act is NOW if we are to get the players we want at the right price!

The appointment of Maurizio Sarri has seen Jorginho arrive with him from Napoli, however, the only other reinforcement is veteran Robert Green who joins as a homegrown third choice goalkeeper for registration purposes.

Realistically Chelsea should have decided if Thibaut Courtois, Willian and Eden Hazard will be allowed to leave the club by now. If they have we should be signing replacements before the ink is dry to avoid any deadline day panics.

If that is going to happen we need to ACT NOW before it is too late to identify, negotiate and complete the signing of appropriate replacements.

Positions Where Chelsea Must Act!

Regardless of departures Chelsea realistically need to sign a defender and striker to improve upon the line up from last season.

Defensively we have been linked to Rugani and a host of others, whereas up front we have been linked with every European striker going without much progress.

Without direction for quite some time, it will be interesting to see who Sarri and the board are targeting. There is bound to be some activity but it is unclear who the club will be going after and why.

Let’s hope that they are ahead of where we think we are and on the verge of the signings Sarri and Zola will need to get Chelsea back into contention next season.

Video of Every Jorginho Touch on Chelsea Debut v Perth Glory

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Chelsea got more than a manager when Maurizo Sarri arrived from Napoli. He brought with him the highly rated Jorginho.

Here is a video of his debut thousands of miles away from his new home in Australia. It covers pretty much every touch he made in this low-key promotional friendly debut.

A few decent touches will be good to see how he develops to the English game once that new club smell wears off.

Check out his performance