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Is the Double Within Reach: FA Cup Final Statistical Preview

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FA Cup Final Form Guide

Following an imperious Premier League season and title win, Chelsea now have the opportunity to claim a famous domestic double in Antonio Conte’s first season. So what does the form book say will happen at Wembley?

FA Cup Finals do, of course, have their own special atmosphere but a dig into Chelsea’s recent form, and that of their opponents Arsenal, gives some indication as to which corner of London the trophy could be heading to.

Psychologically Chelsea are buoyant after winning the league title at a canter, while Arsenal face up to the harsh reality of being without Champions League football for the first time in 20 years.

OVERALL FORM GUIDE

The Premier League title was wrapped-up by the time Chelsea put Sunderland to the sword on the final day of the season.

That win capped a six-game winning streak that followed defeat against Man United in April.

Arsenal pulled together a run of five wins at the end of the season but have laboured far more this campaign. Nine defeats and six draws overall as compared to Chelsea’s five defeats and three draws.

Chelsea’s FA Cup campaign has been taxing at times, with The Blues facing stubborn opposition in Man United and Spurs to reach Wembley this weekend.

By comparison The Gunner have had it easy, with only Man City presenting any real threat to their progression in a pulsating Semi-final encounter.

HEAD-TO-HEAD FORM GUIDE

Chelsea v Arsenal FA Cup Final Head to HeadArsenal’s decent finish to the season was built on a string of  strong defensive performances.

Switching to a back-three made the Gunners more sure-footed at the back and meant they conceded just nine goals and kept four clean sheets in the final ten EPL games.

Chelsea won one more game across those ten fixtures, but importantly outscored Arsenal by 11 goals.A goal per game ratio of nearly 3:1 is illustrated by strong offensive form averages that show Chelsea are far more lethal in front of goal than their London rivals.

While defensive form averages seems to marginally favour Arsenal, Chelsea have been a stronger defensive unit overall this season – shipping 11 fewer goals than The Gunners throughout the campaign.

FA Cup Final predictions

Both teams are likely to score based on previous data (56% probability) with Chelsea the favourites to win (56% probability).

Chelsea are more likely to score first (54% probability). And if the game doesn’t reach the end of normal time without a winner(1-1 is the most probable score line), three or more goals are likely to have been scored (56% probability) by the two sides.

Preview and football tips courtesy of KickOff

 

Five Munich Videos That Will Give Chelsea Fans Goosebumps

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Today marks five years since Chelsea became the only team in London with a European Cup!

As someone lucky enough to be in the ground it is possibly the greatest day of my life (apologies to the wife). To celebrate the anniversary we found five videos that everytime we watch them give us goosebumps and almost reduce us to tears.

  1. How We Got There

A look at the pain to get to Munich in the first place. Starting in Moscow in 2008, the controversies of 2009 against Barcelona. The disastrous period for Andre Villas Boas and the comeback against Napoli.

Then there is the miracle of the Nou Camp, which may or may not include a grown man having an orgasm over Fernando Torres.

2) The Day Of The Game

There were maybe 50,000 Chelsea fans and 1m Munich fans in the centre of the city before kick off. We were making plenty of noise

3) The Game

4) The video from the Bayern Munich end

5) Our view as Drogba took the winning penalty.

Ramires Goal v Barcelona Highlight Of Trophy Laden Spell At Chelsea

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Last year Ramires ended a six-year stay at Stamford Bridge to move to Jiangsu Suning in China having fallen out of favour at Chelsea.

Arriving in the summer of 2010, the Brazilian international gradually imposed himself with his strong running and tough tackling, scoring the club’s Goal of the Season in his first term. Ramires was a popular player for Chelsea amongst players and fans, he always worked hard and chipped in with the odd goal.

Ramires Record At Chelsea

He was a regular in the Chelsea side for multiple seasons and made 251 appearances for Chelsea, scoring 34 goals.

He won the Premier League, FA Cup, Champions League and Europa League as a Chelsea player, but if you ask about his crowning moment then it will be an against all odds victory in the Nou Camp that comes to mind.

We thought we would celebrate his trophy-laden career at Chelsea with a video of that Ramires goal v Barcelona that makes him immortal at Chelsea.

Ramires goal v Barcelona came as Chelsea had gone behind on the night, down to ten men and destined for defeat against a rampant Barcelona. Then in a moment, he turned the game on it’s head with a beautiful chip on a rare Chelsea counter attack set up by Frank Lampard.

Chelsea spent the entire second half clinging on, until the Torres breakaway goal with just moments left. Unfortunately despite scoring that Ramires goal v Barcelona he picked up a yellow card meaning he had to watch the miracle of Munich from the sidelines.

Ramires Goal v Barcelona

Here is the goal that will forever be etched into our minds when we think of Ramires, we wish him well in China. At 28 though we hope that he will find his way back to Europe and maybe even the Premier League in the future.

Chelsea Loanee Lewis Baker Goals & Skills 2016-2017

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Lewis Baker has been out on loan at our Dutch partner club Vitesse Arnhem for two seasons making quite an impression in Holland.

FFDTV have put together a video of Lewis Baker goals and skills as he comes to the end of his second season on loan. Based on the two videos Chelsea fans will be hoping that Antonio Conte will retain him for the 2017/2018 season.

A little about Lewis Baker

Baker has represented England at under-17, under-19 and England under-20 levels. 

In 2016, Baker was part of the England squad for the Toulon Tournament and scored the opening goal in the 2-1 victory over France in the final. He scored four goals during the tournament to win the Golden Boot.

If Baker can get some regular game time at Chelsea or on loan in the Premier League there are those that believe a full England call up is not far away.

Lewis Baker Goals 2016/2017

The video demonstrates Baker’s technical ability and scoring prowess as he converts chips, long range shots, half-volleys, free-kicks & penalties using both feet.

We would love for you to leave a comment and tell us what your favourite goal is.

Chelsea have an army of youth players out on loan at the moment but Baker is one that the Blues hierarchy have high hopes for. Jose Mourinho seemed convinced he was destined to become an England international.

Lewis Baker Skills 2016/2017

Baker has confirmed his time at Vitesse Arnhem has come to an end after two successful loan seasons at the club. He was recently included winning the Dutch Cup to secure a first major trophy in Vitesse’s history and ended with Baker scoring in his last game (the last goal in the above clip).

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Best Chelsea White Hart Lane Demolition Jobs

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Today marks the end of football at White Hart Lane demolition starting just hours after their game against Manchester United.

This is understandably an emotional day for Spurs fans, your home ground is a special place, hallowed ground where you watch your team through thick and thin. The stadium may be bricks and mortar but to fans, it is so much more.

With the changes to Stamford Bridge slowly getting closer, it may not be long until we undergo the same ritual at Stamford Bridge.

That does not mean that we cannot have a little bit of fun. As Spurs draw a curtain on White Hart Lane, we thought we would reflect on the positive experiences Chelsea fans have a

At 31 years old our memories of White Hart Lane have mainly been when Chelsea have had the ascendancy over Tottenham. Even in the early to mid 90’s when Tottenham were above Chelsea in the league, the Blues had our north London rivals number.

From 1990 we went 12 years without defeat against Spurs in any competition and sixteen in the league.

So with this in mind here are three games from the last 25 years that stick in our mind when thinking about Chelsea at White Hart Lane.

Best Chelsea White Hart Lane Demolition Jobs

Six one at the Lane 1997

We start with a classic from the 1996/1997 season where Chelsea went to White Hart Lane with Christian Gross in charge. This was a proper demolition job as we won 6-1 at the lane!

4-0 – 2002

In the 2002 FA Cup Quarter Final Chelsea thumped four nil in a commanding performance. Goals from William Gallas, Eidur Gudjohnsen (x2) and Graeme Le Saux giving the Chelsea fans in the away end plenty to celebrate.

4-2 Oct 2012

A game months after Chelsea had become the first team in London to lift the European Cup, it was a great opportunity to remind Spurs fans that this cost them a place in the Champions League.

Chelsea took the lead but goals from former Blue William Gallas and Jermain Defoe put Spurs ahead after 54 minutes.

Juan Mata roared back though scoring twice in 3 minutes to give Chelsea a 3-2 lead, in the final moments Sturridge secured the points to make it 4-2. Here is a low-quality video of the third goal by Juan Mata.

Mastermind Conte Has Taken Premier League by Storm

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After a terrible 10th place finish last season nobody thought that with three games remaining this year they would be able to say Chelsea look like winning the title this time around. The team needs just one win so it is likely Antonio Conte will lift the trophy.


“”Conte nuovo “allenatore” della Nazionale. È tutto oro quello che luccica?”” by Nazionale Calcio (CC BY 2.0)

Conte has done exceptionally well in his debut season in England and it’s obvious why. After Chelsea suffered consecutive defeats to Arsenal and Liverpool back in September Conte made the switch to a 3-4-3 formation. The tactics have proven to be very successful as Chelsea have lost three games from the 29 fixtures since those losses and are now favourites in Premier League winner odds.

The use of 3-4-3 has allowed players like Victor Moses to flourish. Conte brought Moses back into the squad and put him in a wing-back role, which lets Moses to play freely, he never has to defend too much and can focus on using his pace and strength going forward as a winger.

Moses is also able to attack so much thanks to the players behind him. Conte brought back David Luiz for his second stint with the club and many people a lot of people questioned the decision. He looked a liability at the back when he played in a formation with two centre backs, but with the 3-4-3 he can rely on other players for back-up.


“David Luiz” by Ronnie Macdonald (CC BY 2.0)

Luiz can thank Gary Cahill and Cesar Azpilicueta for helping him out at the back. The latter has been shifted from a right-back to a left-back and now from a left-back to a centre-back during his time at Chelsea. Conte has moved Azpilicueta into a central role and the Spaniard seems at home in the position, proving to be vital as he has played every game this season and pushed John Terry out of contention.

Conte has been a mastermind in the transfer market as well as the switch in tactics. Along with bringing Luiz back, Conte has strengthened his midfield and signed Premier League winner N’Golo Kante, who won this term’s PFA Player of the Year.

Kante made his mark on the Premier League last season with Leicester and continued his form this year. He has kept Fabregas out of the starting XI on a number of occasions. His intense running and brilliant reading of the game have been vital for Conte’s side.

Nobody can deny that Conte has been tactility brilliant, but not having to play in Europe has been massive. However, a lot of teams in the Premier League don’t play in Europe and still don’t manage to get near the top of the table – Conte has managed it because he has a consistent squad.

Conte has used the same starting eleven for almost every game, he has kept his squad small and played the best 11 players he possibly can every week. There’s been no need to rest players for mid-week games and that has given Conte’s selections for weekend fixtures the biggest chance of winning.

Should the Blues keep Fabregas?

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Cesc Fabregas has earned a reputation as one of the best playmakers in world football. Despite falling down the pecking order under Antonio Conte at Stamford Bridge this year, Chelsea’s recent 3-0 victory over Middlesbrough saw Fabregas become the first player to register 10 or more assists in six different seasons.

Every time he creates a goal, he is serendaded by Chelsea fans with the ‘Fabregas Is Magic’ chant. Having been handed something of a rare start, the Spain international took his tally for the year to 11, laying on Diego Costa’s 23rd minute opener before setting up Nemanja Matic just after the hour mark.

Now sitting second in the all-time Premier League assists charts on 106 assists, second only to Ryan Giggs, who has 162. Fabregas also cut the gap between himself and Manchester City’s Kevin De Bruyne, who leads the charts this season with 15. Considering his limited game time this season, the fact he is only four assists behind De Bruyne, who has started more than 30 league matches for City, highlights just how instrumental Fabregas continues to be when he is on the pitch.

While the likes of Diego Costa, now 16/1 to finish as the league’s top goalscorer for anyone looking to take advantage of a free bet before the end of the season, will be disappointed to see such a creative player leave the club – not everyone is convinced Fabregas should still be at the club next season. One of the higher earners in a squad containing a number of midfield options, and now on the wrong side of 30, Chelsea fans appear to want him to stay but it remains to be seen whether the club share their feelings.


Cesc Fàbregas / Цеск Фабрега” (CC BY-SA 2.0) by Aleksandr Osipov

Credentials

There aren’t many players in the Premier League who have achieved as much as Fabregas, both domestically and internationally. As well as lifting trophies at all three of his professional clubs, including the FA Cup with Arsenal, La Liga with Barcelona, the Premier League with Chelsea – oh, and the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. One consistent throughout his career has been the number of assists he is responsible for. Fabregas led the Premier League in 2007/08 for Arsenal with 17 assists, going better in 2014-15 when he notched up 18 assists in his first season with Chelsea.

via GIPHY

Season Struggles

In his first two seasons at Stamford Bridge following his move from Barcelona, Fabregas was a key member of Chelsea’s midfield, starting over 30 league games in both campaigns. Since Conte’s arrival last summer, though, the Spaniard has found game time increasingly hard to come by. While he hasn’t been helped by a month-long injury absence earlier in the year, Conte has overlooked Fabregas for much of the season in favour of Matic and N’Golo Kante. Now 30, the midfielder won’t be satisfied with another year as a bit-part player, and Fabregas’ future at Stamford Bridge is far from clear.

John Terry, Asmir Begović, Nemanja Mati” (CC BY-SA 2.0) by Aleksandr Osipov

Future Options

With such an established reputation in English football, it’s no surprise that a number of Premier League clubs are believed to be taking an interest in Fabregas. Realistically, only a handful of English clubs would be able to offer the midfielder the sort of contract he would command, of which a couple will be among those closely monitoring Fabregas’ situation. Jose Mourinho, who signed the Spain international in 2015 as Chelsea boss, could definitely do with a player like Fabregas at Manchester United, but it seems unlikely we would sell to a rival.  Liverpool are expected to be in the race to sign the playmaker if Chelsea

So it is possible Liverpool is an option as they are expected to be in the race to sign the playmaker if Chelsea do make him available.

So, should he stay or should he go?

If Fabregas was five years younger or simply happy to play a bit-part role, this would be a no brainer. At this stage of his career, though, and with midfielders being linked with summer moves to Stamford Bridge in the summer, Fabregas isn’t going to find game time any easier to come by next season. After admitting he hasn’t been happy with his lack of regular action this year, it doesn’t benefit anyone to have an unhappy player in the squad. If there is any way the club could convince Fabregas to stay, though, they really should. Players like Fabregas don’t come around very often, and replacing him would be a tough, if not impossible, job.

Chelsea v Crystal Palace – No Longer A Key Moment

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At the end of the football season, clubs go back at the games across the season and analyse the key moments where a momentum shift took place. These can include a late penalty, a shock win or a surprise loss, anything which can affect confidence, momentum or the table.

One of the potentially defining moments of the 2016/2017 title race was the Chelsea v Crystal Palace game. Crystal Palace who are sponsored by Mansion Group (who manage many other football teams and corporations like Casino.com), took a gamble in December by appointing former England manager Sam Allardyce.

His side were in trouble coming in to the game at Stamford Bridge.

The game was expected to be a simple Chelsea victory against struggling London rivals, but we got a shock to our system.

The defeat meant that the odds of a Spurs title victory came down significantly and a run of Tottenham victories really started to pile the pressure on.

Chelsea v Crystal Palace

Chelsea took an early lead through Cesc Fabregas but were stunned by goals from Christian Benteke and Wilfred Zaha after just ten minutes. These goals set a platform that a well drilled Sam Allardyce side were able to hold on to for a memorable victory. just minutes later

Victory over Middlesbrough means that we are just one win away from lifting the Premier League title. Things looked a little less certain just a few weeks ago after the Chelsea v Crystal Palace game when an expected procession became a battle.

A win that Crystal Palance badly needed, but that threw everything else wide open.

Chelsea then had high-pressure games against Manchester City at home and Manchester United and Everton away.

Defeat to Manchester United pulled things even closer but the wins over City and Everton closed what many assumed would be open doors for Tottenham to close the door.

Fortunately, we are unlikely to look back on this game as a chance missed. It would need a few colossally bad moments to prevent Antonio Conte’s side lifting the Premier League trophy.

Did “Spurs Bottling It’ Really Happen? – No Conte’s Team Earned The Title

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Spurs Bottling It

After Spurs lost to West Ham and we beat Middlesbrough to put the Premier League just one win away from our grasp there has been lots of laughing and taunting of Tottenham.

The hope is what kills you in football and after an impressive run, Spurs fans were full of hope before the start of the weekend.

Despite probably their best season in 50 years all they can claim from this season is the comfort of “putting the pressure on”

Spurs Bottling It

 

Spurs Bottling It Did Not Happen

However, the loss against West Ham is not evidence of “Spurs Bottling It”, one because they won 8 games in a row to create a title race.

They did not “lose” the Premier League in defeat to West Ham they did it by failing to gain enough points in the previous 34 games.

I will admit that after they cut the gap to four points with the FA Cup Semi-Final on the horizon there were some nerves starting to set in. Only after the reverse this weekend have we been able to relax.

The main complaint of the “Spurs Bottling It” claim is the suggestion that the Blues did not earn their position and it was handed to them.

This is not true, after losing to Arsenal in October, Chelsea went on to be the most consistent team in the league equalling the league record for consecutive victories.

Spurs may have ended that run and had one of their own, but they fell short due to the relenting success of the Conte machine.

Conte revolutionised the league with a new formation and approach to the game that others are still trying to adapt to and bring into their own games.

So whilst it is always time to laugh at Tottenham, let’s not call them bottlers, let’s just stick to calling them an inferior side that has never won the Premier League.

 

Chance For 29 Year Old Chelsea Relegation Play-Off Vengeance Against Middlesbrough

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Tonight Blues fans have a chance to get revenge for a Chelsea Relegation play-off defeat by Middlesbrough 29 years ago.

A victory tonight will see Chelsea move within one win of the Premier League title. It will also seal the fate of Middlesbrough, who will be relegated back to the Championship after a valiant season in the Premier League.

This will be a reverse of the impact of defeat 29 years ago that gives Chelsea a unique record. Chelsea are the only team in the history of the English top flight to be relegated via a promotion/relegation play-off.

To Chelsea fans old enough to remember the 80’s tonight’s the ability to relegate Middlesbrough may be the opportunity to get vengeance for 29-year-old scars.

In truth, most Chelsea fans will get little pleasure from but there will certainly be some at Stamford Bridge that will think back to how much things have changed.

Since this relegation Chelsea have only looked up, whereas Middlesbrough has had their share of ups and downs. Since this game, Chelsea have defeated Middlesbrough in two domestic cup final. Lifting the FA Cup in 1997 and the League Cup in 1998.

 

So how did the Chelsea relegation play-off relegation come to pass?

Chelsea Relegation Play-Off Story

In the 1987/1988 season, Chelsea finished 18th, one place above the automatic relegation places. However, for the first and only time in the history of the English Football League there was a promotion/relegation play-off.

The 18th positioned team in the top division entered a four-team playoff process with the teams that finished 3rd-5th in the division below.

Chelsea overcame fifth-placed Blackburn in a semi-final to set up a Final against tonight’s opponents Middlesbrough.

Middlesbrough had some household names of the 1990’s emerging in their team, including Gary Pallister, Colin Cooper and Tony Mowbray and completed a comeback fairytale having gone bankrupt just two years before.

The two-legged final was a bitterly fought scrap for survival with Chelsea losing in Middlesbrough 2-0 and only managing a 1-0 win at Stamford Bridge.

As it was the 80’s a mass brawl broke out