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Late Tottenham pressure will not derail the champions elect

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Slipping up against Crystal Palace created misplaced euphoria that Tottenham could catch us in the race for the Premier League title, and while the defeat was untimely, Chelsea still have the momentum and quality to see them over the line.

It would take a collapse of monumental proportion to stop us on our relentless pursuit of a title that would make amends for the absolute horror show of last season, with the team performing at the peak of their powers. Only a series of injuries to our best players could threaten to derail Chelsea, and even then you would back Antonio Conte to get whoever was left fit to play singing from the same hymn sheet and firing on all cylinders.

All that remains is for Chelsea to focus on themselves and keep winning in the remaining seven games of the campaign. Sound simple enough, especially for a team that has blown everyone away and lost only two of their last twenty-five league fixtures.

Bookmaker Ratings have already declared the title race as all but over, but Conte will not allow his players to lose focus and concentration, especially not at this stage of the season with destiny in our own hands.

Important win at Bournemouth

The sign of true champions is their ability to bounce back from adversity, and while the 2-1 win at the Bridge against Manchester City amidst all the questions that were being asked of Conte and the players was hugely important, putting in a superb performance at Bournemouth to win 3-1 proved our class. You have to take your hat off to Tottenham for keeping things interesting, but the champagne is already chilling nicely in ice buckets ready for us to toast our title success.

We answered all the questions that Bournemouth threw at us, particularly in the second half, to come away from the Vitality Stadium with a vital three points, and while the Cherries deserve credit for having a real go, we showed our true quality. Marcos Alonso’s superb free-kick typified a performance in which everything came together, with strong defending and the magic of Eden Hazard, Pedro et al came to the fore. Whether it has finally silenced those who started to get excited that the title race was back on remains to be seen.

We now move onwards to two home games which will provide contrasting tests, with struggling London rivals Crystal Palace and title-chasing Manchester City coming to the Bridge after the international break.

Focus is the key

Finishing the season with a flourish would be a fitting end to what has been a fantastic season for Chelsea, but if recent weeks are anything to go by, then teams will continue to up their game against us until the end of the season. Conte became accustomed to being in this situation during his time at Juventus where, despite being the best team in Serie A, they had to remain focused until they ended any mathematical chance of anyone catching them at the summit. His knowledge and experience will undoubtedly come into play during the final seven games, with Conte likely to keep the players’ feet firmly on the ground instead of let complacency set in and prevent them from feeling like the job is done.

Manchester United provide the first obstacles in our quest to finally put the title race to bed, with another encounter with Jose Mourinho likely to create firework at Old Trafford.

We would be more than delighted with a repeat of the 4-0 scoreline at the Bridge back in October when Chelsea tore them apart at will, but given they are currently on a twenty-one game unbeaten run (you would never have thought it given they have barely budged from sixth for what feels like an eternity), there is no question that they have to be respected. The Blues may be backed by punters who take part in the free competitions run by Bookmaker Ratings to win the game and take one big step towards the title, but Conte will know that the lads will have to be right up for it and prove, once again, why we would be worthy champions.

Conte has the luxury of picking from a fully fit squad, with everyone coming through the Bournemouth game unscathed and no suspensions to worry about to match. Mourinho, on the other hand, has a series of casualties to worry about as Manchester United’s injury problems show no sign of ending, with Ashley Young, Juan Mata, Phil Jones and Chris Smalling definitely ruled out of the clash at Old Trafford.

However, they may have Antonio Valencia, Wayne Rooney and David De Gea back fit, but if the latter of the three does not prove his fitness in time, you cannot help but feel that Chelsea have a wonderful opportunity to take all three points back to the Bridge.

Chelsea Keep Moving Forwards With Swansea Win

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After a disappointing draw against Burnley, a Swansea win was vital. It was important that Chelsea got a victory on return to Premier League action to keep the momentum going and stretch our lead at the top of the table. Despite playing at

Despite playing at 3pm on a Saturday (a rare treat) we were actually the first team in the top six to play during the weekend, with many of the chasing pack not in action due to clashes caused by the League Cup Final.

Tottenham were able to win, but the gap is now ten points and with each week we take a step closer to an amazing season, bouncing back from the shambles that we saw last season.

Expected Swansea Win Important

Given the nature of the opposition and that we were playing at home Antonio Conte chose a more attacking line-up. He replaced Nemanja Matic with Cesc Fabregas to give the team more creativity as we sought to break down Swansea.

This was an inspired decision as Fabregas ran the first half, he was everywhere and everytime he had the ball a goal seemed imminent. It was no surprise that he got the opener after some smart play.

The game itself was almost a perfect performance, a first half goal and dominance of possession and chances. The only wrinkle being a poorly defended set piece that saw the Welsh side get to half time level.

Fortunately, this did not have an impact on the game, in the second half the Blues pushed on and got the right result. Pedro and Costa continued their fine form and showed just how different form can be in the week that the Champions sacked their manager in what is now a worrying trend.

We now move onwards to two difficult away games, win both of those and there will be few doubting our title credentials.

Time For A Chelsea Frank Lampard Testimonial

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Frank Lampard Testimonial

With 211 goals and more than ten years experience, a Frank Lampard testimonial would be a fitting way to thank our record goalscorer and an icon of the most successful period in the club’s history.

Lampard left after not being given a new contract, he did not get a chance to make the emotional goodbye that others have had.

Even if we do sing his name during almost every game it is not quite the same.

At half-time of today’s game against Swansea, Lampard came on to say thank you for the fans having felt he did not have a chance to say goodbye.

This was a touching moment and our fans gave him an incredible reaction. Yet his accomplishments were so grand that anything short of seeing him with a Blue shirt on again during a Frank Lampard Testimonial against an iconic club feels like a letdown.

We like many Chelsea fans would like to have seen him pull on a Chelsea shirt one more time so why not let him do it.

Frank Lampard Testimonial or A Joint One?

Chelsea have been lucky to have had a spine of players that arrived just before or after Roman Abramovich bought the club that fired the club to glory. However, even those entitled to one that have left have not got one. If the club baulks at one for Lampard why not one for the players at the heart of Chelsea for nearly a decade.

If the club baulks at one for Lampard why not one for the players at the heart of Chelsea for nearly a decade.

A game to celebrate legends such as John Terry, Petr Cech, John Obi Mikel and of course Lampard, players that had a huge impact on the club winning trophies. It could be a game of nostalgia bringing back any players from that era that want to take part.

The purpose of a testimonial to raise money for a player in retirement has changed, but the sentiment attached has not, it is time that a Frank Lampard testimonial or similar was arranged.

We would be the first to try and buy tickets!

 

Chelsea China Investment – Fans Lucky To Have Roman

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Chelsea China Investment

Some sites have started talking about Chelsea China investment rumours and this has us worried.

Whilst these rumours are not particularly well sourced or likely to be accurate, it did get us thinking about how lucky we are to have Roman Abramovich as an owner rather than the procession of money or fame-obsessed clowns that have been running the show at other clubs up and down the country.

Roman Cares About Chelsea Like A Fan

Whilst relations with Roman have at times been strained he has willingly financed and kept the lights on at our club and brought silverware by the bucket load.

He may at times be impatient or do things that drive us a little bit crazy, sacking managers on a whim is frustrating. He has at times also angered fans, like when he tried to buy the CPO shares via nefarious means, but it is clear he cares about the club in a way that is more than cash

Chelsea China Investment A Huge Culture Change

When Roman Abramovich took over the club in 2003 everyone laughed at Chelsea and thought we were a toy that would be discarded. Since then the majority of English clubs in the Premier League are either part or fully owned by overseas investors, who often don’t have the commitment or pockets that Roman has had.

Manchester United have become a sinkhole for debt, Liverpool are only ever one result from an ownership protest, Arsenal can’t spend money on their actual team and clubs like Leeds and Blackburn have had foreign ownership drag them into obscurity.

When it comes to foreign ownership we hit the jackpot, Roman has invested money and driven us to glory, this is not something that I want to see change.

Other investors means other interests and ulterior motives to satisfy and that does not necessarily mean a recipe for success. Let’s hope that whatever the outcome even if Chelsea China investment happens that only those that care about the club own it.

Eden Hazard Scores A Goal For The Ages!

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Eden Hazard has been on fire this season and he scored an individual goal that will be remembered for the ages.

Some moments in key games are remembered for generations, whether it is Zola against Norwich, Lampard against Barcelona or Ivanovic against Liverpool there are some that are never forgotten.

Enjoy this piece of magic!

Costa Is Stupid, Selfish & Disloyal & Fans Should Love Him For It

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Chelsea winning 14 Premier League games in a row

Diego Costa is a selfish, disloyal and angry man and we should love it as it is what makes him so dangerous on the pitch.

It is this sense of entitlement and naivety that winds him up to go out and bully defenders, to take his opportunities and score goals.

These are things that will make Costa loved by fans but it comes with a downside. Every now and again he will either boil over or take bad advice and meltdown for a period of time.

This is exactly what has happened in the last two weeks.

Typically when this happens, things will be said, toys will be ejected from the pram, but let him calm down and then wind him back up again and send him into battle.

We Have Seen This Before With A Legend

Football fans have short memories, Didier Drogba spent the first five or six years at the club following the same cycle. It was not until he turned towards the end of his career that he mellowed.

Costa and Drogba have a lot in common both are beasts, they score goals and win games but have a temper that comes with it. Drogba is a legend of the club as we were able to keep him on the straight and narrow most of the time.

At key moments he looked like he was out the door, but at the critical moment he stayed.

Now there is no guarantee that Costa will continue to walk this fine line successfully, you get the impression he is not as intelligent as Drogba and is more susceptible to manipulation by his agent and other influencers.

For the time being, we should love him for his selfish attitude as if we can wind him up and put him into battle he will win us matches.

This is an odd statement for a blog that praised Mikel for the opposite when he departed, but it is those characteristics that make him great.

Diego Costa is not going to play for Chelsea for the rest of his career and even if he does it won’t be without incident or a bit of self-aggrandising whining from time to time

Let’s see how he does today.

 

Leicester Tunnel Cam – Manager Respect & Ranieri Puts Kante In Headlock

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Video Kante Ranieri Headlock

We are starting to see clubs put a camera in the tunnel for the duration of Premier League games and we love the footage. The Leicester v Chelsea 2017 tunnel cam actually had some insightful moments.

Normally we just see how most of the players in the Premier League seem to know each other and due to international and former club allegiances normally have a few friends on the opposition.

Here are three telling moments we found.

Ranieri & Conte Embrace

It was clear from seeing the two of them an hour before kick off that they have a deep respect for each other.

They met with a warm embrace and spent a few minutes chatting to each other and seemed genuinely happy to see each other and share each others companies.

This was no choreographed photo opportunity, we doubt that all managers share the level of respect they have after decades of doing battle on the sidelines.

Ranieri Gives Kante Grief

Seeing your former manager may be awkward as you go down the line to shake hands with the opposition coaching staff. However Ranieri soon got rid of that, playfully putting his former player in a headlock. It was a great piece of humour and shows the respect that Ranieri must still have for the player and his talents.

Marcus Alonso Drug Tested

At the end of every Premier League game, players from both sides are drug tested as standard practice. This game it was the turn of Marcus Alonso and after his performance it is no wonder why.

Don’t worry though this is routine, there is no suspicion that his performance was due to nothing but talent and hard work.

He turned the game with his outstanding performance and two goals. At a time when the league were looking for a wobble he helped the Blues answer their critics.

 

 

How Zouma Return Saves Conte Millions

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Before a knee injury ruled him out for almost a year Kurt Zouma was well on his way to establishing himself as a cult hero at Stamford Bridge.

After 11 months out he made his return against Peterborough United, starting and finishing what turned out to be an entertaining stroll for a rotated Chelsea squad.

Having Zouma back gives Antonio Conte a high-quality centre-back to compete with David Luiz, Gary Cahill, Cesar Azpilicueta and John Terry. Removing the need to dip into the January transfer window despite the ongoing rumours.

Before his injury Zouma looked set to push Gary Cahill out of the starting line-up or Stamford Bridge altogether, however the heart of the Chelsea defence has changed almost beyond recognition during his time on the sidelines.

Antonio Conte now plays three in the centre of defence giving more opportunities within the line up. However now he must compete with the return of David Luiz and the movement of Cesar Azpilicueta into the central defensive trio.

Will Zouma Get In The Chelsea Team?

Chelsea have gone on a great run with a defence of Cahill, Luiz and Azipilcueta and it will be tough to break that partnership.

Competition for places will be fierce, but with time I am backing the Frenchman to oust Gary Cahill and consign John Terry to retirement. This may sound like a negative but it gives the Blues perfect succession planning. Replacing Terry was never going to be easy but it looks like we have the foundations set.

This may sound like a negative but it gives the Blues perfect succession planning. Replacing Terry was never going to be easy but it looks like we have the foundations set.

The return of Zouma is more than a boost to the current squad but also to the clubs balance sheet. After a cash windfall from selling Oscar a defender was rumoured to be high on the list.

His return means this can be postponed to the summer at the earliest when prices will be more reasonable and the Blues can take their time to identify the right target. So it is safe to assume that the return of Zouma may have saved the club millions in the short term.

Nathan Ake Loan Recall Like A New Signing

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The club announced the Nathan Ake loan recall prior to the FA Cup match against Peterborough, giving the clubs more options on the flanks and in defensive midfield.

With rumours that the Blues needed more options defensively and departure of John Obi Mikel the Nathan Ake loan recall is a welcome move to provide more squad depth without breaking the bank.

Antonio Conte has lived up to his promise to promote from within rather than reinvest the funds that the sale of Oscar have generated.

Ake was due to spend the whole season on loan at Bournemouth, however he has shown himself to be ready to play at the highest level with some barnstorming performances for the Cherries.

Although seen by many as a centre back or defensive midfielder during his development, he was utilised as a left back. This gives Chelsea experienced cover at left back for Marcus Alonso. With Moses and Ivanovic for the

This gives Chelsea experienced cover at left back for Marcus Alonso. With Moses and Ivanovic for the right this gives a proper balance to the defensive cover with Cesar Azpilicueta playing in a back three.

Hopefully his recall is a signal that Conte will intend to give him meaningful game time, allowing Alonso to be rested from time to time.

Nathan Ake Loan Recall Like New Signing

Ake will return to the first team squad having already made 12 appearances for the Blues since signing in 2011.

His excellent form and Premier League experience will make him feel like a new signing to Chelsea fans. Having only made cameos between 2012 and 2015 with most of that time being spent on loan at Reading, Watford and Bournemouth.

We look forward to welcoming Ake back and hope that he will be a huge success as a permanent member of the Chelsea first team.

 

John Obi Mikel Chelsea Legend – Do You Agree?

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John Obi Mikel Chelsea Legend - do you agree?

One of Chelsea’s longest serving players of the modern era has left after 10 and a half years, he may have been marmite to some but his attitude and what he achieved makes “John Obi Mikel Chelsea Legend” the only way to describe the Nigerian captain.

John Obi Mikel was one of the most frustrating players, he gave us all heart attacks with his questionable control and passing at times. Yet he was at many times exactly what Chelsea needed, a loyal workhorse that did not complain and got on with his job. His period at the club will go down as one of the most exciting, turbulent and successful periods in the clubs history.

Signed as an attacking player he quickly settled into the role of defensive midfielder, scoring just six goals in 372 appearances. Fans would with kind hearted irony scream “Shooooooot!” whenever he had the ball inside the opposition half.

John Obi Mikel Chelsea Legend

Let’s not pretend all was rosy during his career. Mikel arrived under a cloud and was not the most popular player at Stamford Bridge because of his propensity for passing sideways and losing possession.

At times his selection or appearance from the bench would bring groans.

Deep down though Chelsea fans appreciated him. When he was out of the side for long periods he would just knuckle down and do his bit for the team. Whether he started or came on as an 89th-minute substitute he gave everything for the shirt.

He was often the standout player when things were not going well on the pitch. He put in a string of man of the match performances last season. With the fans singing his name on a consistent basis for the first time during his time at the club.

Mikel outlasted Jose Mourinho (TWICE), Avram Grant, Felipe Scolari, Carlo Ancelotti, Guus Hiddink (Twice), Andre Villas Boas, the fat Spanish Waiter and Roberto Di Matteo.

He won well everything the Premier League, FA Cup, Charity Shield League Cup, Europa League and of Course Big Ears! I will never forget him chasing Arjen Robben around the pitch as he waited to take a penalty in extra time

“Petr Cech knows where you are going to kick it”.

The arrival of Antonio Conte and a late return due to the Olympics (where Mikel shone on and off the pitch) saw him disappear down the pecking order. Now is the right time but I am sorry to see him go

John Obi Mikel Legacy

John Obi Mikel Chelsea Legend is all I have to say about his legacy. He may have split opinions but with 372 appearances, countless trophies and a positive attitude he has written his name in the annals of history.

This day had to come but I am gutted that it has, the man even left with class!