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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!

Why Spurs Ending Chelsea Record Run Will Mean Nothing In May

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Chelsea record run

Losing to Spurs is a rare occurrence and do to so last night was painful as we saw the Chelsea record run come to an end.

We played well against Spurs and the game was evenly matched however the North London club took their chances and we didn’t.

There were no controversial moments, no dodgy decisions the game was decided by football and Spurs came out on top.

A quick moment to appreciate the difference last night which was Dele Alli, he is having a great run and unfortunately he continued that with a solid performance and two outstanding headers.

He is a talent that is going to burn brightly in the Premier League and whilst annoying that he plays for Spurs, it is good to see young English talent making a mark.

The Spurs fans I know have been giving us a hard time this morning and crowing over their victory.  They deserve to do so, let’s just hope that London is Blue when we get to the business end of the season.

Chelsea Record Run Reality Check

Last night was sobering but when reality bites we can reflect on an incredible run that included victory over Spurs in November.

The record-equalling run was ended but Chelsea are still 5 points clear at the Premier League. Antonio Conte has built a platform for Chelsea to exceed expectations and build a team over the next 18 months.

We already have strong foundations and more time under the new manager is bound to see further improvement.

What Next

Momentum is important in football, but our next Premier League game is 10 days away as the FA Cup takes over.

Rotate the squad and beat Peterborough and the winning mindset can easily be maintained. Challenges are never far away in the Premier League but we have proven we have the skills to overcome them.

So if any Spurs fans are reading this, please enjoy the moment you beat us fair and square. Remember though that only what happens in May counts and hopefully, the table will look the same as it does now.

Beating Spurs More Important Than Chelsea Winning 14 Premier League Games In A Row

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Chelsea winning 14 Premier League games in a row

We will find out tomorrow if Chelsea winning 14 Premier League games in a row will become a reality. It would be an incredible record, but let’s stay focused. The most important thing is that victory would put Chelsea 8 points clear at the top of the table.

Whilst the record of Chelsea winning 14 Premier League games in a row would be nice the points are more important.

If we win then we will stride further away from the back, but if we lose there will be four teams almost within touching distance.

Confident Of Getting A Result?

Given our form it is possible to be over-confident, winning has become a habit after all. If we play the way we have been recently we have a huge chance of getting the points.

However, the game is far from a foregone conclusion, Spurs are playing decent football at the moment and getting the right result will be a real challenge.

All of our core of players will be available and Antonio Conte will have the choice between Nemanja Matic and Cesc Fabregas. Playing away from home the logic is that Matic will get the nod, however I trust Conte’s judgement either way.

Tottenham Fans Looking For Revenge

Tottenham fans are getting quite excited about the opportunity to end our run and get revenge for last season.

That is one narrative although I will be hoping Blues fans will be crowing breaking the record against a rival.  I am sure that whoever wins will go to great lengths to remind their rivals for years to come.

The record is not the most important thing, it certainly would be sweet to go 8 points clear and break a Premier League record in the process.

Whatever happens tomorrow Chelsea will hold the record for most consecutive Premier League wins, it would be better not to share the honour with Arsenal though.

Why Chelsea Should Pretend The Transfer Window Is Still Closed

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David Luiz Chelsea transfer deadline day highlight

We are now in January which means that we are now in transfer silly season with the tabloids and online transfer rumour sites going into overdrive.

The latest example of this was Chelsea being linked to Arturo Vidal simply because he liked an Instagram post featuring his former manager. The fact that his former manager is Antonio Conte does not mean that he is destined to become a Blue.

Admittedly one outrageous Chelsea transfer has been confirmed as Oscar heads to China for all the money (and maybe some of the tea). This windfall for a player who was not even getting into the Chelsea team has raised the prospect of a transfer war-chest this January.

Conte and the Chelsea board should leave things until the Summer and not look to buy or sell anyone in the core of the first team.

The Team Is Settled

Chelsea have used the fewest number of players in the Premier League so far this season highlighting how balanced our starting line up is now that we have moved to a 4-3-3 formation.

Bringing in new players could upset the harmony in the dressing room and the balance of the side. Whilst Michy Batshuayi could go out on loan, I would want an existing member of the Chelsea squad to be recalled from loan to replace him.

The Team Is Winning

We are currently top of the table having equalled the record for most consecutive victories in Premier League history. It would be foolish to risk this by buying or selling any of the players that have put the Blues in that position.

Transfer Fees Are Crazy In January

Nobody likes selling players in January so they are rarely priced at their true value. Chelsea have been burnt by this in the past, most notably when buying Fernando Torres.  it makes no sense to

Instead we should try and sit January out and let others make transfer mistakes as they look to play catch up.

5 Non-Football Changes At Stamford Bridge In 2017

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A look at Stamford Bridge in 2017

There is a happier vibe at Stamford Bridge in 2017 than there was at the start of 2016.

Whilst Antonio Conte gets on with making magic happen on the pitch, here are some things we would like to see at Stamford Bridge from a fan perspective.

Replace Singha

The beer of choice at Stamford Bridge in 2017 is Singha.

Beer and football go hand in hand but unfortunately Singha does not qualify as a football beer. It might be great for a curry but on match day it is far too fizzy and sweet to drink in only 5 or so minutes you get to drink it.

Singha paid a princely fee to be sponsors but with the deal set to expire this year, it would be great if we could find a better partner.

Faster Entry Into The Matthew Harding

The Matthew Harding stand at Stamford Bridge is a great place to watch football, but with kick-off approaching it takes far too long to get in the ground. Sure you can get there earlier but queuing is far from fun.

It would be great to make getting into the Matthew Harding faster so fans get more drinking time and there is less stress before the game.

Pay For Food/Drinks With Your Season Ticket

Paying for food and drink using pre-loaded cards is a pain when you only visit the stadium once (Amsterdam and Munich come to mind). However, with huge queues before kick-off and at half-time a system of payment that is faster than cash should be welcomed.

Contactless is a good start but being able to pay using our membership or season tickets could be a great way of speeding things up and reducing the hassle at half-time.

Making A Real Effort To Tackle Touting

Chelsea make a token effort at tackling touts and fake websites. Yet they are as popular and successful now as they have ever been.

Touts are everywhere on match days. We overheard a ticket being sold for £370 for the Spurs match outside Fulham Broadway shopping centre.

We need to find more ways to deter touts online and around the ground to keep tickets at face value for as many fans as possible.

The Shed End Back

Chelsea fans have had to share the iconic Shed End with away fans for over a decade now, it would be great to find a way to change this. Whilst having the away fans close can stoke the atmosphere it’s annoying during cup games when the entire stand is surrendered.

If not for next season, the ground redevelopment should bare this in mind when submitting and finalising plans.

 

Chelsea Failure To Qualify Champions League Is Firing Title Challenge

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Chelsea failure to qualify champions league

The Chelsea failure to qualify Champions League football would be a good thing, but so far there have been plenty of positives to not playing in the elite European competition.

Being out of the Champions League is like a bonus code for videoslots.com been a blessing in disguise and we look like the champions we were in the 2014/2015 season once again.

Liverpool showed the value of playing fewer games than your rivals in 2013/2014 when the Scousers were only a Steven Gerrard slip and Demba Ba finish away from winning their first Premier League title.

It is too early to dream of the title too much, but it certainly looks like we are going to be in the hunt.

Benefit of Chelsea Failure To Qualify Champions League

Playing just once a week has given the players longer to rest and left our team sharp, this is having a huge impact on the results on the pitch. We are not having to get key players like Costa and Hazard through two games per week meaning they are fresh and producing results on the pitch.

We are not having to get key players like Costa and Hazard through two games per week meaning they are fresh and producing results on the pitch.

From a personal perspective, it has made this season more affordable, less games means less cost. Although I would gladly pay to see the Blues than sit at home whilst our rivals play for the trophy with the big ears.

Chelsea failure to qualify Champions League Painful

Watching the other teams in the Champions League has been painful, even if we have enjoyed watching Spurs crash and burn. It has been great to see Leicester prove doubters wrong (again) and progress to the next round. Manchester City and Arsenal have taken care of business.

These two minor bright points do not mask the fact that it is painful to see other British teams in the Champions League without Chelsea. It may be a false sense of entitlement but it is where I think/hope we belong.

The novelty of having a full week to play has been tolerable for one season, but the thought of being cast aside for more is unbearable. It is unlikely that key players like Diego Costa and Eden Hazard will even entertain the prospect

Thankfully the early indications are that Antonio Conte has us in a great position to finish comfortably within the top four.

Analysing The Conte Effect As Footballing Masterclass Continues

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Smart Bets graphic on Conte effect

Life is pretty good as a Chelsea fan at the moment as the Conte effect takes hold. Our traditional rivals have been stumbling and we top the table, something that seemed like a distant pipedream only a couple of months ago.

Since Antonio Conte switched to 3-4-3, Chelsea have seen vast improvements on the pitch, according to research carried out by SmartBets, the customisable odds comparison site powered by bettingexpert.com

This data may go back to the 18th of November but the victories over Tottenham and Manchester City have been anchored in the change in system by Antonio Conte and the passion of the team to carry it through.

The games against Spurs and Man City also saw the Blues show the character and desire to win that they have. Chelsea went a goal down in each of these games but powered back to take the game away from their rivals.

The Conte Effect

Smart Bets graphic on Conte effect

These stats show what we have seen on the pitch in stat form, we are stronger going forward and tighter defensively. Combine the two and you get a team that is hard to beat

Chelsea are down to an average of 52.6% in the possession statistics, but this shows that Conte’s side are doing more with the ball when they have it. Pass succession is up to 83.2% from 81% and their unpredictability is proving hard to handle.

The inclusion on wing-backs Victor Moses and Marcos Alonso allows Eden Hazard more freedom and Chelsea have completed an average of 15.1 dribbles per game using the new formation, which is the second highest in the Premier League.

An average of 66.2 direct balls per game is already higher than the 62.5 accumulated during the start of the season and the Blues are topping the table in most goals from open play.

Conte has brought defensive solidity to Stamford Bridge with his side conceding just 8.4 shots per game, compared to last season’s 12.7.  They’re also averaging 21.8 tackles and 17.2 important interceptions since reverting to 3-4-3 – which is considerably higher than last season and the first six matches.

Long live the Conte effect