Credit Bristol Rovers For Pulsating EFL Cup Tie

Credit Bristol Rpvers in the EFL Cup For close game against Chelsea
Credit @FernhillOldBoy on Twitter

Credit Bristol Rovers the League One side that pushed a reasonably strong Chelsea side to the edge.

Coming from 2-0 down to trail just 3-2 going into the last 30 minutes they gave Chelsea’s back-up players a real run for their money. Forcing Antonio Conte to bring on the big guns to secure the result.

Why Credit Bristol Rovers

It can be easy to patronise Football League teams when they bow out against Premier League opposition with flowery language about a ‘brave battle’. This time though that is not the case when we credit Bristol City for a cracking game.

They showed they have a good side and we hope that they will go on to have a positive season.

This was a cup tie that had it all for Chelsea fans, neutrals and the 4,000 travelling Bristol Rovers fans that made the long trip to London.

Playing Youth & A Competitive Game

The finish may have been uncomfortable but with Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Ola Aina getting game time there was a brief indication that they are considered part of the squad even if only on a rotation basis.

Loftus-Cheek looked strong and has two assists, whereas Ola Aina had a mixed game but that is expected from time to time as a young talent develops.

Victor Moses continues to show that he has a role to play this season whilst Michy Batshuayi built on his strong start. He spurned early chances but his brace makes Chelsea fans hopeful he can have a big role to play in the rest of the season.

A tough game is exactly what our backup players needed to keep them sharp and show Antonio Conte their hunger. Despite the downbeat attitude to the lack of signings, we look to have quality back up across the pitch.

A few new signings would not go amiss if they are better than what we have, but we took another positive step.

Image courtesy of FernhillOldBoy on Twitter

Chelsea EFL Cup – Posh Name For The League Cup

Chelsea EFL Cup Journey Starts

The Chelsea EFL Cup experience gets underway tomorrow as the Blues start their domestic cup competitions early due to a lack of European competition.

The EFL Cup or English Football League Cup is the new name for the League Cup which apparently no longer has enough glamour to attract a sponsor. You may recognise it under previous names as the Worthington Cup, the Carling Cup, The Capital One Cup or for the truly retro the Milk Cup.

The competition is not to be confused with the EFL Trophy which Chelsea will be entering an u23 side as part of a revamp.

Chelsea EFL Cup success is not that distant of a memory. We last won the competition when it was known as the Capital One Cup back in the spring of 2015. A simpler time when everything was going right for Jose Mourinho in his second spell.

Chelsea EFL Cup Embarassment

This is the first time in around 20 years that we have had the ignominy of entering the competition at this stage.

Hopefully, this means that Antonio Conte will take a laid back attitude to the game and play a team balanced to the needs in the Premier League. as he fine tunes the squad in an attempt to finish in a position that avoids this

After all, where we finish in the league can avoid the embarrassment of having to enter the competition in August altogether next year.

EFL CUP Second Round

This negative attitude to playing in the second round of the competition is of no disrespect to our first opponents Bristol City who will visit Stamford Bridge. Hopefully, there will be a decent crowd despite the lack of glamour attached to the tie and we will give the League One team a decent game.

Chelsea EFL Cup journey starts early this year, whatever you think of the competition it is a chance at silverware that after last season should not be sniffed at.

See the full draw here –



Chelsea Analysis – Conte Improves Chelsea


After two games there is evidence that Antonio Conte improves Chelsea.

If you look at the table alone then Chelsea are off to a flyer with maximum points. However, the results hide the late scrambles that preceded these victories that suggest the Italian still has work to do.

To point out that Chelsea only squeaked past West Ham United and Watford is not a complaint. Winning is the most important part of football and we will take victories any way they come.

Chelsea Analysis – Conte Improves Chelsea

These wins show that Chelsea have returned from a shorter pre-season in great shape and with an added drive and desire that may have been lacking last season.

The mentality and fitness of the squad to turn the games around in the last ten minutes that should leave Chelsea fans feeling positive. Last season things would probably have gone differently with a possible return of only one or two points due to the funk we were in.

A lot has been made that Conte improves Chelsea tactically and so far this is borne out by the success of substitutions. New arrival Michy Batshuayi may not have started a game for Chelsea yet but he has a goal and an assist to his name.

Bringing on a striker when chasing may not be an original idea the changes he has made have made an impact. Particularly in the Watford game where we had only had one shot on target before the first sub was made on 71 minutes.


Unfortunately conceding in both games shows that there is still work to do, Conte may have drilled the players well but the leaks are only partially fixed.

On paper we are ok defensively, but last season suggests we are not with support needed for an aging John Terry and a low on confidence Gary Cahill.

There are rumours that Conte is frantically trying to convince the owners to solidify the defence with new signings, but the process is taking time.

In the meantime, the defence looks better but there are still shortcomings that need to be addressed at Cobham or in the transfer market.

On limited evidence, Conte improves Chelsea but we look forward to seeing how he keeps the good start going.

The Conte Era Begins


Finally football is back and Chelsea fans are eager to move on from what was the worst season in a generation.

Hiddink has gone and now it is up to our new Italian manager to try and steer Chelsea back towards the top half of the table. I am feeling apprehensive with just an hour left to go until kick-off of a new season.

The Antonio Conte era at Chelsea is about to begin and from what we can tell nobody is sure what to expect.

The team is essentially the same one that finished 10th last season but also the same as the one crowned Champions the year before.

Conte Era Signings

The new manager has made a good first impression and seems to have a clear direction. I worry that with N’Golo Kante the only major signing that the season start seems to have

I worry that with N’Golo Kante the only major signing that the season start seems to have come too early as Conte looks to rebuild. I think we will see new arrivals before the end of the transfer window and that Conte will reshape the side.

I think we will see new arrivals before the end of the transfer window, and that Conte will reshape the side to overcome the naivety of our performances last season. We still have quality all over the pitch; it is just time to see it all working together.

Hopefully Conte has been able to instill a tactical discipline into the team that will allow them to overcome West Ham United and give an impetus at the start of the season.

Expectations may be lower than they have been for over 15 years at the start of the season. A good start would go a long way to banishing the memories of last season and create a platform to rebuild from.

Whatever happens win or lose up the Blues…..



Even In Pre-Season We Can Laugh at Liverpool FC – Video

Liverpool chelsea fans

Yesterday Chelsea took on Liverpool as part of their pre-season tour recording a 1-0 victory courtesy of a header from Gary Cahill.

Pre-season results mean nothing in the long term, just ask multi Emirates Cup winning manager Arsene Wenger. However, when your B team has the opportunity to upset Liverpool fans half-way across the world it is always enough to bring a smile to your face.

Add in the fact that the Blues played more than 20 minutes with 10 men and getting to see Liverpool fans cry half way across the world and it becomes hilarious. There were more than 50,000 US football fans to bear witness to the build up to a season that undoubtedly Liverpool fans think will be their year.

For those of you who enjoy watching highlights of friendlies, here are some we found.

The Magic Of The Chelsea US Pre-Season Tour

Chelsea US Tour

The Chelsea US pre-season tour is underway and from what our friends across the pond tell us the Chelsea fans they are having a whale of a time.

As a UK based Chelsea fan blog of a certain age we can remember a time before the razzmatazz of an overseas pre-season tour. A magical time which may start in Scandanavia or the low countries before playing a mix of lower league sides. Culminating in a glamour friendly or pre-season tournament like the Makita Cup.

In those days we were a bit like Arsenal, these fake competitions were the best chance we had of winning a trophy. Things have changed a little bit since then.

The Commercial Aspect

Slowly but surely we have come to accept the new reality. One where the success of the club and the Premier League in general means there are millions of fans across the world that love English football. For one small window each year, the club brings their idols to them to boost the club’s reputation and keep the club commercially competitive.

US Pre-Season Tour

The USA is a huge market for football.

A large number of fans in the USA have taken Chelsea to their hearts. They have swapped weekend lie-ins and following sports that their friends understand. For a game that is played early on weekend mornings. One could say there is nothing more British than using football as an excuse to be at the pub for 8am on a Saturday.

It is this passion that has endeared this blog to our US supporters, we have met many of them at the Bridge over the years as they make a footballing pilgrimage. These are not the stereotypical overseas fans you read about in the press. These fans may be thousands of miles away but they share the passion, they may never have been to Liverpool but they are smart enough to know it’s a shithole.

The next week or so sees fans that may watch alone or at local bars all come together and share their love of our club, I don’t care who you are that sounds quite cool. I must admit I am jealous of how much the club does to welcome them and put events on that we just don’t get in the UK.

To put it into context the tours we spoke to Chelsea In America member Brian Wolff to talk about what it means to the US fans

The summer tours in America are completely unlike any matches Chelsea will play anywhere else. No other club has the level of organization in the United States, at local and national levels, that Chelsea supporters have. And without the anxiety of results weighing upon those in attendance, the focus is on what makes football great – songs, pints, friends and atmosphere. What happens when you get season ticket holders and grizzled away day veteran flying over to meet with those who wake up at 6am every morning to head to the pub to watch a match? Throw in a dose of celebrity within the supporter community, a few club legends and a bar? Chaos in the best sense of the word. It’s English tradition with a dose of American spectacle – we hope all can enjoy.

In the US and want to join the fun visit – Chelsea In America 


Kurt Zouma Injury Update – Conte In No Rush

Kurt Zouma Injury

The latest on the Kurt Zouma injury is that he has been back in training for a couple of months. Yet Antonio Conte has  made it clear that he will not be rushed back into the team.

Zouma was ruled out for the season in February with an ankle injury, but progress has been cautious during his recovery. He is back training with the first team squad in Austria but is not expected to be in contention for the start of the season. Due to his age and the career he has ahead of him, it is good to know

Kurt Zouma Injury Setback

The Kurt Zouma injury was a bitter blow.

The French defender had just established himself as a first-team regular. With a reputation as a quality centre-back with his pace and committed physical approach.

Last season Kurt Zouma injury free had started 21 Premier League games and had pushed Gary Cahill down the pecking order.

Zouma’s size and presence also made him a formidable threat at set pieces allowing him to add the odd goal to his defensive contribution. A favourite with Chelsea fans, who boom out  ‘Zouma!’ every time he makes a key tackle, header or interception.

Once Zouma is fit again, his focus should be on regaining his place in the Chelsea squad.

Although there is reported interest from other clubs, including Arsenal, fans will be hoping this talk does not come to fruition, and he returns to his best at Stamford Bridge as soon as possible.

If Zouma stays at Stamford Bridge, it is likely the French defender will have a big part to play in rebuilding the Chelsea squad.

With John Terry likely to have a smaller role than in previous seasons, Zouma has the potential to assert himself as Chelsea’s first choice central defender.

If he can do that, then the future for Chelsea and Zouma is bright.

Costa Wants To Go – Is He Worth Keeping?


There have been rumours that Diego Costa wants to go and has handed in a transfer request. The aim being to manufacture a move back to Athletico Madrid. Whilst it is unsettling to hear that our top scorer last season may want to leave it is not surprising.

The question is given his baggage, is he worth keeping?

Diego Costa is a controversial character on and off the pitch. On the pitch, he can start an argument with his shadow. Off the pitch he shunned his country of birth and represent Spain. A move that led to uproar.

Whether Costa wants to stay or not is he worth keeping?

Passion and fire is a great thing but a player that cannot maintain some level of consistency in behaviour can be an issue. Combined with his injury record a player that you may lose for a quarter of the average season quickly becomes a liability.

The problem is that when he is fit and in the right mindset he scores goals, lots of them. Despite his troubles last season he recovered to become the Blues top scorer and should he stay and be focused, he has proven that he can get it done in the Premier League.

Replacement Options If Costa Wants To Go

The problem with systems Chelsea have played in the past is that they only allow one striker.  This limits the amount of back-up you can have available. Chelsea have already bought a striker so maybe they have seen this coming and planned for any outcome.

Chelsea have signed Michy Batshuayi from Marseille. At 22 he is an eye to the future, but if Costa wants to go, then we have a high profile backup. opinion

Costa is always a divider of opinion and despite the goals the latest round of speculation does it for us.  We only want players who want to be here to wear the shirt. If Costa leaves then he will command a monster fee.

After all he is a proven goal-scorer in Europe’s top leagues, that drives opposition fans crazy.


Worst Loan Signings In History – Pato & Falcao


Pato & Falcao have left Chelsea Football Club.

When we first suggested that they were truly awful people argued we were wrong and there must be a worst pairing, but with two starts and two goals for millions and millions spent it is hard to disagree.

Falcao arrived at Stamford Bridge last summer and Pato joined him in January, but neither made an impact on a terrible season for the Blues.

Expensive Flops

Despite spending millions on their salaries, the Blues got a return of just two Premier League starts and two Premier League goals between the pair.

They spent most of their time on the treatment table or warming the bench.

Pato Signed Injured

Bizarrely Chelsea decided to sign Pato when he was injured. For the first two months of his loan, earning over a million pounds in wages without making his debut.

He finally did this against Aston Villa in April with his introduction met with ironic cheers from Chelsea fans who chanted “give the ball to Pato” at every opportunity in a desperate attempt to get some value for money.

Despite scoring a penalty in that game, he looked a yard off the pace of the game, a performance that sums up the form of both during the entirety of his loan and that of Falcao.

Pato & Falcao Avoidable Mistake

Pato and Falcao have been world beaters in the past, but injuries and poor form meant that their arrival at Stamford Bridge was met with surprise. It was clear they were just a shadow of the players that became household names across the footballing world, but Chelsea signed them anyway.

Chelsea have not had much luck in the transfer market for strikers during the Premier League era, but the signings of Falcao and Pato were always going to fail. Fans will see millions of pounds wasted for two goals at the expensive of youth players that could have taken their place in the squad and had the opportunity to build for the future.

Fans will be hoping that the decision makers at Stamford Bridge learn from their lessons, but they will not be holding their breath. They will be left rueing the decisions that allow the club to claim the crown of the worst pair of loans in Premier League history based on cost and performance.

Antonio Conte Tactics – 3 Things Chelsea Fans Want

Antonio Conte Tactics

Antonio Conte tactics are legendary.  Last season Chelsea were awful and will be relying on the tactical mastery of the Italian to turn things around.

Despite defeat in France, Conte impressed during Euro 2016 with his tactical awareness and mannerisms. They showcased intelligence and passion two things fans crave in their managers.

Chelsea fans will be expecting him to turn things around quickly, and there are three areas they will want to see him make an impact.

Antonio Conte Tactics In Action

Chelsea were continuously out thought last season by managers that had worked out how to counter Chelsea’s predictable style of play.

To improve on next season, Antonio Conte will need to make Chelsea less predictable and have more options when plan A is not working. Conte showed his tactical skills during the European Championships. His ability to out think the opposition is one of the qualities that excites fans. They will be hoping to see Chelsea tactically dominate their opponents next season.

Tactics may seem a shallow argument but get it right and the Blues can dictate the games at their pace and have more success in games where we are evenly matched with our opposition.

A Faster Paced Attack

Chelsea lost the majority of their games last season despite dominating the play and possession. Chelsea failed to create chances as the Blues would slow the game down allowing opposition defences to get organised.

Chelsea fans will be looking for a more exciting and direct style of play, getting the ball into the box faster and taking shots earlier in attacking moves. Rather than trying to walk the ball into the net.

This may see Chelsea buy a fleet of new players, or they could just stick with those that they already have. They could even look to keep some of the players on the ongoing Chelsea loan treadmill. The likes of Victor Moses and Juan Cuadrado could come back and make a real impact if played in the right system by the right manager who gives them confidence to perform.

A Tighter Defence

Successful Chelsea teams have been built on defence, but last year things fell apart. Chelsea conceded 53 goals last season more than any season in the last decade. Conte will be expected to bring a defensive discipline to the side and stem the flow of goals.

Success will rely on managing the fitness and performances of captain John Terry after he was given a contract extension and bringing Kurt Zouma back into the slide slowly following a serious injury. Zouma will not be rushed back but he should be in the mind of Antonio Conte. He could also look at some of the youth or newer players such as Matt Miazga or Jake Clarke-Salter. A chase for John Stones should not be ruled out but with Everton looking to build it is unlikely that Chelsea will be able to invest the sum needed to draw him away.