Chelsea Youth Development Boosted By Injury & Transfer Market

Chelsea Youth Development under Antonio Conte

Chelsea youth development or the lack of it in the first team is famous. It is continuously debated by fans, bloggers, pundits, journalists and former players.

Chelsea fans wants to see Chelsea youth players break into the first team and contribute to a winning team, however, are unsure if there will ever be the right environment for it to happen for even the most talented player.

Chelsea have one of the best youth set-ups in the country but it has yet to bear fruit for us. It has been successful in creating dozens of professional players plying their trade elsewhere or out on loan. Yet not since John Terry has Chelsea youth development had something to hang its hat on.

Instead of using the youth team managers have repeatedly bought in ready made players. Transfer inflation and competition may be about to change that in the squad positions.

Why Chelsea Youth Development Is A Challenge

Talent is sculpted over time before it is ready for display. So far Chelsea have invested heavily in chisels but failed to find the right subject or the bravery to put it on display.

Picking young players is a calculated gamble by managers. Even last season when there was nothing to play for, experience trumped youth development. This is fuelled by the pressure for results. Which has  created a culture where this is more likely to be punished than rewarded.

What Could Have Changed For Conte

A lack of investment in marquee players during the transfer window due to rampant price inflation and competitiveness for top players, has created an opportunity for Chelsea youth.

Against Leicester injury and lack of alternatives meant that there were four Chelsea youth products sat next to John Terry on the bench.

Two came on as substitutes as we cruised to victory. This could be something we see throughout the season. For the first time in years, we could see multiple youth team products making 10 -15 league appearances in supporting roles.

Hopefully one or two will be able to break through and claim a regular starting place. This is a dream that seems far away at the moment. Yet a few good performances from a prospect and who knows.

We are not there yet but the future of Chelsea youth development looks bright under Antonio Conte in our present set of circumstances.

Why A Chelsea Best XI Of All Time XI Is Pointless

Chelsea players on a lake in the 1930s

As a Chelsea football blog barely a week goes by where we are not asked by someone to name our “Chelsea Best XI of All Time”.

We have tried so many times to do this but just can’t, there are too many players to choose from and too many variables. Nearly 700 players have made a first team appearance for Chelsea since we were founded in 1905 and we don’t have nearly enough information.

The ability of players and their contribution to the team is subjective, given our standing in recent years it is nearly impossible to compare what Kerry Dixon did for the club to that of Didier Drogba.

They were different types of player playing in different eras for teams with different goals. Kerry Dixon wore his heart on his sleeve helping Chelsea as they bounced between what is now the Premier League and the Championship playing with a variable amount of talent.

Whereas Drogba played with 10 of the best players in the world at that time all aiming to win everything in sight.

Football loves nostalgia but is very much focused on the here and now, particularly where glory is involved. Ask fans to name their best Chelsea XI it will be shaped by a range of factors. Like when they grew up and recent success, rather than an objective look at the merits of all who have played in Blue (or for some horrific grey and orange).

Celebrating Players For Their Contribution

In our opinion fans should celebrate players from the club and the era they played in. Whether that be strikers like Osgood in the 70’s, Dixon in the 80’s, Vialli in the 90’s or Drogba in the new millennium. All of those mentioned are Chelsea legends who deserve recognition.

As are the players who played in the eras before television and money seeped into the game. Be it George “Gattling Gun” Hilsdon, or our Olympic medal winning Norweigan Nils Middleboe the first foreigner to play for Chelsea who was also a triple jump champion.

So the next time I see a greatest XI debate I am going to disengage and think about a Chelsea legend, even if I never got a chance to see them play.

Hull A Return To Normality Ahead Of Tough October


The best part of this weekend’s result against Hull was that it was unremarkable, the kind of result we need to be grinding out if we want to finish anywhere near the top four.

Two stunning second half finishes put the gloss on a controlled performance from the Blues and put two consecutive defeats behind us. With six games gone we sit in 6th place and within touching distance of the top four.

Failures against Arsenal and Liverpool are painful to take and show that there is some improvement needed, but we are not far from where we need to be.

Win the games against the teams expected to finish in the bottom half and build a rhythm as we face tougher challenges is a good way to look at the first couple of months of the season.

Antonio Conte has been experimenting technically with the line up, playing three at the back against Hull. As we get more options at the back as players come back from injury we should see this more often. It is definitely reassuring to know we have a manager with more than one club in his bag.

As we get more options at the back as players come back from injury we should see this more often. It is definitely reassuring to know we have a manager with more than one club in his bag.

Looking To October

October is going to be a tough month, there is a game against the unpredictable Champions, the return of Jose Mourinho to Stamford Bridge and then tough trips to Olympic Stadium and St Mary’s.

How we come out of October will give us a real indicator of what our expectations for the season should be. If we can get 7 or more points from these games then we really will be in a good position to push for the top four.

There is very little patience in the Premier League these days and it is hard to avoid the mood and positivity changing game by game. We are not far from where we need to be and let’s see how Conte navigates October.



Cahill To Leave Chelsea On Cards Once Everyone Fit

Cahill To Leave Chelsea

After his howler against Arsenal, there has been a lot of negativity towards Gary Cahill in the media and fan-based social media. The call for Cahill to leave Chelsea would feel like an overreaction if not for his form over the last 12 months being consistently below his best.

Despite taking the armband in midweek, he has been more of a negative influence on results than a positive one so far this season.

Cahill To Leave Chelsea – Remember His Commitment

Criticism against Cahill is not done lightly by this blog. He is a respected Blue warrior, not a mercenary that has been at the club for five minutes.

He is a European Champion who joined the club for a song and has repaid his transfer fee over and over again. Even when performing badly you can see that he is working his socks off and was genuinely distraught when his error gifted Arsenal a goal.

Unfortunately, this error was not an isolated incident and his form has been waning for some time now. He is not the player he was when we signed him and it appears that his time at the club is coming towards an end.

The Natural Replacement Kurt Zouma

Cahill’s performances have been below his best for at least 12 months. If it was not for an injury to Kurt Zouma he would have lost his place last season. A move that could have seen Cahill leave Chelsea last January in a bid to keep his place in the England squad.

Looking to the future, once Antonio Conte, has David Luiz, John Terry and Kurt Zouma fit it is difficult to see how Gary Cahill will make the team.

Should it be the day for Cahill to leave Chelsea comes quickly then we must remember the contribution he has made to the team rather than recent mistakes. Change is part of football but that does not change the fact that he has been a key part of our recent history.

Arsenal Defeat Painful and Humiliating


Yesterday the Arsenal defeat was just embarrassing, after a good few years of having Arsene Wenger’s side in their place we capitulated. At this blog we learnt our lesson for running our mouths, getting ahead of ourselves and are eating humble pie.

The last few years we have had Arsene Wenger’s number, with the Gunners failing to score in three years, however this season it took just minutes for that to change.

There are going to be lots of posts analysing the defeat and what Antonio Conte can do to turn things around so we won’t go into too many details. The main problem yesterday seemed to be desire, Arsenal had plenty and we had next to none.

Arsenal Defeat Terrible From Start To Finish

From the moment Gary Cahill decided to gift Arsenal the lead the game look finished, the way we capitulated made us think that we were watching a re-run of the Liverpool game.

We lacked any potency going forwards and had our arses handed to us by our North London rivals and the game was over as a contest by half-time. It will be up to Conte and the Chelsea players to decide if two consecutive Premier League defeats are blots on the landscape or the new normal.

A Tough Monday For Chelsea Fans

Tomorrow morning will be tough for Chelsea fans after the Arsenal defeat. At offices across the country as casual Arsenal fans come out of the woodwork to casually ask “did you see the score at the weekend”

To any Arsenal fans reading, congratulations on victory, there can be no doubt that you deserved it. I am sure it is a relief to be talking positively after a Chelsea game and this blog in particular deserves some stick.

Look forward to trying to get our revenge at the Bridge later in the season. We do however look forward to trying to get our revenge at the Bridge later in the season.

Courtois Transfer Moan – Belgian Needs To Cech Himself

Chelsea Courtois Transfer rumour

It seems that not a week goes by without a Thibaut Courtois transfer rumour and its getting a little bit boring.

This week the Independent published the latest Courtois transfer rumour 

Courtois Transfer Rumours Make Cech Departure Tragedy

Watching club legend Petr Cech leave the club with some of his best years still ahead of him was painful. Sacrificed for the bright young talent at the top of the European game Courtois it is frustrating to see the low regard Courtois seems to hold Stamford Bridge.

The problem is that years on loan in Spain and a wandering eye have given Courtois a sense that he owes the club nothing and he should catch the first plane back to Spain should one of the two giants of La Liga come calling.

Combined with a dip in form the decision to cast aside Cech and embrace the young Belgian are looking like a mistake.

It seems to be a trait with the Belgians we buy but they have ideas above their station and are always looking for a move or saying something to upset the applecart. This uusually when on national duty-free from the constraints of the Chelsea PR machine.

If Courtois wants to leave then fine, but he should stop being such a pussy about it, make a decision and take the gamble of throwing a public hissy fit. See what happens and hope that one of the Spanish clubs actually wants to buy you.

His form has been ropey for the last 18 months and there is not guarantee that he will be on the shopping list of Real Madrid of Barcelona, especially as we are going to want a king’s ransom for him.

His place in the Chelsea line-up is far from guaranteed, Asmir Begovic is a top quality goalkeeper and could quite easily step into the breach should Courtois continue to cost us points.

As for Cech, it is still painful to see him at the Emirates, it would never happen but I would have him back at Stamford Bridge in a heartbeat.

Until then Courtois transfer rumours need to stop and the boy needs to Cech himself and find some form rather than wrecking himself by fuelling pointless transfer speculation.

David Luiz Shows Why He Is A Cult Hero


David Luiz may have made a defensively questionable start to his second spell at Stamford Bridge, but on Tuesday night he reinforced why his eccentric personality makes him a cult hero to Chelsea fans.

We overcame Leicester in 120 minutes so it may be understandable why the majority of exhausted players only made a token effort to show their appreciation to the travelling Chelsea fans.

The atmosphere against Leicester was brilliant throughout the game and deserving of more than a token gesture the only one to acknowledge this was David Luiz.

At the end of the game he came jogging over to the Chelsea end picked out a fan and gave his search to the joy of the travelling Chelsea fans. Whilst Chelsea fans will want more from him in the long term, his passion and connection with the fans will go a long way.

Let’s hope the rest of the squad follow his example in the coming weeks.

Calm Down Chelsea Fans The World Is Not Ending Despite Liverpool Defeat


After hearing of crisis meetings at Chelsea late into the night after defeat by Liverpool and the reaction of some Chelsea fans, you would think we have been transported back 10 months when Mourinho’s second era was in its death throes.

A draw against Swansea and defeat to Liverpool at home are not ideal results but they are hardly apocalyptic considering where we are in the season.

We absolutely murdered Swansea but gave away the game with two individual areas. Against Liverpool, we got what our play deserved. We allowed Liverpool to execute their game plan and have a weak argument that we deserved much more than we got.

Avoid Endemic Short Term Thinking

Short term thinking is a disease within top-level football. Clubs sack managers after a slight hiccup and fans of all teams seem to turn on their team after just a result or two. Just look at the pressure on Mourinho after one bad week at Manchester United, two weeks ago he was a god now there is talk that he is past it.

Just look at the pressure on Mourinho after one bad week at Manchester United, two weeks ago he was a god now there is talk that he is past it.

We should be two points ahead of where we currently and that ignores the late shows against West Ham and Watford, that added points to the total despite struggling.

We are five games into the season and we are in the mix at the top of the table, Antonio Conte has barely had time to get his feet under the table so give him time. This does not mean that we were not shouting our throats horse when he refused to make any changes as things disintegrated against Liverpool, but we need to take a more rational view after the passion of game day subsides.

Are we a better team than we were last season? Ask me in other 5-10 Premier League games as things start to become clearer.




Some Videos To Prepare for Liverpool Game – FA Cup, Gerrard, Riise and Kalou


Tonight we play Liverpool, but rather than give you a dry preview looking at the importance of the first real test of Antonio Conte as manager.

Instead we are going to look at some of the overwhelming success we have had against Liverpool in the last decade.

First we go back to 2012 when Roberto Di Matteo led Chelsea to a cup double starting with the FA Cup

How about a little bit of Phil Thompson stropping as Soloman Kalou crosses the ball from the left

Then of course there is this magic moment

Defence Not Referee To Blame For Dropped Swansea Points

Chelsea goal celebration after WIllian scores against Burnley
Image courtesy of @J_D_Fletcher_ on Twitter

Despite only getting a point there is very little that Antonio Conte could have done tactically to extend his 100% record.

Conte’s Chelsea dominated Swansea at the Liberty Stadium and despite only leading by one goal at half-time looked like the only team on the pitch.

The team pushed forwards after the break but the failure to score a second cost Chelsea and it was poor decision making by Courtois that gifted Swansea a way back into the game via the penalty spot.

More defensive slackness and a foul put Swansea in dreamland just minutes later and we had to battle back just to get a point.

Why The Referee Cannot Be Blamed

The referee made a mistake for the second Swansea goal, there is no doubt about that Gary Cahill was fouled. However, that close to his own goal with his back to the defender Cahill should not have been given the ball.

A sharper defence would have anticipated the oncoming danger, although it should not have been a goal Chelsea created their own problems. We should have put the game beyond doubt before the made 3 minutes that changed the game and kept calmer heads.

Swansea supporters should be thanking us for the gift of a point they barely deserved.

Still Unbeaten

Last season Chelsea would have lost that game but were able to find a equaliser. Dropping points like that is not the way that potential top 4 teams go about their business. Yet after creeping past Watford and Crystal Palace this was bound to catch up with us at some point.

In order to move forward, there will need to be a continued focus on improving our defensive mindset and removing the risks that cost us points in Wales.

There were plenty of positives to take from the game and hopefully we will play Liverpool on Friday taking the vibes from the performance and not the result back to Stamford Bridge.