Blog Page 2

Chelsea v Crystal Palace – No Longer A Key Moment

0

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

4
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

0

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

 

2016/2017 – Hardest Season To Buy Chelsea Tickets?

0
Buy Chelsea Tickets

To buy Chelsea tickets you have always in the last decade needed to think ahead and plan carefully. This season though things have escalated to a new level, and it may have been the hardest season to buy Chelsea tickets yet.

Getting Chelsea Tickets

Getting Chelsea tickets is a mix of planning and early starts to try and keep ahead of the terrifying “virtual waiting room”. The screen that meets fans when trying to buy tickets for games that are in demand.

Many times we have been trying to buy tickets but not got further than that dreaded screen that seems to take an age to refresh or take you to the all important purchase page.

Increasingly this year even intense planning and commitment has not been enough to secure tickets. Particularly for games away from home where tickets seem to sell out the moment the clock strikes 7am.

Too many times we have had to rely on connections to get the tickets we want.

Causes Of Problems Wanting To Buy Chelsea Tickets

The reasons tickets are harder to get for members (and ST holders for away games) is a combination of three factors. Two of which should bring smiles to the faces of fans but also lead to frustration.

A Winning Team

Winning teams increase demand for tickets as casual fans come out of the woodwork as there is more to be excited about. This makes it harder to get tickets to games where loyalty points do not give you a priority.

The impact on tickets of a winning team happens at every level of football (see the sold out FA Cup games when a League Two draws us) but can lead to frustration.

Touting

A winning team also means more touting as interest in the team is higher with tourists and casual fans alike. Every ticket in the hands of a tout is one that cannot be bought by a real fan legitimately.

Cheaper Away Tickets

The irony cost of away tickets going down has made it harder to get tickets. It has increased demand and encouraged members (and season ticket holders we hear) to buy tickets for games they have no intent to travel to for the loyalty points.

This is frustrating but understandable in a season where the key games at the end of the season will be available only to those with healthy loyalty point balances. I am conflicted taking tickets from people doing this even at face value due to the distortion it causes to the ticket sales market.

The Fix

A new stadium is on the horizon, but until then for Chelsea Football Club members buying Chelsea tickets looks like it will continue to require, planning, luck and knowing the right people.

As for away tickets, it may not be long until for security reasons these are only given to fans in the city of the game with valid ID. A solution but not necessarily one we are onboard with.

Best Eden Hazard Goals For Chelsea – Video

0

It is hard to believe it has been nearly five years since Eden Hazard arrived at Stamford Bridge so we took some time to look at some of the best Eden Hazard goals we have witnessed in that time.

During his time at the club, Hazard has scored some stunning goals. Some have been against minnows but the most memorable ones have been against rivals or helped launched us towards trophies.

Eden Hazard Goals

The Goal That Broke Spurs Hearts

In 2015/2016 Tottenham were chasing Leicester hard at the top of the Premier League. With just a few games left they travelled to Stamford Bridge with the aim of keeping the pressure on.

Having gone two goals up they assumed the points were in the bag, however a late comeback was completed by Hazard who scored a cracker late on to secure a 2-2 draw to hand Leicester the title.

Stunning Solo Goal Against Arsenal

If there was any doubt as to whether Hazard was back to his best then this gem of a solo run ended the discussion. He beat multiple players and then slotted the ball past the keeper with an expert finish before running off to the Chelsea faithful to celebrate a cracker.

Curling Beauty Against Manchester United

Scoring against Manchester United is a great way to gain the adoration of Chelsea fans. Eden Hazard did this beautifully with a curled beauty from the corner of the 18-yard box.

Left-hand edge of the 18-yard box and Eden Hazard curls in a beauty to earn us a replay in the FA Cup.

 

The season is not over for Hazard and we hope he will add many more cracking goals to his Chelsea resume before his time at the Bridge ends.

After all, his trophy cabinet at Chelsea includes the Europa League, League Cup and the Premier League. If he adds to that this season then let’s hope he stays to score more goals in the Champions League next season.

Video – Pedro Goals 2016/17

0

This video is a compilation of Pedro goals 2016/17.

Signed from Barcelona, there were high hopes among Chelsea supporters for what he could bring to the side, especially after he scored on his debut against West Bromwich Albion.

However, this early spark did not last and like the rest of the squad, he struggled to put in the performances that would stop the rot that lasted most of last season.

Many thought that Pedro may only survive one season in Blue as he struggled to adapt to the English game and win over the fans and media. However this season we have seen a complete reversal in fortunes.

After a tough first season, Pedro has bounced back and been a key figure in a season where the title is within touching distance.

He seems to have got his attacking mojo having ousted Willian as the preferred final attacking option alongside Diego Costa and Eden Hazard. This is no mean feat considering Willian is universally popular and was the clubs star performer in an otherwise disastrous 2015/2016

Pedro has started 24 games in the Premier League this season making a much larger impression on the games he has been involved in. He seems more confident going forward and taking players on and is often at the heart of the explosive counter-attacks that have hurt opposition teams time and time again this season.

Pedro Goals 2016/17

Goals have been a critical contribution, so far there have been 12 Pedro 2016/17 goals and 10 assists that have helped put Chelsea within touching distance of the Premier League title.

Whilst some have come against comparative minnows some have come in critical games. Including those against Manchester United, Tottenham and most recently to get the ball rolling against Everton.

As we come into the final few games of the season Pedro is one of the most important players in a rarely changed Chelsea side.

Late Tottenham pressure will not derail the champions elect

0

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

0

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.

Frank Lampard Testimonial

0
Frank Lampard Testimonial

A Frank Lampard testimonial would be hugely popular with Chelsea fans.

With 211 goals and more than ten years experience, a 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 the Blues after not being given a new contract, meaning 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 against Swansea in 2016/2017, 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.

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

0
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.