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Chelsea, Man Utd and Everton In Grip Of Transfer Silly Season – Man City and Liverpool Settled

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With the World Cup over the media is resuming normal service when it comes to transfer rumors and filling their pages with enough hot air to power a country.

The settled squad of Manchester City means the betting offers from Moplay are mostly focused around the comings and goings at Chelsea and Manchester United.

On Merseyside, Liverpool seem to have done most of their business straight out of the gate having already nailed down a concussion-free goalkeeper, whereas their Goodison Park neighbours seem ready to go mad.

With Jose Mourinho as manager Manchester United were always likely to be the target of extensive gossip for comings and goings. Over his tenure at Old Trafford Mourinho has continued to abuse, whinge and complain about a number of different players so we are likely to see his favoured targets fly out the door and him to try and demand high-quality replacements.

Recent rumours have seen Manchester United linked to Willian, however, Chelsea fans would rather punch themselves in the eye than gift Mourinho any more players from his second stint at the club. He has already taken Matic and we would be stupid to let him take another star of that team.

The only way this might work is if Anthony Martial was to move in the other direction as some are suggesting the club want.

Rumours on the future of Willian do continue though, it is thought that Barcelona have made him a top target following the World Cup making a bid of £65m, this is tempting until you realise that Everton are about to pay £50m for Richarlison from Watford and suddenly he seems wildly underpriced.

The potential sale of players does seem to be more of the focus of Stamford Bridge in recent weeks with Eden Hazard and Thibaut Courtois both keeping the club guessing as to their commitment to staying at the club.

Whilst it would be a shame to lose either, Courtois needs to either sign a contract or sod off and Hazard can attract a high valuation after a successful World Cup. I would be sad to see him leave but he has more than earned the right to determine his own destiny after a successful few years at the club.

As for targets to bring into the club, it seems that Sarri is trying to bring the entire Napoli team with him. Jorginho has already arrived but rumours persist that Napoli have laid down the law to Chelsea’s board that they will not be able to cherry pick the best and brightest of Sarri’s former club.

With only two weeks of the window left Chelsea will need to act fast if they are to improve on last seasons 5th place finish.

Delighted To Have Gianfranco Zola Home!

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The club has not covered itself in glory in the latest changing of the managerial guard, however, the arrival of Gianfranco Zola brings a smile to the face of Chelsea fans.

The departure of Antonio Conte was as inevitable as a MoPlay Bonus Code but the situation became farcical when the club left a title and FA Cup winning manager hanging on through the entire summer.

Conte even took charge of some early pre-season training sessions despite the open secret that Maurizo Sarri was being lined up to replace him.

Eventually, Conte was sacked and Sarri was installed and Chelsea fans were generally lukewarm to his arrival and not sure quite how to take the next step of the Chelsea managerial rollercoaster.

Club Legend Zola Returns

One thing that has energised fans is the return of Gianfranco Zola as assistant manager, as a player, he was idolised as one of the most gifted players to wear Blue.

Already we have seen that Zola has not lost his touch, being filmed performing the rabona during a practical training session.

His status to Chelsea fans is beyond reproach, he has been voted the club’s greatest ever player in 2003.

After joining in 1996 he spent 7 years lighting up the Premier League winning player of the year 1996/1997 despite only playing half a season. He is the most technically gifted players of the game, let alone players to have played for Chelsea and he was idolised by Chelsea fans.

Although not a guaranteed starter for his entire Chelsea career he made more than 300 appearances for Chelsea, scoring 80 goals.

Sadly, he left without a proper goodbye in the dying days of the Ken Bates era and despite the offer of a contract extension by Roman Abramovich honoured his word to return to Caligari.

He spent three years at Caligari before retiring

Zola The Manager

Post-retirement Zola went into management, however, as a manager, he did not quite hit the same levels with spells at Watford and Birmingham.

A good number two does not have to be a great manager but he does need to be respected by the players. Great Chelsea no.2’s such as Steve Clarke and Ray Wilkins failed at management but were recognised as key parts of Chelsea’s success in the back-room.

Something that someone as talented and respected in football as Zola undoubtedly will be.

We look forward to welcoming him back and reminding him just how loved he is by Chelsea fans for his role in a transformational time in the club’s history.

 

JD Wetherspoons Hypocrites Over England Match Beer Pricing

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Funny sport fan with flag painted on face drinking beer

For the first time in years, there is excitement over England’s football team, meaning that the bars and pubs are full during matches.

There has been outcry in the media over reports that beer prices are higher in bars and pubs during England games.

There are reports that one pub chain is adding 50p to a pint whereas other pubs and bars are following suit across the country. It may not sound like much but for an industry in trouble, it does seem like needless profiteering.

One of the biggest bar chains JD Wetherspoons have come out saying they will not increase their prices for England games. Stating categorically that they would be against charging a premium during England games.

This makes them hypocrites as match going Chelsea fans will probably know that this is common practice at their Fulham Broadway Lloyds No 1 pub on beer and food before and after Chelsea games at Stamford Bridge.

This deliberate price gouging is designed to take advantage of the one moment that the whole country will be watching the game and feel the urge to do so with their social group.

JD Wetherspoons apply this theory every Chelsea game, when they are normally full to capacity.

There is a special match day food menu (higher prices), beer prices go up and special offers are removed. It has long been a bug bear of Chelsea fans but even more galling to hear JD Wetherspoons arguing that this price gouging would not be very good for their business or customers.

“We wouldn’t put prices up, I don’t think customers would be very impressed.

You have to show loyalty to customers who have shown loyalty to you,”

Shame that JD Wetherspoons the owners of the Lloyd’s brand do not feel the same way when Chelsea are playing. I guess its ok to rip off Chelsea fans but not England fans?

Or they are just hypocrites when the media is watching!

Michy Batshuayi Celebration v England Makes Him A Legend

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Michy Batshuayi World Cup celebration in the England v Belgium game almost knocked him out cold. The sheer hilarity highlights that outside of his contribution to the game he cannot help but be hilarious.

For months he has been one of the more genuine and entertaining players on social media and he did not disappoint after my personal highlight of the World Cup.

I think its worth giving him another season at Chelsea just for this alone.

 

 

 

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14 Chelsea World Cup Players – Who Missed Out

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There will be 14 Chelsea World Cup players on the plane to Russia for their respective national team squads, find out who made it and who is staying at home.

If you are thinking of having a bet world cup then you might be better off following the fortunes of Antonio Rudiger, Eden Hazard or Willian than Denmark’s Andreas Christensen.

List Chelsea World Cup Players

The award for best dressed Chelsea players on the plane to Russia will probably go to Victor Moses and Kenneth Omeruo.

The Nigerian kit is something that really has to be admired for its boldness. Apparently, the kits are selling out rapidly outside of Nigeria having caught the imagination of the entire world.

Back to the football, it was great during the warm up to see Moses teaching Harry Kane a lesson with a quick turn that left the Spurs striker poleaxed.

This was also a game that saw Gary Cahill on the scoresheet, a moment that clearly meant a lot to Cahill given his up and down season that nearly cost him his place in the England squad.

Hopefully, his experience will see him selected for England and help the Three Lions avoid the embarrassment of the European Championships. The other Chelsea player in the England squad is Ruben Loftus-Cheek who had an impressive season out on loan.

There will be high hopes for Eden Hazard and Thibaut Courtois and the talent-filled Belgium squad who will be hoping that their golden generation will finally come good in a major tournament.

Chelsea’s player of the season will also be at the World Cup with N’Golo Kante giving the French team a solidity that could lead to them being a surprise package during the tournament.

He will be joined in the French squad by Chelsea new boy Oliver Giroud, who after a slow start found a bit of form for Chelsea both starting and coming from the bench.

A bit part player for Chelsea Willy Callabero will also be in Russia, an injury to Manchester United’s Sergio Romero means that he could actually be Argentina’s number one goalkeeper for the tournament.

Chelsea’s sole Spanish representative will be Cesar Azpilicueta who had a solid season despite our troubles.

Chelsea World Cup Absentees

A poor season means that a number of established Chelsea first-team players will miss out on the World Cup. Notably, Alvaro Morata, Marcus Alonso, and Cesc Fabregas have been snubbed by Spain.

This is surprising for Fabregas as he has been talismanic to the Spanish team for a number of years and would have brought some talent to the squad even if not given a starting berth.

The England players to miss out were new signings Danny Drinkwater and Ross Barkley. Both barely featured for Chelsea during the season and would not have high hopes of getting a call from Gareth Southgate.

Another unsurprising omission was Tiemoue Bakayoko who had an underwhelming season and was overlooked by France.

Finally, David Luiz will not be representing Brazil as his injuries and lack of game time have seen him fall out of contention.

Chelsea World Cup Players On The Plane To Russia

Argentina – Wily Callabero

Belgium – Eden Hazard, Thibaut Courtois, Michy Batshayui

Brazil – Willian

Denmark – Andreas Christensen

England – Gary Cahill and Ruben Loftus Cheek

France – Oliver Giroud, N’Golo Kante

Germany – Antonio Rudiger

Nigeria – Kenneth Omerou, Victor Moses

Spain – Cesar Azpilicueta

Roman Abramovich’s Chelsea Future – How Worried Should Fans Be

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Despite 17 years of supporting Chelsea Football Club outside influences seem to have put the future of Roman Abramovich’s Chelsea future in doubt.

Escalating political tensions have put Russian billionaires in the crosshairs of British politicians who have increased the pressure on them threatening their ability to live, work and invest in the UK.

This has affected Chelsea as Roman Abramovich withdrew his investor application after months of delays which are being attributed to mounting tensions with Russia.

This is despite Abramovich contributing millions if not billions to the UK economy and being about to pull the trigger on a huge stadium project that would have created thousands of jobs.

The issue became visible to the media when Abramovich was absent from our FA Cup triumph earlier in the month.

Roman Abramovich’s Chelsea Future – How Worried Should We Be

I think Chelsea fans should be incredibly concerned about the impact of Abramovich being unable to get into the country he has invested so much money into.

Already we have seen new stadium plans halted, plans that have been years in the works and put an incredible strain on the club and its fans. The delay of this long-term club goal is confusing and can only be explained by the actions of the UK Home Office.

Is this the end of Roman’s investment in the club, will he be looking to sell or are there other factors in play that could yield a new twist.

In the short-term, the club is trying to sell the delay as an opportunity to invest in the playing squad. In the long-term, we will need to see how the situation plays out before we know whether we are coming to the end of an era.

I hate uncertainty, so as Roman Abramovich claims Israeli citizenship and plots his next move I will be hyperventilating and hoping everything works out.

How Chelsea Have A Key Role In The Huddersfield Relegation Battle

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After Southampton defeated Swansea there is now only one relegation place yet to be decided and Chelsea could play a big role in who faces the drop at the end of the campaign.

Tonight Chelsea play Huddersfield in a game that we need to win but Huddersfield only need to draw.

This is because they are 3 points ahead of Swansea who sit in the final relegation place and have only one game left to play. If Huddersfield can get a point against Chelsea or Arsenal in their final games then they will book their place in the Premier League for another season.

If they lose both games (which is the most likely outcome) then the door is open for Swansea who are at home against Stoke on the final day. There is no scenario where goal difference comes into play as Huddersfield already trail on this and it would worsen automatically should they lose both games.

How Will This Affect Tonight

It will be interesting to see if Huddersfield come out of their shell and try and get something to defend or whether they are on the back foot the whole time.

Most teams in the bottom half of the table come to Stamford Bridge looking to waste time and delay things, I think this will be the case even more so tonight. Expect plenty of goal kicks that take forever and the ball to be out of play ALOT.

I won’t blame Huddersfield though, they are scrapping for their lives and if they were not playing us I’d be rooting for them. One of my childhood friends was a Huddersfield fan when they were in League One so it would be great if they could stay up this season as I have a soft spot for them.

Tonight though I am hoping they get hammered!

Champions League Qualification – It’s The Hope That Kills You

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Although beating Liverpool has gotten some fans and pundits excited about the prospect of Chelsea finding a way of sneaking into the top four, it is not very likely.

It does, however, remind us that it is the hope that kills us.

I had got my head around not playing in the Champions League and then Antonio Conte with an assist from Liverpool and Tottenham’s tepid form reels us back in.

The victory over Liverpool was particularly enjoyable and nerve-wracking at the same time, it is great to beat the pundits’ favourites this season and apply pressure.

The nerves are back and its a little bit cruel as our hopes are quite slim. We need to win our last two games and HOPE Liverpool or Tottenham to lose relatively easy games to qualify.

I simply do not see that happening.

Do We Deserve The Top Four

We have not been the most exciting team this season, at times it has looked like the team has forgotten how to shoot or form a meaningful attack from tons of possession. However, Conte has ground out enough results that a miracle could still happen.

This season we have been poor, a high level of quality across the pitch has not been delivered consistently throughout the campaign with results against Watford, Bournemouth and West Ham, in particular, haunting us.

A lack of attacking talent is one of the reasons we need a mulligan to qualify, both Tottenham and Liverpool have better goal differences, which means they are technically an extra point ahead of us in the race to qualify

It would be great if we were somehow able to pull a rabbit out of the hat, but we are trying to keep our expectations to Thursday night football rather than dreaming too much of anything bigger.

 

Marcos Alonso One Game Left In Increased Suspension

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PFA team of the year defender Marcos Alonso, continues to be unavailable for selection to Antonio Conte in the fallout over his tackle that the referee missed against Southampton. He missed the Burnley game and the FA Cup Semi-Final he will complete the suspension in our away game Swansea.

The punishment has been leveled after the Spaniard stamped on Southampton’s Shane Long in the fixture St Marys last weekend. The incident went unnoticed by match officials at the time. However, after reviewing video footage, the Independent Regulatory Commission decided that Alonso was guilty of violent conduct, and as a result, they imposed a three-match ban.

Disciplinary action was the right result, but highlights the inconsistency of the disciplinary system.

Former Chelsea player Mark Hughes, Southampton’s recently appointed manager said that he believed that the retrospective action was warranted as in his opinion, Alonso’s impulsive foul deserved some form of disciplinary action for what he felt had been a dangerous challenge. Had it been spotted at the time, when the offence took place, Hughes maintained that it would inevitably have resulted in a sending off.

This is probably true, however there were instances in the league that week that were more aggressive but because they were seen by the referee the only action taken was a very lenient yellow card.

Alonso refuted the offence and said that any resulting disciplinary action would be unwelcome. But having been verified by the video record and the disciplinary board, the penalty is a blot on the Spaniards copy-book, coming just shortly after having been the only Chelsea player to be nominated for a position in the Professional Football Associations Premier League team of the year.

Alonso’s removal from selection has not affected Chelsea so far with two victories. It comes at a time when the club still nurtures slim hopes of a final four placement in the Premiership. To achieve a finish in fourth, Chelsea must win all of the remaining matches and hope that Tottenham slip up.

Although Chelsea still have hopes of winning the FA Cup, according to their Brazilian attacking midfielder, Willian Borges da Silva, a player highly thought of the late, great Ray Wilkins whose sad passing is much lamented; even if Chelsea do win the FA Cup, it will only atone in part for the club’s poor showing this season in the Premiership.

Alonso forced absence could work in Chelsea’s favour

Although Alonso’s skills will be sorely missed, the Brazilian born Italian player, Emerson Palmieri dos Santos, is a more than capable replacement. He was, after-all, purchased especially for this sort of eventuality; indeed, Alonso’s misfortune, is Emerson’s window of opportunity.

The 23-year-old left wing-back has to date only played 105 minute’s-worth of football for the Blues since his transfer from Roma in January for an initial fee of £17.5-million. As an attacking full-back, Emerson has a great turn of speed making him faster then Alonso in the sprint. By staying close to the side-lines, he offers Chelsea great overlapping potential and his fast pace means that he can get back into a defensive position when needs must.

He has the skill and wherewithal for playing quick one-twos with the likes of Eden Hazard, making the Blues a real threat on the counter. Although he doesn’t have the experience yet of Alonso, so he won’t be able to go into central positions the way that the Spaniard can; his speed is his real ace in the hole, and can be fatal against his opponents if he can get telling crosses in.

With a little bit of luck

As is often the case with Antonio Conte’s selection process, the non-availability of a first-choice player like Alonso, forces the managers hand, but it can bring about surprisingly good results. One thing is for sure and that is that if they wish claim fourth place in league, they will need some luck, but above all, they will need to find their best form. The same goes of course for the FA Cup.

 

RIP Ray Wilkins – Chelsea Legend On & Off The Pitch Dies

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It is with great sadness that we learned that Ray Wilkins has died after suffering a heart attack recently.

The former Chelsea captain, caretaker, assistant manager and coach lived through some of the clubs hardest times as a player and some of the most glorious times as part of the coaching team.

He will be fondly remembered as a Chelsea legend by fans young and old for his contribution to the history of our great club.

Ray Wilkins Chelsea Captain

To my father’s generation, he is a legend on the pitch having come through the Chelsea academy to the first team at a time when the golden Chelsea generation of the early seventies was fading away and austerity and struggle were the new club order.

He made his debut at 17 and became captain of the team at just 18 years old. He became the heart of the team of the mid to late 70’s battling relegation and winning promotion with the club.

It was with great reluctance that mounting debts saw Wilkins leave Stamford Bridge as a player in 1979 and go on to play for Manchester United.

Ray Wilkins Chelsea Assistant Manager

To my generation, Ray Wilkins will be remembered for his role as a coach and assistant manager. He was a coach during the reign of Gianluca Vialli and when he was sacked was caretaker manager for just one game (that he won).

A role he would also fill when Luis Felipe Scolari was sacked that also saw him victorious making him arguably the most successful manager in our history.

Wilkins will most be remembered for his coaching during the time under Carlo Ancelotti, where he was acknowledged by the Italian as a key cog in the double winning season of 2009-2010.

Unfortunately, something behind the scenes happened and he was unceremoniously cast aside and sacked by the club (reportedly without the consent of Ancelotti). This highlighted his importance to the team that never really recovered leading to the sacking of Ancelotti in the summer.

A true gentleman he was a respected member of the football community with an unparalleled understanding of the game.

He will truly be missed. RIP Ray Wilkins 1956 – 2018