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Can Chelsea Win The Champions League 2017-2018?

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After a year on the sidelines, European football returns to Stamford Bridge with fans debating can Chelsea win the Champions League 2017-2018?

The simple answer is of course, but competition across Europe is tougher than ever with strong Italian, German, French and Spanish challenges for the title expected.

The key is a simple group qualification to make sure you face a runner up in the round of 16.

Once you enter knock out football anything can happen. That is something that every Chelsea fan should remember considering our own run to lift the title in Munich five years ago.

This year European giants and Tottenham will be targeting glory in Ukraine but there is a long way to go.

Can Chelsea Win Champions League Group?

The return to the big time starts off with a relatively straight forward against Azerbajani minnows FC Qarabag which masks a tough group which includes Roma and Athletico Madrid.

This makes beating FC Qarabag home and away vital to ensure we maintain momentum. Dropping points could mean needing to get results away at Roma or Athletico to guarantee qualification.

It is not going to be easy but with Morata, Hazard and Willian we have an attacking threat to match any defence we might have to break down.

If you like intriguing footballing stories then check out how FC Qarabag have brought together a war-torn region, but don’t play in their traditional homeland. See the story

Champions League Knockout Stages

The big unknown is always the knockout stages, you can get a fortuitous draw and avoid the big guns or you can get a Bayern Munich, Real Madrid or Barcelona straight away.

This will not overly concern Antonio Conte as you have to beat the big teams to lift the trophy and I doubt he will try and shirk from a challenge.

Can Chelsea win Champions League 2017-2018

Predicting the Champions League is impossible but with Morata making a fast start to his Chelsea career we have the tools to beat any team on their day.

In the meantime, we might as well enjoy the ride.

Alvaro Morata Song – Time To Remove Yid From The Chelsea Songbook

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The sign of a good start to your Chelsea career is getting your own chant. The Alvaro Morata song shows the positive impression his goals and performances have had on the Chelsea faithful.

However, it has also highlighted the conflict I have with some of our chants and the continued use of the term Yid. This song has caused controversy and put the Chelsea media team on the back foot.

Not sure what I am on about the song shown below, uses a common tune and the the use of the word is pretty clear.

Why The Controversy?

Yid is an offensive term for a Jew. Therefore it has no place in our football vocabulary and should be easy to police right?

Well….. it’s removal from football has been complicated by the use of the term by Tottenham fans who call themselves the “Yid Army” and chant it at every game home and away.

This should not be an excuse for its use by Chelsea fans, you can only be responsible for your own behaviour. It should not need to be pointed out that using racial slurs is inappropriate at any time, especially in a crowd of people at a televised event shown around the world.

I welcome the club taking action to make this clear.

Denying that Chelsea have not had a problem with anti-Semitism in the past would be naive, but if it persists today it is a tiny minority and not representative of our fans. I do not think that the majority of fans that sing this have racial intent in their words.

We need to ensure the songs we sing reflect this.  there are a couple of common Chelsea songs that feature the offending word.

They need to be changed or consigned to history.

We already have some great songs about Tottenham that do not use this word or court controversy, let’s stick to these.

 

Here are famous Chelsea fan David Baddiel’s thoughts on it from 2013 that still hold true today.

Time For A New Alvaro Morata Song

Chelsea have handled the arrival of the Alvaro Morata song well, they have condemned it quickly and briefed the player to make a public statement.

The controversy is not Morata’s fault and let’s hope fans come up with a new Morata song soon.

Songs About Tottenham We Can All Enjoy

I am sure that our fans can come up with other equally creative songs that annoy Tottenham fans without using the term Yid. Here are some examples of songs that we should sing instead.

 

Why Leicester Away Is Great For Chelsea Fans

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Leicester Away Chelsea

This week sees the current Champions face the former Champions in what will be a good test of how each side has progressed since the start of the season.

However, the best part of the end of the international break is that away days are back and Leicester away is always enjoyable whatever the result.

Leicester Away For Chelsea Fans

Leicester away is one of my favourite Chelsea away games. Easy to get to with away fan friendly chain pubs on route, it is a good day out whatever the results.

The police are friendly and don’t try and impose themselves too much and fans are able to move around the city freely with a minimal amount of fuss.

Although there is a ten-minute walk from the City Centre to the pub, it is not too much of a hardship and includes a walk past of Leicester’s other iconic stadium where the Leicester Tigers Rugby Union team play. When you win its an easy trip back to the city but if we lose it can feel like a bit of a trek.

Leicester Away Chelsea

A Little Bit Of Football

Chelsea have put a freak result against Burnley behind us to recover to six points and back in the hunt. Leicester have had a mixed start to the season with one win and defeats to Manchester United and Arsenal. The latter being a seven goal thriller that Leicester lost due to two late goals.

Victory for Chelsea will provide momentum in an important seven game September across three competitions and keep pace with a top half of the table that already has a familiar feel to it.

The result can be something to ruin an away day and results at Leicester have been mixed. Highlights include when we all but sealed the 2015 title here and you can even see the FamousCFC.com in the BBC image (if you look really closely)

Chelsea Homegrown Players 2017-2018 Champions League

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Due to the sale or loan of English squad players, the Chelsea homegrown players 2017/2018 Champions League list features less well-known players than it would have done last season.

The Blues have lost Nathan Ake, Ruben Loftus Cheek, Nathaniel Chalobah all would have been likely to feature if they had stayed at the club. Then there are the likes of Tammy Abraham who is out on loan for the second season in a row who we really wish was available given our lack of options up front.

What Is The Homegrown Players Rule?

UEFA homegrown player rules mean that Antonio Conte has to name 8 homegrown players within his 25 man squad.

Homegrown Player Definition – UEFA defines locally-trained or ‘homegrown’ players as those who, regardless of their nationality, have been trained by their club or by another club in the same national association for at least three years between the age of 15 and 21.Four of the locally-trained players must be from the club itself, with the others being either from the club itself or from other clubs in the same association.

A quirk of this is that Spainaird Cesc Fabregas is considered Association homegrown a significant bonus for Conte. He is joined on that list be new signing Danny Drinkwater who will be taking part in his second Champions League campaign.

Chelsea Homegrown Players 2017-2018 Champions League

B Squad (qualified at Chelsea)

  • Kyle Scott (Midfield)
  • Andreas Christensen (Defence)
  • Charly Musonda (Midfield)
  • Jake Clarke Salter

Association Homegrown

  • Danny Drinkwater
  • Gary Cahill
  • Victor Moses
  • Cesc Fabregas

Although these players are in the squad Conte has full autonomy in who he picks for each game from the list of 25.

Here are some videos that may help introduce you to our B list players and show you what they might bring to the table in the Champions League

 

 

 

Full Chelsea 2017-2018 Champions League Squad List – Costa Axed & Lots Of Youth

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Chelsea 2017-2018 Champions League Squad with Munich 2012 banner

Diego Costa has been axed from the Chelsea 2017-2018 Champions League Squad in order to protect his value to potential suitors in January.

These will include our Group C rivals Athletico Madrid for whom Costa played before signing for the Blues. It is expected that a deal for Costa will be made between Athletico and Chelsea once their transfer ban expires at the start of the January window.

This exclusion means that Chelsea will only have two forwards registered for the group stages meaning there will be little room for error.

Conte Forced To Name Youth

UEFA homegrown player rules mean that Antonio Conte has to name 8 homegrown players within his 25 man squad.

Homegrown Player Definition – UEFA defines locally-trained or ‘homegrown’ players as those who, regardless of their nationality, have been trained by their club or by another club in the same national association for at least three years between the age of 15 and 21.Four of the locally-trained players must be from the club itself, with the others being either from the club itself or from other clubs in the same association.

A lack of homegrown players in the Chelsea squad means that Conte has been forced to plug gaps in his squad with youth. Although these players are in the squad Conte has full autonomy in who he picks for each game from the list of 25.

Full Chelsea 2017-2018 Champions League Squad List

Goalkeepers

Tibo Courtois, Willy Callabero, Eduardo

Defenders

David Luiz, Antonio Rudiger, Marcos Alonso, Davide Zappacosta, Gary Cahill, Cesar Azpilicueta, Andreas Christensen, Jake Clarke-Salter,

Midfielders

Cesc Fabregas, Danny Drinkwater, N’Golo Kante, Eden Hazard, Pedro, Tiemoue Bakayoko, Victor Moses, Kenedy, Charly Musonda, Willian, Kyle Scott

Forwards

Alvaro Morata, Michy Batshuayi

Chelsea’s Homegrown Players

B Squad (qualified at Chelsea)

  • Kyle Scott (Midfield)
  • Andreas Christensen (Defence)
  • Charly Musonda (Midfield)
  • Jake Clarke Salter

Association Homegrown

  • Danny Drinkwater
  • Gary Cahill
  • Victor Moses
  • Cesc Fabregas

Hazard Fitness Key As Chelsea Face Tricky September

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The end of the international break sees the season kick off properly for Chelsea fans and Eden Hazard fitness has been something fans have been sweating over during the break.

7 games across 3 different competitions prove the first proper test of depth and quality of the 2017/2018 Chelsea squad.

Hopefully, the international break and closing of the transfer window will have given players and fans perspective and inspiration to push the team forward.

One player missing in August that will be pivotal is Eden Hazard, he comes into the side having helped Belgium become the first European side to qualify for the World Cup in Russia.

It is always frustrating when a player returns to fitness in an international break but it seems that he has come through unscathed.

This is important as we face Arsenal, Man City, Athletico Madrid and a tricky trip to Stoke during the next four weeks. Hazard is the kind of the player that can be the difference between success and failure in these tough games.

Eden Hazard Fitness The Key To Our Season

The fitness of Eden Hazard could be what makes or breaks our season.  We will need the Hazard of last season and not the one before if we are to have any chance of retaining our title. He is the allan key of our attack that can unlock even the toughest of doors.

It has been a tough start to the season without him and I am excited to see how he will interact and partner with Alvaro Morata.

If the two of them can build a solid partnership then Premier League defences will quake in terror. Morata has had a bright start to his Chelsea career and the return of Hazard could be what is needed to keep things rolling.

Teams Chelsea Play In September

Premier League – Leicester (a) Arsenal (H) Stoke (a) Manchester City (H)

EFL Cup – Nottingham Forest

Champions League – FK Qarabag (H), Athletico Madrid (a)

 

New Blue Zappacosta Highlight Reel

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On deadline day Chelsea signed right back Zappacosta (who can also play on the left) from Torino, whilst well respected and an Italian international, fans may be forgiven for not knowing too much.

So here are the obligatory heavily edited videos to whet your appetite as well as some encouraging words from respected journalist Marcotti about the type of player we have signed.

 

Boga and Oxlade-Chamberlain Help Cahill Replace Mikel As Target of Moaners

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Chelsea came into the season as Champions which should breed confidence, but even before the defeat to Burnley the moaners were out in force.

Football fans like to moan and Chelsea fans are no exception, Chelsea fans have moaned quite a lot since the start of the season despite being Champions and its a bit annoying.

Conte this, the board that, blah, blah, blah. But that is how some people enjoy football so each to his own. There is normally one player that fans scapegoat and moan about incessantly. It seems a section of Chelsea fans have picked their new captain Gary Cahill.

Fans have been moaning about his sending off (understandable), his form (seems fine to me) and recently his indirect role in the loan of Jeremie Boga and transfer of Alex Oxlade Chamberlain.

Fans Always Have A Scapegoat

This is not a new tradition for Chelsea fans (every club has their moaners), just the captain seems an odd choice. For a long time it was John Obi Mikel who the persistent moaners would incessantly try and belittle even on the terraces pick as their target of choice.

The focus on Cahill was noticeable last season but has gone up a notch since the start of the season. It has not been helped by his sending off that led to defeat at Burnley, which some would have you believe ruined the career of Jeremie Boga.

Cahill’s form has been up and down at times but in general he is one of our most consistent performers. Whilst his sending off did mean Boga’s first start was just 15 minutes long, it did not end his Chelsea career. If Conte saw a role for him he would have stayed and gotten other opportunities.

My favourite moan is about his indirect role in the Oxlade-Chamberlain transfer. Oxlade-Chamberlain signed for Liverpool after Cahill was recruited to convince him to join the Blues. The tweets have been a mix of genuine moans and humour.

It is hard to believe that Oxlade Chamberlain was inspired by anything other than his desire to play in midfield and a possible aversion to silverware in his decision to choose Liverpool over Chelsea.

Get Behind Our Captain

Cahill has taken on the poisoned chalice of taking over the captaincy from the incredibly popular club legend John Terry and has done a good job in continuity. He is one of the last two Munich veterans still playing for the club.

Whilst that does not make Cahill immune to criticism the pessimism and moaning from some fans has been at epidemic levels since the first day of the season.

Now the transfer window is over and the season starts in earnest, let’s get behind our captain and the club.

 

 

Who The Frick Is Zappacosta

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With Diego Costa unhappy it seems that Chelsea still wanted some Costa in their lives by signing Italian international Zappacosta from Torino.

We will be honest this is not a player that was on our radar at all, however, he was given an Italian debut by Mr Conte himself so it is someone the gaffer knows a bit about at least.

So who is he?

Zappacosta is a right back with four Italian caps, that sums up our knowledge here are some videos of the 28 million Euro man.

 

Is The 2017/2018 Chelsea Squad Good Enough?

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So the transfer window is closed and a defender and a midfielder have been squeezed into the 2017/2018 Chelsea squad.

The media, pundits and even fans are questioning whether Morata, Drinkwater, Bakayoko, Rudiger and Zappacosta add anything to a team that won the title last season. They have replaced Costa, Terry and Matic which on the face of it seems like a good trade.

Here is a breakdown of the different positions to consider when asking if this 2017/2018 Chelsea squad is good enough after the transfer window.

 2017/2018 Chelsea Squad Goalkeeper

Despite selling Asmir Begovic, the addition of Willy Caballero means we have a quality no.1 and two respected back up goalkeepers. This is the one position that Chelsea have had no drama with this transfer window.

Strength Rating – 9/10

 

Defender

Chelsea stacked up in defence with Zappacosta and Rudiger arriving with Andreas Christensen integrated back in after several loan spells.  The squad looks light on back ups for Victor Moses and Marcus Alonso in the wing back positions despite the arrival of Zappacosta. With Azpilicueta capable of playing on either side the this may be enough providing we are lucky with injuries.

Strength and Depth Rating – 6/10

Midfield

The arrival of Drinkwater and Bakayoko means that Chelsea have in theory strengthened the depth in midfield. The sale of Matic is still confusing but with Kenedy staying we are doubled up for wide players and Charly Musonda may get a chance to make his mark.

Strength and Depth Rating – 8/10

Attack

Ignoring Diego Costa Chelsea have just two specialist strikers.

Morata has started well in the Premier League but it will take time to be sure he can keep the pace in the Premier League. As his back up questions remain as to whether Batshuayi is currently at the level to provide consistent support.

Strength and Depth Rating – 5/10

Is The 2017/2018 Chelsea Squad Good Enough?

Despite the doom and gloom of the window, we still have a talented squad that can compete with anyone on their day. If key players such as Morata, Hazard and Alonso stay fit for the majority of the season then anything is possible.

We have a lot of games this season due to European involvement and it would great to see youth on the fringes such as Charly Musonda rotated into the team.

If any of these players are injured we may see cracks start to appear, let’s hope this can be another great season for the Blues.

Overall Strength and Depth Rating – 6.5/10