Shark ENG (1)
Oct 202014

Former Chelsea first choice keeper Petr Cech has continued to receive offers from top European clubs ever since he was deposed of his position as no.1 Chelsea save hands. Cech has been Chelsea’s first choice goalkeeper since he arrived at the London club in 2014 from French side Renne but has seen his position come under threat by Thibaut Courtois who returned from Atletico Madrid where he has been on loan for the past three seasons.

Courtois returned to Chelsea at the commencement of the new season and has quickly established himself as Jose Mourinho preferred man in-between the sticks. This has left Petr Cech who won the best Keeper award in the EPL last season to play a back-up role.

With Cech not comfortable with his recent role at the club, there are rumours the player could be set to leave Stamford Bridge as early as January with a lot of top European club already queuing for his signature.

Real Madrid and Roma have been heavily linked to the keeper but his agent Viktor Kolar has come out to state that top English clubs like Manchester United and Liverpool are also among the host of clubs who have made enquiry concerning the player.

Kolar said:

“There are many options, not just one there are many teams interested in Petr. Roma, Real Madrid, Liverpool, Manchester United we can talk with many clubs that have shown an interest in Cech”

He also spoke of Cech’s preference if a move is ever going to take place.

“He [Cech] wants to be at a club that regularly plays in the Champions League and this is his highest aspiration,” Said Kolar. “He wants to return to being a protagonist in a great squad at a great club.”

Cech’s situation is such most managers wouldn’t want to have. Cech is still one of the best keepers around and keeping him on the bench game after game will not do his career any good. At 32, he still has a lot of football years left in him as most goalkeepers play well into their forties. Letting him go wouldn’t be the best for the club either. But a decision has to be made.

Cech has promised to address his future himself if his situation does not change and one of the possible outcomes could be to move away from the club. For the club, Cech will better off if he moves abroad to clubs like Real Madrid or Roma as it wouldn’t be wise letting one of your best player join a league rival. Manchester United and Liverpool are simply considered as strong title rivals and allowing Cech join any of them would mean to strengthen a rival.

Manchester United already has David De Gea who is already doing fine in the EPL this season. Allowing Cech to join them will mean gifting Manchester United two world class keepers. United however will be a tough choice for Cech as he won’t want to play back-up to De Gea and going by his antecedents, United are not in the Champions league so won’t have much consideration for them.

At Liverpool, he will pick a regular shirt as he is way better than current Liverpool keeper Mignolet, but Liverpool has not been consistent in the Champions League. They are participating in their first Champions League in five years. That makes them easy for Cech to overlook.

Real Madrid would be the best option. Iker Casillas is wanted away at the Bernabéu and Cech could be the man to take his position. The prospect of playing in the Champions league season in season out could also be a big attraction to the Los Blancos. A move abroad would be the best for the club and the player if a move must happen. Chelsea cannot afford to strengthen title rival Manchester United and Liverpool.

 Posted by at 9:52 am
Oct 152014

Jose Mourinho has continued with his search for young talents who will take over from his ageing players and lead the team in the nearest feature. The search for successor to club long standing captain and legend John Terry has seen a lot of young, talented defenders across Europe been linked to Chelsea.

This time, it is young German international and VFB Stuttgart defender Antonio Rudiger that is been linked to the blues. Reports have it that Chelsea is keeping tabs on the 21-year-old former Borussia Dortmund youth player.

Chelsea has been linked to a host of young centre backs in the world, top on the list being Real Madrid and French international Raphael Varane. But with the hefty price tag place on him by the Benerbue outfit it seems Chelsea have shifted their attention to the young German.

Already capped by the German national team, Rudiger is seen as one of the hottest prospect in European football and consequently considered by Jose Mourinho as the perfect like for like long term replacement for John Terry when he calls it quit on his club career.

Valued at around £7m, Chelsea won’t need to break the bank to sign him and the opportunity to play in one of the best young squad that Mourinho is assembling could be an attraction for the player.

Chelsea though still have a number of young central defenders at the club already in the likes of Kurt Zouma and Andreas Christensen but Rudiger is seen as an upgrade to the two. His height of 1.90m or 6ft 3″ bodes well for him as a centre back. He is quick to the ball and good aerially. Can tackle well with both feet and could be an area threat at set pieces.

He has represented Germany at the U-18, U-19, U-20, U-21 levels and has been capped three times by Joachim Low senior side. He has also made appearance in all of VFB Stuttgart’s league game this season though the German side is currently lying third from bottom on the log in Bundesliga.

It’s still unclear when a bid will be made for the 21-year-old but could be anytime soon as the player as expected will be in the radar of many other top team especially with his recent performances which has earned him a national cup up this year.

Chelsea’s defence has remained formidable with the partnership of John Terry and Gary Cahill which was one of the best in the Premier league last season. At 34, it’s not known how long John Terry will continue to perform at optimum level but Chelsea are already making preparations for the player’s retirement and quite a number of young players will be brought in to be an understudy with the hope of taking over from the veteran when he calls it quits on his Chelsea career.

Jose Mourinho is a manager that pays a great attention to his team’s defensive abilities as his first Chelsea squad during his first stint at the club have been hailed by many as one of the most difficult team to beat. The team conceded just 17times in the league in 2004/05 season with much credit to the defensive partnership of John Terry and William Carvalho. He will look to assemble such squad that will be capable of stifling opposition attack again.

Written by Kc Emmanuels

 Posted by at 12:30 pm
Oct 102014

UEFA Champions League defending champions Real Madrid are reportedly lining up £30m for Chelsea midfielder Ramires ahead of the winter transfer window which opens January 1 2015. Real Madrid boss, Carlo Ancelotti is an admirer of the Brazilian’s talent and looks to re-unite himself with the player, who was a key figure for Chelsea during Ancelotti’s time there. This season, however, since Chelsea acquired the services of Cesc Fabregas and Nemanja Matic, the versatile Brazilian midfielder has not seen too much playing time. Real Madrid, though star-studded in the midfield with players like newly signed Toni Kroos, Luka Modric, Asier Illaramendi and others, the manager, Ancelotti would want to expand his options in the midfield hence the interest in Ramires. The Italian, Ancelotti, was the manager at Chelsea when the Blues signed Ramires from Portuguese club, Benfica in the summer of 2010 for €22m.

Though Ramires’ existing contract with Chelsea doesn’t expire in 3 years, it would be down to Real Madrid’s determination to sign him because the knock down fee that Chelsea would expectedly quote as his valuation cannot but be payable by the Spanish giants. Real Madrid are known to be the biggest spenders when it comes to player’s transfer fees in the last few years. The versatile 27-year-old Brazilian is a utility player who has played everywhere in the midfield at one time or another during his time at Benfica and even Chelsea. He is comfortable in either the deep lying or defensive midfield role. He plays as a box-to-box midfielder because of his energy in supporting defensive and offensive play. He has been variously compared to former Chelsea utility player, Michael Essien. He was an important member of the Brazilian squad that was ousted at the semi-final quarter by Germany in the recently concluded 2014 FIFA World Cup hosted by his home land, Brazil.

For Real Madrid as well as any other team, Ramires would make a good signing whatever the valuation of Chelsea is. Ramires brings pace and efficiency when going forward and steel when defending. Not the usual big framed stature of the average midfielder in the English Premier League but the player’s overall contribution to his team is very invaluable. Therefore, it is a plus for Real Madrid if they succeed in their bid to land the versatile Ramires in January. What is not clear though is whether Chelsea is willing to sell the midfielder to the Spanish heavyweights in January or any time in the nearest future. This season, Jose Mourinho has kept faith with Nemanja Matic, Cesc Fabregas, Andrea Schurlle, Eden Hazard, Oscar and sometimes Willian in the Chelsea’s midfield. Most times, Ramires doesn’t even make the substitute bench as Jose Mourinho seems to favour players like John Mikel Obi over Ramires.

The question now would be; is Real Madrid a better option for Ramires, who obviously wants more playing time? Though Carlo Ancelotti has expressed his desire to expand the Real Madrid’s midfield options, it cannot be stated with all certainty that Ramires would always be a starter at Santiago Bernabeu. However, with Carlo Ancelotti at the helm of affairs when it comes to team selection, Ramires may just be favoured as it seems the manager highly rates the Brazilian had some players in his squad, hence the interest in him.

 Posted by at 12:11 pm
Oct 082014

Chelsea’s manager Jose Mourinho has sought to play down on the head injury suffered by first choice goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois in Sunday’s Premier League match. The decision by Chelsea to continue with the Belgian on the field of play after his collision with Alexis Sanchez attracted criticism from different quarters particularly a medical charity, this was after television pictures showed that the Belgian international was bleeding from his ear when he was finally substituted.

However, Chelsea’s manager felt it was the right thing to do at the time following the decision taken by the medical staff to leave him on.

“He is in hospital for tests, but Doctor Biosca (Chelsea’s medical director Paco Biosca) says there’s nothing to be too much worried about,”

“On the bench I don’t communicate with the doctors. I just get decisions. ‘Can he stay (on)?’ ‘Yes’; ‘He has to leave’. ‘Okay’.

“I have no time and no medical qualities to discuss that.

“I was just worried for the kid (Courtois), not worried about the game and the performance.

“We have two of the best three goalkeepers in the world, so when one of them is injured and comes out and the other one comes in, no problem, no change in my heart beat.

“(I was) so confident that Petr could do once more a fantastic job for us.”

The manager still insisted that it was the decision of the medical team to keep the goalkeeper on

“I always tell them (Chelsea’s medical team) when I’m on the bench I don’t want to communicate with them,”

“I just want them to give me a decision and they gave me a decision. For me that’s correct.

“The club doctor, or the club medical department to take control and the responsibility.”

Thibaut Courtois later confirmed through his official tweeter account that the head injury was nothing serious, and the Belgian national team also confirmed that they expect him to join up for international duty for the Euro 2016 qualifiers.

The Premier League introduced a new set of rules in the summer in respect of head injuries which required amongst other things that a club must have a doctor in the tunnel, and that a doctor’s decision regarding a player’s concussed state is final, and that a manager cannot continue to play a player after the doctors says otherwise.

The rules drawn out in respect of management of head injuries in the Premier League is expected to be fully enforced with time.

 Posted by at 2:26 pm
Oct 082014

After the heated match between Arsenal and Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on Sunday, a match who saw Jose Mourinho and Arsene Wenger go head-to-head in the technical area, the Portuguese has said that Arsenal should have finished the match with eight players. He mentioned the fact that Laurent Koscielny should have been sent off for his tackle on Eden Hazard that resulted in the award of a penalty kick. While according to him Calum Chambers and Danny Welbeck are two other Arsenal players that should have received their matching orders during the match.

“It was a difficult game. They started better than us, but Eden gave us the penalty and the first goal and the game could have finished there if it had been a red card.

“I think the referee has had a fantastic performance, but Arsenal could have finished with eight men, Koscielny could have a straight red, a double yellow for Chambers in the first half and a red for Danny Welbeck,” the self styled happy one said.

While Chelsea finished the match with four bookings to Arsenal’s three, the clamour by the Chelsea manager that Arsenal should have finished the match with fewer men on the field should have obviously applied to his team after Gary Cahill’s lunge on Alexis Sanchez, a development that led to the altercation between Arsene Wenger and Jose Mourinho.

The match was like deja-vu for Arsene Wenger’s side where they have had to leave Stamford Bridge with either a defeat or a draw under Jose Mourinho’s guidance in the Portuguese two spells in charge of the West London side.

Arsenal had started the match on an equal footing with their fierce rivals, but where second best after falling behind, as they could not make in roads through Chelsea’s obdurate defensive walls.

The defeat continues Arsenal’s less than impressive records against the big teams, and in big matches, as they continued to be found wanting in the big games.

Arsenal would have to negotiate a way up the table in the coming months especially with the club now nine points behind Chelsea after just seven games, and with just two wins from seven matches, it makes Arsenal’s second worst start to the Premier League after the debacle that was in the beginning of the 2011/2012 season.

While there are still 31 matches still to be played in the league, it is already looking like Groundhog Day for Arsenal all over again in the Premier League.

 Posted by at 2:24 pm
Oct 072014

Before Sunday’s Premier League match day seven London derby between Chelsea and Arsenal, two teams remain unbeaten in the current league season. Chelsea and Arsenal were the two teams but it was evident that after 90minutes of football action at the Bridge only one of the team will still retain that ‘unbeaten’ title.

Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea got it after beating Arsenal 2-0 courtesy of Eden Hazard’s first half penalty and a Diego Costa’s late strike hence retaining the ‘unbeaten team’ title and extending its lead at the top of the table to five points.

This isn’t saying Arsenal didn’t put up a fight because the gunners really did. Dominating possession early on, putting up a fight and proving too strong for Chelsea to break down unlike in their 6-0 loss back in March. In fact at 1-0 the game was still open and the Gunners really wanted to take something out of the game until Diego Costa lobbed the ball over an on-rushing Wojciech Szczesny.

After the game, the question on most football follower’s lip is whether this Chelsea team is good enough to go unbeaten this season with many already comparing Jose Mourinho’s squad to the Arsenal’s 2003/2004 Invincible that went unbeaten in the league the entire season.

One of those who believe the recent Chelsea team is not far from that of Arsenal invincible is former Liverpool and Tottenham midfielder Jamie Redknapp. The 41-year-old football pundit believes that this Chelsea team is beginning to look like the Vieira led Arsenal Invincible squad.

“Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea are up for a fight and have quality all over the pitch … they’re starting to resemble Arsenal’s Invincibles.” Said Redknapp

“The best side I ever faced were Arsenals Invincibles. They had quality all over the pitch, they were powerful and they hardly had any weaknesses. Now Chelsea are starting to look just as strong. I dont know if Jose Mourinhos team can go unbeaten, but when you look through the squad they have so many options in every position. If you want a war with them, they are up for the fight. If they want to open up the game, theyve got the pace and skill of Eden Hazard and his midfield mates. And if they want to sit and play on the counter, theyve got the speed and power of Diego Costa.” – Jamie Redknapp

The Chelsea team is looking like a great team already but there is no need comparing them with the Arsenal’s invincible. Chelsea have brought in some great players like Cesc Fabregas, Diego Costa and Filipe Luis and the manager is setting them up to play like a characteristic Jose Mourinho team.

While the Arsenal 2003/2004 Invincible squad had great players like Jens Lehmann, Lauren, Kolo Toure, Sol Campbell, Ashley Cole, Fredrik Ljungberg, Gilberto Silva,Patrick Vieira, Robert Pires, Dennis Bergkamp, Thierry Henry as their starting eleven, this Chelsea team is a mixture of experience and youth with great talents.

There is no need debating if the team will go unbeaten as the season is still fresh, competition is stiff and there are many more matches to play but there is no doubt Jose Mourinho is setting his side to be an unbeatable machine and if Chelsea does go unbeaten this season, Cesc Fabregas will become the first player to feature for two Invincible teams in English top flight football.

 Posted by at 12:30 pm
Oct 032014

In a move that many suspected when the Ivorian, Didier Drogba signed a one year deal to return to the Chelsea, Jose Mourinho has confirmed that the 36 year olds future lies with the Club.

“It is a return to stay. No longer will there be more Drogba in China or Drogba playing at Galasaray. Drogba will be a coach or assistant youth football team or the main ambassador of Chelsea or assistant director of sports”

“There will be a role for him what he wants. He is a player who Mr. Abramovich wants at the club”.

The Chelsea striker is undoubtedly one of the greatest players ever to play for the club. The former Marseille man is the fourth highest goal scorer of all time for the London club. He has scored the most goals of any non English player ever to play at the club.

It is no surprise that the Chelsea hierarchy want the veteran at the club, as an ambassador for the growing Chelsea brand. The former African player of the year was voted by the club’s supporters as the club’s greatest ever player in October 2012.

A non playing role at the club was inevitable, as the Ivorian is a loved figure at the Bridge; his teammates and even current manager have only good things to say about him;

“.. Didier is a special person. And I repeat if I may: person. I could say player of course- an unbelievable one- but above all, his impact on the world at the moment as a person; as an African, as an emperor of the Ivory Coast, as a father, and as a son and friend. And some of us have the privilege to have him in our lives.” – Jose Mourinho on Drogba

Didier Drogba would make a perfect ambassador and will do a lot to raise the club profile in every part of the world. The former Shanghai Shenhua forward is a Goodwill Ambassador appointed by the United Nations Development programme and helped end the civil war in Ivory Coast after five years of incessant fighting.

After Ivory Coast qualified for the 2006 world Cup, Drogba made a desperate plea to the combatants asking them to lay down their arms and later helped move a Nations cup qualifier to rebel stronghold of Bouake, a move that helped confirm the peace process.

The father of three, is not lacking in the influence every Ambassador needs, as he was named one of the world’s most influential people by Times magazine in 2010.

Even the Vatican recognized the Ivory Coast Legend after Chelsea’s Champions league victory of 2012. The Vatican’s sports office paid tribute to the ageing striker;

“the Vatican and the Holy father is always interested in such athletes as they are role models for others” -Father Kevin Lixey, Director of the Vatican office of Church and Sport told CNN about Drogba”

Chelsea fans will be thankful, to have an actual legend remain with the club for the Long term. Drogba still has a lot to contribute to the Blues… even in a non-playing capacity.

 Posted by at 12:55 pm
Sep 192014

After their surprising draw in the Champions League against Schalke, the Blues have made the road to topping their group a little steeper; it however doesn’t mean they can’t pull it off.

The air around the dressing room after Wednesday’s draw at home against the dogged German side was one of disappointment;

“We were pretty comfortable in the first half. The manager stressed at half time that we looked a bit sloppy late on in the first half and not to throw it away. We did exactly what he predicted, so it’s disappointing to drop points in the first game at home

One good sign to take from the above quote is that Jose Mourinho allegedly saw it coming, which might go a long way to ensure that such complacency happens less often.

Chelsea supporters will be comforted by the thought that last season’s campaign was even worse as the Blues lost their match day one game against Basel.

It also helps to rationalize Wednesday’s draw, when you think of the fact that of all the 3 teams the Blues will encounter home and away, Schalke 04 is probably the strongest of the lot.

Games against Sporting and Maribor should end in wins for the Blues and the return leg against Schalke should see the league table decided.

With both the English and German side likely to overcome their other opponents, all is set for a table topping decider with the draw in their first game, probably ensuring that Chelsea won’t rest any players come the second leg, a full strength Chelsea v. a full strength Schalke is still most likely to end in the Blues topping the table.

A make or mar match will be nothing new to the Blues. The 2012 winning side have been through a disappointing first game before;

“We lost our first Champions League game last season and we came back to win the group and go through. We’ve got some tough games coming up, but that’s our aim again”- Captain John Terry.

The above quote proves that despite an initial disappointment this early in the campaign, the Blues know their worth as potential winners of this group and are ready to work hard for it.

Helping them was the news that after 90minutes Sporting Lisbon drew with Maribor, and thus ensuring that the London side top the table.

Jose Mourinho side will not have an easy ride of it, but seem determined to win every game they play;

“The result was not what we were expecting because we want to win every game. We could have scored more goals but we were a bit unlucky I think. We had lots of positive things in the match. All the team worked hard to get the result but it wasn’t enough” – Frenchman Loic Remy

Many pundits despite Wednesday’s draw will not change the predictions they gave, on the day the draw was announced. Chelsea got an easy group and they will top it, very easily.

 Posted by at 2:41 pm
Sep 182014

Demba Ba has confirmed he could have stayed at Chelsea, as Jose Mourinho wanted him to stay but had to leave to where he can play regular first team football. The Senegalese forward had always been somewhat prolific. He scored 14 goals for Hoffenheim in his first season and was integral to their promotion to the Bundesliga, the following year. At the end of his time there, Ba had scored a respectable 40 goals in 103 appearances for the German club.

At West Ham, he was also bagged 7 goals in 12 games and was their highest goal scorer at the end of the season, despite being a winter buy. At Newcastle, the lanky forward again finished his first season at club as the highest goal scorer of the team yet again, banging in 16 goals.

Then in January 2013, he joined Chelsea football club for three and a half years in an undisclosed fee and his career seemed to be projecting upwards. He scored 2 goals on his debut in the third round FA cup tie against Southampton and the fans were singing in his name.

The goals seemed to dry up after then and Demba Ba found himself slowly relegated to the Bench. By the end of his Chelsea career, he had scored only 14 goals and eventually had to make way along with his other striking compatriots for the arrivals of Didier Drogba, Diego Costa and Loic Remy.

So what went wrong for Demba Ba? We believe 2 reasons contributed to his underwhelming form and eventual departure.

  1. The curse of Fernando Torres

Fernando Torres, the 50million golden boy was an embarrassment to the club and Chelsea for many years after the mistake was made, failed to admit it. They kept on playing the Spaniard, over and above more deserving players. If the London club had given players like Sturidge, Kalou and Anelka as many chances as they gave Torres, maybe they would have all retired at the club. Chelsea’s constant experiment at seeing if Torres might regain previous form is partly why other players, who were off form themselves, were dismissed so easily.

If Chelsea had been patient with Demba Ba and trusted him a bit more, maybe they would have gained a lot from him in the end.

  1. Demba is a small team striker

For some inexplicable reason, it has been found out, that certain players do well when the quality of teammates that they play alongside, are poor or average. This theory at first seemed baffling until I looked at some case studies more closely.

How is it that the Senegalese was scoring for fun at different small clubs like Hoffenheim, who were in Germany’s division 2 when he got there, West Ham who were eventually relegated and an amazingly incompetent Newcastle side?

Yet the 29 year old gets to a Chelsea team with so much world class attacking talent and fails to deliver.

The answer at the end doesn’t seem that hard. Demba Ba is a small fish and by that I mean he’s a player of very average quality. When a small fish is in a small pond, it becomes very visible and seems bigger than it actually is.

When it gets to a big pond with actual big fishes, he seems small in comparison.

So… what went wrong with Demba Ba? The answer is simply that he wasn’t good enough for a big team like the Blues.

 Posted by at 5:41 pm
Sep 182014

World Cup winner, Germany’s Andre Schurrle has been recognized by BBC’S match of the day (MOTD) for he’s well taken effort against Burnley in Chelsea’s first match of the season. The goal was voted the best goal in the month of August, and the Chelsea star beat out Liverpool man, Alberto Moreno and Everton’s left winger McGeady to clinch the prestigious award.

The former Leverkusen man amassed 25 per cent of the vote, beating new Liverpool signing Alberto Moreno, whose goal away at Tottenham earned 18 per cent of the votes.

Aiden McGeady’s opening day goal for Everton against Leicester City finished third with 15 per cent.

Schurrle’s exquisite goal was started when Fabregas passed up to the German in the center. With Hazrd already accelerating, the winger laid the ball off, leaving Hazard in possession and accelerating into the final third. Hazard takes the ball and gallops towards the Burnley box, with both Lukas Jutkiewicz and Mike Duff both lunging in and failing to make challenge, and for a moment it looked like Hazard might go all the way.

Instead, having sucked four defenders into him and leaving a fifth in the dust, he lays the ball off to Branislav Ivanovic, steaming up from the right wing. The entire Burnley midfield has collapsed courtesy Hazard’s earlier surge forward and with an Ivanovic cross to the back post having led to a Diego Costa goal only 4minutes earlier, the back line is assuming that the right back will try something similar with the ball. However, he goes for the much better option instead.

Ivanovic hits a looping cross to Fabregas and as the cross approaches him, every one assumes he’ll shoot. But as the ball is coming over to him, he sees Schurrle making a clever run behind the Burnley line. A half volleyed pass finds the German, who’s first time finish, finds the back of the net.

Schurrle is internationally renowned for making intelligent runs in behind the defense and is generally seen as a very intelligent player.  Without his amazing run to give Cesc Fabregas an option to use, the Spaniard might have attempted to volley Ivanovic’s looping cross. Most attempted volleys on the edge of the box can go off the side of a player’s boot, and fly wide.

Sometimes, a player gets on the end of an amazing build up like the one that set up the Schurrle goal against Burnley, and isn’t given enough credit for his part in the goal. Schurrle’s exceptional run was the main reason for that goal.

The award to Schurrle is the first time a Chelsea player has won the award since the Brazilian Alex scored with an amazing free kick in October 2010.

The Blues will be hoping that as the season progresses, that their team is awarded more accolades similar to this one. Manager, player and goal of the month awards, are an indication that the team is achieving its primary goal of winning the Premier League title.

 Posted by at 3:39 pm