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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 162014
 

Picture by  EG Focus 

With only seven matches of the season played, Chelsea is already five points clear at the top of the table, have scored 21 goals and conceded just seven.

It is being suggested that this season’s title race will be a procession and that the Blues can even go through the campaign unbeaten as they end their five-year wait for a Premier League crown.

But how has this transformation come about and why will Chelsea win a fourth title in 11 years?

  1. Jose Mourinho

Love him or hate him, the former Real Madrid, Inter Milan and Porto coach gets results. The Portuguese tactician’s summer transfer dealings were superb and his eye for detail remains as keen as ever. Stamford Bridge is Mourinho’s spiritual home and all his transfer dealings and controversies can be followed on bluesq.com, as well as all the on-field action that the ‘Special One’ has his say in.

  1. Diego Costa

There were concerns about the former Atletico Madrid’s fitness but the 26-year-old has responded with goals – nine of them in seven appearances including a hat-trick against Swansea City and a brace in the 6-3 win at Everton. Fernando Torres’ exploits in a Chelsea shirt now seem like a distant memory.  

  1. Cesc Fabregas

Arsene Wenger may say he passed up the opportunity to lure Fabregas back to the Gunners in the summer and, if that is the case, that was a serious error of judgment by the Frenchman. Fabregas has set up more goals on his own so far this season than nine Premier League teams have managed. The Spaniard has in a word been superb.

  1. Brilliant goalkeepers

When Thibaut Courtois had to be replaced in the 2-0 victory against Arsenal it wasn’t a callow youth that came on to replace him, but Petr Cech, still only 32 and one of the world’s best goalkeepers. No other Premier League side can lay claim to two such fine shot-stoppers.

  1. Midfield dynamos

Eden Hazard, Oscar, Ramires, Willian, Nemanja Matic, Andre Schurrle, and Fabregas – Mourinho has a wealth of midfield options at his disposal.

The decision to sell Juan Mata to Manchester United, derided at the time but now seen as a master-stroke, has opened up all sorts of possibilities for the Blues who can call on flair, solidity and reliability in a midfield of supreme talent.

 Posted by at 12:09 pm
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 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 042014
 

Arsenal will be facing another test of might when they go against Chelsea on Sunday. The last time both teams met, Jose Mourinho’s side exuded class when they put 6 goals past the mediocre Gunners. Ahead of the crunchy tie, the Gunners will be without defenders: Mathieu Debuchy and Nacho Monreal, midfielders: Mikel Arteta, Aaron Ramsey and Serge Gnabry with attackers: Oliver Giroud and Theo Walcott also out due to injury worries, but, Arsene Wenger will be looking to capitalize on their mid-week victory over Turkish outfit, Galatasaray.

Chelsea on the other hand will aim to continue with their excellent start in the much anticipated London derby. The Blues already have a three point advantage at the top of the Premier League table and with the quality of players they have at their disposal, they may be set to push on and claim their first title since 2010. Wenger is yet to record a single win over Mourinho and will be hoping to turn the table against the mercurial Portuguese, and with his summer arrival Danny Welbeck blazing on all guns, the Frenchman might just be ready to try new things.

Arsenal’s Vice-Captain Per Mertesacker is also confident that with the boost that the team has received from their Champions League victory, they will be too much to handle for the Premier league leaders but if the Gunners envisage a win come Sunday and then there are 3 very important things they need to consider:

Physical Presence: Jose Mourinho is widely known for his strength based tactics. The former Real Madrid manager had invented the ‘Parking the bus ‘ slogan which has now gone viral for any team that chooses to play a premeditated defensive style. His plan will most likely be to deploy Nemanja Matic and Even Mikel Obi to muscle down the Gunner’s midfield and then play erstwhile Arsenal captain Cesc Fabregas in a more advanced role. So with Aaron Ramsey already ruled out, Arsenal’s best bet will be to introduce Abou Diaby into the fray to inject some physical presence. In 21st century football, matches are won from the midfield, so once Wenger attempts to match the Blues physical abilities, Jose might likely change to long range passes which will allow the Gunners more space.

Cautiousness: The last time both teams met, Wenger had hoped to get ahead of Chelsea in the earlier stages and then drop down defensively with just occasional counter attacks. The plan which unfortunately didn’t come to fruition resulted in a sickening loss. This time, the Gunners should take their time and attempt to settle into the game. This tactic although risky might throw Chelsea of their game and seek to press further.  Arsenal can then advance with their tiki-taka style.

Finally, Arsenal must be wary of Mourinho’s tactics. The Portuguese might likely deploy rough tackling players like Matic with detailed instructions to bring out certain players. The moment Arsenal players attempt to retaliate, they lose focus and with anger venting in their veins, they might not be able to follow their plans closely enough to avoid a defeat on Sunday.

Admin note – This article was sent to us by Kolade Omotosho an Arsenal fan “friend” of ours.

 Posted by at 6:44 pm
Oct 032014
 

Chelsea and Serbian midfielder Nemanja Matic has claimed that Chelsea have moved on without the services of their all-time goal scorer – Frank James Lampard.

Lampard represented Chelsea from 2001 – 2014 establishing himself as one of the best midfielder in the game and going on to notch 211 goals for the club thus making him the club’s all-time goal scorer.

Lampard has since moved on with his career after the expiration of his contract with Chelsea in the summer securing a move to US franchise New York City FC but was loaned to Chelsea’s title rival Manchester city until January.

Questions have been raise as to why Chelsea allowed Lampard to go, more so, joining a strong City side and after Lampard scored against his former side after coming on as a substitute in City’s 1-1 draw with Chelsea at the Etihad and going on to score three more goals against Sheffield Wednesday in the capital one cup and Hull City in the premier league further questions have been raised as to whether Chelsea were right in letting Frank Lampard leave Stamford Bridge.

Lampard’s midfield partner in the second half of 2013/2014 season- Nemanja Matic has however, moved swiftly to dismiss those questions and fears. Matic believes that the team has been doing fine without Super Franky. Matic also talk up goals from players like Diego Costa have filled the void left by Frank Lampard.

 “In this moment Chelsea have different players scoring every match. Of course Diego has been doing very well and scored eight in six league games – that is not easy to do. But I think as a team we are perfect,” Matic said.

“It’s important to have a player in form like Diego that can score in every game if possible. But we have already had 11 players scoring goals and that’s good for team spirit and for the club.

“It shows we have a lot of quality in the team and every player can be decisive, in every moment. As a group we are really strong. Chelsea plays like one. Everything is going well for us.” - Nemanja Matic

Lampard was massive for Chelsea in his days at the club. That has earned him rightly a legendary status among the rank and file in Chelsea but the club has seemed to move on without him. Currently topping the Barclay Premier league table, into the fourth round of the capital one cup and tops its group in the Champions League competition. Players brought in- Cesc Fabregas and Diego Costa have stepped up their game and the team is playing well. Lampard will remain a Chelsea legend and may at one point or the other take up a role in whatever capacity in a club he has huge respect for, but at the moment both parties are doing fine without each other.

 Posted by at 9:46 am
Oct 022014
 

According to reports, Chelsea a looking at landing Benfica and Brazilian wonder kid Anderson Talisca. Jose Mourinho side is thought to be interest in signing the Benfica youngster when the winter transfer window opens in January. Chelsea have done some good transfer business with Benfica after signing players like Ramires, David Luiz and even Nemanja Matic in recent times and with reports linking Anderson Talisca to Chelsea, it seems the blues will look to continue to snap up nice players coming through Benfica.

Talisca has been brilliant for Benfica this season scoring five goals in six games in the Portuguese Liga Don Sagres. Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho have also spoken about the player in glowing terms and many see him as a player who will replace Didier Drogba at Stamford Bridge as the Ivorien is set to retire at the end of the current season. But, before he makes his switch to SW6 we take a look at five things fans should know about the Brazilian wonder kid.

1. Training and Academy:

Anderson Talisca came through the academy system at Brazilian club Bahia in the Brasilerao. Talisca quickly progressed upwards through the club’s youth system into the first team and was by far their best player prior to his transfer to Benfica in July 2014. Barcelona right full back Dani Alves is also a product of Bahia youth system.

  1.  Record Transfer Fee

Bahia received a club record fee of £3.2 million from Benfica before his move last summer. The £3.2 million is the highest Bahia have received from the sale of any of their player and is thought to be £1.7 million higher than the fee Sevilla paid for Dani Alves who was bought for £500,000

3. Physique

Talisca is 6ft 2 or 188cm and weighs 72kg. It is rare to see attacking midfielders of his height in modern day games and should he join Chelsea he would immediately be joint tallest attacker alongside Diego Costa and Didier Drogba.

  1. Position and Qualities:

Talisca is a left-footed attacking midfielder who likes playing from the left and cutting in but has shown that he is also capable of leading the line when called upon. He is technically gifted with a great pace, strong in the air, can hold up play, shoot from long range and is a threat in set pieces.

  1.  International Career

The Youngster with full name Anderson Souza Conceição Talisca was born in Brazil on 01-02-1994 and at just 20-year-old and has represented the Brazilian national team at under-20 level. He shouldn’t have any problem settling at Chelsea if a move materialise. The Blues already have four Brazilian in their first team squad in Filipe Luis, Ramires, Oscar and Willian and those will help him settle down as fast as possible.

 Posted by at 4:45 pm
Sep 292014
 

After a comfortable win at Aston Villa over the weekend in the league game, Chelsea travels to the Alvalade stadium in Lisbon to face Sporting CP. Chelsea and Sporting Lisbon will look to pick their first three points in the Champions League after a less-than impressive performance saw the two teams picking up just a point in a 1-1 draw in match day one of the Uefa champions league 2014/2015 season against Schalke 04 and Maribor respectively, hence, the more important it becomes for both manager to unleash the best of their arsenal come Tuesday night.

Sporting manager Marco Silva will fancy going with the side that drew one all with FC Porto in the Portuguese Liga ZON Sagres with Rui Patricio in goal and the quartet of Mauricio, Mahamadou-Naby Sarr, Jonathan Cristian Silva and Cedric Soares holding down their place in the back four. William Carvalho will continue as the team’s Central defensive midfielder alongside Joao Mario and Adrien Silva. Nani, Andre Carrilo and Islam Slimani will complete the attacking trio upfront though its likely Carrilo loses his place to Diego Chapel after his not-too-impressive showing against FC Porto at the weekend.

There could also be a place for Fredy Montero and Carlos Mane in the line-up especially if the manager decides to go all attacking in so as to get a result against a decent Chelsea side.

Mourinho on his part will be left with a hard decision to make as regarding his likely line-up bearing in mind the London derby against Arsenal on Sunday. Thibaut Courtois will likely keep his place in between the sticks in place of the experienced and trusted Petr Cech. More so, because he had a clean sheet against Aston Villa his second after returning from his loan spell at Atletico Madrid.

The back four of Ivanovic, Cahill, Terry(C), and Azpilicueta will keep their place except for Azpilicueta who will likely make way for Luiz at left back.

With Ramires continuing his recovery from injury, Fabregas will look to partner Nemanja Matic in the central midfield position with Willian, Oscar and Hazard taking their place behind the lone striker. I expect Hazard to start irrespective of the poor game he had at Villa Park though André Schürrle could take Willians position leaving the Brazilian on the bench while his compatriot-Oscar will clearly get the nod as he has been impressive in his last two starts against Bolton and Aston Villa.

Who takes up the lone striker role will depend on what gamble and risk Mourinho is willing to entertain. Chelsea new boy- Diego Costa will be favourite but with reports he cannot start three games in a week due his hamstring making the round, it’s unlikely. Loic Remy looks the best bet to take up his position as many Chelsea fan will not want to entertain the idea of club legend- Didier Drogba repeating his insipid performance against Schalke04 a fortnight ago.

It is still expected though, that Diego Costa overcomes his hoodoo hamstring and makes the line-up.

Probable Line-up:

For Sporting CP:

  • Rui Patricio, Mauricio, Mahamadou-Naby, Cristian, Cedric, Willian, Joao, Adrien, Nani, Carrilo, Slimani.

For Chelsea:

  • Courtois, Ivanovic, Cahill, Terry, Luis, Matic, Fabregas, Willian, Hazard, Schurrle, Costa.

What is your expected line-up?

 Posted by at 6:29 pm
Sep 272014
 

Jose Mourinho’s return to Chelsea FC in June 2013 was heralded by most Chelsea fans as one of the best pieces of business in the Abramovich era. In the previous 2012-2013 season, Jose Mourinho’s Real Madrid team missed out on winning one of the La Liga, Copa Del Rey, and the UEFA Champions League. In fact, the Los Blancos only won the Spanish Super cup in August 2012.

In the 2013/2014 season, his Chelsea side started off with a 2-0 win over Hull City in the opening English Premier League match. However, some weeks later, Everton defeated Chelsea 1-0 at Goodison Park. Despite gaining twenty points against the likes of Arsenal, Manchester United, Liverpool, and eventual league champions- Manchester City; the expensively built South-west London club had to settle for 3rd place by the end of the season.

The third place finish was partly due to Chelsea dropping precious points against Crystal Palace, Sunderland and Aston Villa in the second half of last season. Zero points out of a possible nine, including a loss at home to Sunderland, definitely ended Chelsea’s title hopes.

Jose Mourinho severally claimed that last season’s Chelsea team “was not his team”, having being largely assembled by the likes of former managers Rafa Benitez, Roberto Di Matteo, and Carlo Ancelotti. Even with the January 2014 sale of Mata to rivals, Manchester United, he (Mourinho) still insisted that the he was on a rebuilding mission.

However, this past summer transfer window, Jose Mourinho had the opportunity to shape the team to his preference. He lured the likes of Filipe Luis, Cesc Fabregas, and Diego Costa to the West London club, whilst selling veterans such as Frank Lampard and Ashley Cole. Samuel Eto’o and Demba Ba were also laid off as part of the Portuguese gaffer’s rebuilding exercise.

So far, it seems the rebuilding exercise is paying dividends. In Chelsea’s first seven matches of this season, the team has won five EPL matches, one Capital One cup match, and drawn their opening Champions League match. Seventeen goals have been scored by the side too.

Notwithstanding Chelsea’s impressive start to the season, the real evidence of Mourinho’s re-tooling of the side would be clinching the Premier League and/or the UEFA Champions League titles. A loss in the Champions League final could be acceptable, but losing out in the race to the Premier League title may put Mourinho’s job on the line.

In spite of some media reports which say that Roman Abramovich seeks some ‘coaching stability’ at the club, it would be advisable for the manager to take such words with a pinch of salt.

In the past, Carlo Ancelotti was fired at the end of the 2010/2011 season, despite finishing second behind an impressive Manchester United side. Roberto Di Matteo was fired in November 2012 in spite of being the first manager to win the prestigious UEFA Champions League title for Chelsea.

Therefore, it could be reasonable inferred that falling off the pace in the League, and a non-finalist placing in the Champions League could send the “Happy one” out of South-West London.

 Posted by at 10:06 am
Sep 272014
 

Chelsea’s purchase of the Spaniard from Spanish side, Atletico Madrid, during this past summer transfer window is fast proving to be amongst the best football deals in European football history.

His Seven goals in the English Premier League has catapulted him into the record books, for the most goals scored by a player in his first four matches in England’s top-flight league. To put matters into further context, Fernando Torres, who has been loaned out to Italian giants- AC Milan- took 3 months before he registered his first Premier League goal for the South-west London side.

So, what makes Diego Costa special? For one, at a towering 6ft 2in, he possesses the rare combination of height, power and speed. Last season, he scored 36 goals in 52 appearances for Atletico Madrid. That feat, whilst squaring up against the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, and Lionel Messi of Real Madrid and Barcelona respectively, is certainly one to applaud.

Already, his physicality within the opponents’ 18 yard box has already proven to be a hit for Chelsea FC this season. His style could be compared to Didier Drogba, but the former is a bit more skilful than the powerful Ivorian.

Furthermore, the addition of Cesc Fabregas to the Blues is simply a case of fixing the nut with the bolt. Fabregas has been a big part of Costa’s success so far, chipping in with assists in the EPL games against Burnley and Everton. Fabregas already has SIX Premier League assists to his name.

Also, another factor that could aid Diego Costa’s quest to be the Premier League’s top scorer is the open attacking approach which Manager, Jose Mourinho, seems to favour this season. Unlike last season, when four or five players did most of the attacking plays in matches, and three players in the ‘big’ games (vs Liverpool in the league, Atletico in the Champions League); there is an emphasis on attacking as a team this season.

Both midfield pivots- Nemanja Matic and Fabregas – have been given license to roam forward whenever the opportunity arises. Full-backs Branislav Ivanovic and Cesar Azpilicueta also support the attacking trio of Hazard, Costa, and Oscar.

This bold attacking approach has also left Chelsea vulnerable at the back, which is definitely uncharacteristic of Mourinho-coached teams. So far, Chelsea has shipped seven goals in five league games, including 3 conceded to Everton FC. If the trend of conceding in every match continues, the gaffer may decide to tighten up the defensive shape of the team in the big games.

For instance, Fabregas could play in the ‘hole’ behind Oscar, while Matic and Mikel could be the midfield pivot. Mikel, who rarely ventures into the opponents’ half, let alone near the penalty box, could be relied upon to protect the back-four, while Matic supports the four attacking players in front of him.

Whether Mourinho switches to a more defensive tactic, or continues with the present open attacking philosophy, it may prove to have little or no effect on the high-flying Costa. After all, the Spaniard scored over thirty goals in an Atletico Madrid side which could not be described as a gung-ho side.

Last season’s Atletico team played in a rigid 4-4-2 formation for most of that season. That team played without true wingers, but four central midfielders. Ultimately, if the Fabregas/Costa duo remains healthy for a good majority of the season, its plausible to expect Costa to rack up, at least, 25-30 league goals by the end of the season.

 Posted by at 8:45 am