Apr 242014
 

Jose Mourinho is at it again. This time, the Portuguese raised doubts over the quality of the team he will field against inform Merseyside club, Liverpool on Sunday. Jose in his comments after the match against Atletico Madrid suggested that he might have to play a much weakened side as Chelsea continue to push for honours on two fronts – the Premier League and the Champions League.

The self-proclaimed ‘Special One’ lost goalkeeper, Petr Cech and John Terry to injuries in the Atletico game. On top of that, Nigerian midfielder, Mikel Obi and Frank Lampard are suspended for the return leg of the Champions League at Stamford Bridge. All these make it increasingly hard for Jose to have a decent side in place for the Atletico game.

From all indications, the Champions League is the priority except something miraculous happens. Its seems logical, just 2 matches and the trophy will be back at Stamford Bridge. Apart from that, everything is in Chelsea’s hands unlike the Premier League where Chelsea are 5 points behind league leaders, Liverpool.

Mourinho suggested that he will have to speak to the club [most likely means Roman Abramovich]. Speaking after the game he said: “I can’t decide by myself. I have to listen to the club. I’m just the manager and I have to listen to the club.”

Then he took a swipe at the English FA for making Chelsea play on Sunday The fact that the match is on Sunday, I think put the problem not in my hands but in the hands of those who decide the game should be Sunday, not Saturday or Friday. We represent English football and are the only team [English] in European competition,” He said

“Spain have four and give them all conditions to try to have success. So I know what I would do. I will play the players who are not going to play on Wednesday. My priority is the Champions League. But I’m not the club. I have to speak to them.” He continued

He pointed out the fact that he had to take permission to hand Liverpool a very rare advantage. It is not clear if the Premier League chiefs will be happy about the development but what Mourinho care about is what his employers will think “I’m not the most important person in the club. Roman and the board – everybody is above me. I work for them and have to follow what my club decides. I’m just a piece. I’m the manager, no more than that.”

“Petr Cech’s season is over. And for John, we have to play in the final for him to play again. We had problems before the game and during the game [Atletico]. We lost four players – two to injuries and two with yellow cards – but we will fight.

“If we have to play the kids, we play the kids. But Branislav Ivanovic is back, Mark Scwarzer showed we can trust him. People like Ashley Cole, with an amazing performance, giving an example”

If Mourinho is granted his wish, we might see players like Tomas Kalas, Lewis Baker, John Swift in the lineup. Looking at things from Jose’s point of view, what he’s about to do is understandable. He’s down to bare bones. The only viable option is to complement the players who won’t be available for the Atletico game with some of the players from the excellent youth team.

In fact, the media are blowing the issue way out of proportion. It is not as if there won’t be senior players. There will be a substantial amount of the usual first team in the lineup. Matic, Salah, Willian, Mikel, Lampard, Cole should all play. Understandably, Manuel Pellegrini and the Manchester City camp won’t be happy about the situation as they need the Blues to beat Liverpool so that the tittle race can be blown wide open. But then again, Jose Mourinho won’t care. Champions League is the priority at this point.

 Posted by at 4:58 pm
Apr 222014
 

The Jose Mourinho led Chelsea FC flew out to Spain with a 20-man strong squad as they face La Liga leaders Atletico Madrid in the first leg of the UEFA semi final at Vincente Calderon tonight.

Unfortunately for them, striker Samuel Eto’o would not in action in Madrid as he is yet to recover from the knee injury he sustained in their 2 – 1 loss to Sunderland last weekend. On a brighter note, Eden Hazard would be part of the travelling party and hopefully would play against Atletico Madrid. He had missed the last three matches due to calf injury he sustained in the last leg of their quarter final game against Paris Saint-Germain.

First choice goalkeeper Petr Cech is also back after missing out the weekend encounter against Sunderland due to illness. He is set to be in goal in tonight’s encounter.

Bransilav Ivannovich did not join the team to Madrid. He is on suspension after receiving three bookings in the competition, while Nemanja Matic and Mohammed Salah were left behind at west London. They are both ineligible since they’ve played Champions League this season for their former clubs.

Mourinho’s 20 man list include:

Goalkeepers

Petr Cech, Mark Scwarzer, Hilario

Defenders

David Luiz, Cahill, John Terry, Ashley Cole, Nathan Ake, , Cesar Azpilicueta, Tomas Kalas

Midfielders/Attackers

Marco Van Ginkel, Ramires, Frank Lampard, Oscar, John Obi Mikel, Eden Hazrad, Willian, Andre Schurrle

Strikers

Fernando Torres, Demba Ba

Cesar Azpilicueta conceded a penalty at the weekend but would now be operating from his natural right back position in this game. Ashley Cole should play on the left-back side while Cahill and John Terry would make up the likely centre-half pairing.

Daivid Luiz had always had good performances against big clubs and hopefully today will be no exception. His most likely partner will be Ramires since Frank Lampard and John Mikel Obi run the risk of suspension should they be booked in this game.

Willian too could miss the return leg if he picks up a yellow card at Madrid. He had created nine chances for his team mates in their loss against Sunderland more than any Premier League player in a single game. Oscar is likely to play his traditional No. 10 position although his form has dipped considerably with Andre Schurrle making up the attacking trio on the right.

Will this 20 man squad be strong enough to contain a very determined, giant-conquering Atletico side? We are just a few hours to finding out.

 Posted by at 4:10 pm
Apr 222014
 

As Chelsea get set to take on Atletico Madrid in the first leg semi final match of the UEFA Champ[ions League tonight, many people are of the opinion that it could go either way at the end of regulation time as both clubs appear to be evenly matched.

The winner of both legs would square up against either Real Madrid or the German champions Bayern Munich. Madrid has dubbed itself the “City of Champions” and Diego Simeone agrees no less.

The Argentine has crafted a team that is very similar in style like Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea. An Atletico Madrid that is compact at the back, lethal on counter attack, hardworking and one that has the drive and winning mentality. They already have a well documented ability to win trophies and cause major upsets.

Tonight’s encounter will be a match characterized by 90 + minutes of intense football action in which two teams that appear to be evenly matched slug it out on the pitch. An encounter that would pitch two deep-thinking coaches against each other. Both coaches are very familiar with each other having both been in the Spanish La Liga for several years.

According to Atletico Madrid’s Coach;

“We are not the same but it is true that we are similar” he said on the subject of both teams.

‘The defence who concedes the fewest goals in the Premier League is that of Chelsea and another in La Liga is that of Atletico Madrid.

“We work hard defensively with a direct approach and good set-pieces. These are the similarities that have allowed them to fight for the Premier League and for us to be where we are today in the La Liga.

According to him, the match would be a tight one. The outcome of the game would be decided by attention to small details and team work.

He gave a hint of Torres’ possible return to Atletico Madrid

“He is a lad who belongs to Atletico no matter where he is playing. He has great memories and loves the club and the people of the club. Before kickoff and after the game he will have the ovation he deserves because this is his home and he is one of us”.

As both clubs gear up to face each other tonight, I expect a very thrilling encounter. Both sides are well matched, equally thirsty for victory, with two coaches that are good at what they do. If current form and determination is anything to consider, I’ll give it to the Madrid side to go through.

 Posted by at 2:14 pm
Apr 022014
 

Speaking ahead of PSG’s clash with Chelsea tonight, Laurent Blanc has stressed the importance of shutting down Chelsea’s counter-attacking style:

“Yes, we know that Chelsea are a very counter-attacking team. They like to counter-attack. They will surely have chances to do that tomorrow, and next week, because you can’t control everything during a game.”

“We’ll have to be really strong defensively when it happens, because I think on Wednesday we have to score to win the game. When you play at home and you want to win, you need to make sure that you don’t concede goals. It will be important.”

Blanc has identified a threat that is clear for all to see. This season, Chelsea have performed best when their opponents attempt to dominate possession, and take the game to them. Utilising the aforementioned counter-attack, they have then gone on to score when the oppositions players are out of position up the pitch.

After a dip in domestic form, Chelsea have been relegated to the role of underdog in the first match of the two legged tie. The Blues’ comprehensive 6-0 thumping of Arsenal was offset by two poor results against Aston Villa and Crystal Palace. In both fixtures, Mourinho’s men were expected to run out clear winners, but were defeated 1-0 after putting in lacklustre performances.

Meanwhile, the relentless PSG machine rolls on. The Parisians have won their last nine games across all competitions, and have all but secured consecutive Ligue 1 titles. When the two teams square up this evening, all eyes will be on Zlatan Ibrahimovich and Eden Hazard, both of whom have been in unstoppable form this season. A 5 star performance from either man could single handedly drag their side through to the semi-finals of the competition, and further solidify their status as one of the world’s best.

 Posted by at 11:50 am
Mar 292014
 

Chelsea has been struck by an injury blow ahead of their Premier League meeting with Crystal Palace this weekend. Ashley Cole has been ruled out with a recurring knee injury, while Samuel Eto’o has failed to recover from the hamstring injury he sustained in only the 10th minute of last week’s 6-0 win over Arsenal.

Cole is unlikely to have started even if he had been granted a clean bill of health, given the recent form of Cesar Azpilicueta. The right footed Azpilicueta has often been used ahead of Cole this season, as Mourinho is evidently impressed by the Spaniards defensive work rate.

Eto’o’s absence is likely to be more seriously felt, having just come into a run of form, scoring in all of his last 3 games, the Chelsea manager will likely turn to Fernando Torres to lead the Blues’ attack. Chelsea will be hoping that the games rest will allow the Cameroonian striker to recover in time for their Champions League clash with PSG next week.

Even with the absences, Chelsea is unlikely to have any problems dispatching a struggling Crystal Palace. Currently sitting 17th in the table, Palace have been stabilised since the appointment of Tony Pulis. Nevertheless, they’ve only managed to claim 8 points from their last 8 games, and an upset is very unlikely.

The same could’ve been said before Chelsea’s match against Aston Villa a fortnight ago, and that fixture saw Mourinho’s men beaten and down to 9 men. As a result, there’s no doubt that the Portguese manager will be taking measures to safeguard against complacency, and ensure that his team comes away with the crucial 3 points. With Liverpool and Manchester City in flying form, failure to do so could spell doom for Chelsea’s chances of winning the Premier League this season.

 Posted by at 11:06 am
Mar 142014
 

Aston Villa vs Chelsea

As Chelsea get ready to confront its bogue team Aston Villa, they are aiming to maintain top spot and with fellow challengers Arsenal and Liverpool set to have a tough weekend (on paper) against Spurs and Manchester Utd respectively while City, who also don’t look to be cruising at the moment face Hull city at the KC stadium, they know that a loss is not an option. A win will keep Chelsea at the top 7 points ahead of Arsenal and Liverpool who play on Sunday but with City playing on earlier, their lead could be cut to 6 points by Kick Off.

Villa Park has not been the best hunting ground for Chelsea football club although the club have won 7 of their last 21 games at Villa park drawing 7 and losing 6 scoring 22 and conceding 19 and are also unbeaten in their last 3 visits (winning 2 and drawing 1). Aston Villa lie 11th on the log having won just 1 of their last 5 matches but boosted by the timely return to form of striker Christian Benteke who has 2 goals in his last 2 games against Chelsea and the fact that they have done well against some of the big boys this season, they have beaten both Arsenal and Man city plus a draw at Anfield, they will be confident of a good performance against Chelsea.

Chelsea on the other hand are currently unbeaten in 14 matches and are enjoying a great run of form, they are yet to lose a league game since they lost 3-2 to Stoke City at the Britannia stadium on the 7th of Dec 2013. Their worst results this term have come against teams in the bottom half of the league but the form of Eden Hazard and their water tight defence means they will little problem against this Villa side.

Hazard have scored 13 league goals and provided 7 assists while the Chelsea team have conceded just 20 goals and boost of 13 clean sheets while Lampard also returns to the ground where he broke Chelsea’s all time goal record. This will be a very tough encounter which both sides can’t afford to lose but like their last meeting at Villa Park, I think Chelsea’s experience will give them all 3 points.

 Posted by at 6:39 pm
Mar 012014
 

Didier Drogba has admitted he is looking forward to returning to Stamford Bridge for Galatasaray’s Champions League last-16 second leg against Chelsea with the tie delicately poised at 1-1. An early Fernando Torres goal was cancelled out in the second half by an Aurelien Chedjou equaliser to ensure the two sides head to London for an intriguing second leg clash that is evenly poised with Betfair.com.

Having won three Premier League titles, four FA Cups and two League Cups with Chelsea, Drogba will return to the club he spent a successful eight-year spell for the first time as an opposing player.

Drogba’s last act in a Chelsea shirt was scoring the winning penalty in the Champions League final in 2012 against Bayern Munich, and the Ivorian has admitted he is looking forward to returning to the scene of some of his greatest achievements as a player, hoping to cause a surprise with Betfair fans and help lead Galatasaray into the quarter-finals.

“I am not there yet and I will only find out [how emotional it is] when I am at the Bridge. The only thing I know is that there is still one game to play,” said the former Blues star.

“It will be a difficult game but I think at 1-1 the game is still open, so we’re going to go there and try to create a big surprise.”

 

Coming away from Turkey with an away goal has ensured Chelsea will go into the second leg of the tie as the Betfair favourites to progress to the quarter-finals. Jose Mourinho will have been delighted with the professional job his side did in testing circumstances in Turkey, but the Chelsea boss will be well aware that there is still plenty of life left in this tie.

Feb 252014
 

The World Cup must still seem a far-off event for the many international stars in Chelsea’s squad. There’s the small matter of some Premier League and Champions’ League silverware to contest before the club seasons out. The little horse has a long way left to run.

Still, unbelievably, the World Cup Finals in Brazil are now just four month’s away (meaning it’s now a terrifying three years and eight months since you first heard the dulcet tones of a vuvuzela). There’ll be no shortage of players from our squad jetting off on a variety of planes to South America, but only a select few are in with a real shout of individual and national glory, if you find yourself still asking When is World Cup 2014? Odds, group schedules and dates can all be found on Coral.co.uk, read on for our Chelsea players to watch:

Eden Hazard

The name on every Chelsea fan’s lips since that gloriously brutal hat-trick against mid-table Newcastle, Eden Hazard is one of the fastest rising stars in international football. Eden’s recent form has spurred on Jose Mourinho to hail him as the best young player in the world, and it’s an absolute joy to watch this prodigy blossom into a top, top player in a Blue shirt.

The World Cup finals represent a golden opportunity for Hazard. Belgium hasn’t traditionally been considered to be members of the international football elite, but mark our words, that have all changed. The Belgians looked fierce in World Cup qualifying, and with the likes of Man City star Vincent Kompany lining up alongside Hazard, no one will be taking this relatively small European nation lightly.

Fernando Torres

We’ve recently been seeing heartening flashes of the real Fernando Torres – the player who lit up the Kop at Anfield in a way which has never quite been repeated during his time at Chelsea. One thing’s for sure, the Spaniard possesses proven World Cup winning pedigree, and there’ll never be a better time for the striker to recapture his early brilliance than now.

Oscar

Our very own Brazilian ace Oscar will surely offer the host nation a dangerous option in midfield at this summer’s tournament. Along with Neymar, Oscar is one of Brazil’s leading lights and is amongst the best play-makers in the game.

John Terry

Ok John, we know you bonked everyone’s wives… but if England is to make respectable progress in the World Cup this summer, we need the experience, leadership and quality of this man in defence. Oh, and how about that new contract Jose?

Dec 232013
 

As the Blues head to the Emirates to take on Arsenal, Jose Mourinho has been speaking on the match as well as Wenger’s record signing, Mesut Ozil; calling him a “phenomenal player.”

The Gunners who have made a wonderful start to the 2013/2014 league season have had some good spell of form since the signing of the German international midfielder. However, Arsene Wenger’s team has not been able to win the last 3 matches in all competitions including the last one which they lost to both Napoli and Man City.

Any result other than a win against the Blues will see the Gunners slip down to second place on the league table. The Blues’ boss while speaking to the club’s official website said that the Gunners will bounce back from those losses. He went ahead to pay some tributes to Ozil, who is expected to line up against his team in the London derby.

The manager spoke more on Ozil, and what his signing could bring to the Gunners that have failed to win a trophy in 9 seasons:

“He’s a phenomenal player, he’s one of these players that you buy and you complete the puzzle of your team. You don’t need time, you need nothing, he arrives and you have an empty space waiting for him, his quality, maturity and leadership. You know that automatically your team becomes better.

‘There are players that you buy that you realise you need to work with, adapt or find the best solution to get the best out of them, but Ozil needs nothing. He arrived, Arsene gave him the shirt, immediately he starts playing and immediately the team becomes better.

‘I think I know how to try to stop him being direct influence in the game for 90 minutes, but it’s impossible to stop him for 90 minutes because these kind of players always have a moment, or a couple of moments where you cannot stop them and they end up showing why they are so good,” Mourinho said.

He concluded the interview by reiterating that he remained the right man for the Chelsea job. I absolutely agree with Mourinho on this. Ozil has proved over time that he is unplayable. His signing has revitalized a hitherto poor Arsenal side and when we play them on Monday, we have got to be watchful of him. We should however ensure we do not put too much focus on the gunners’ record signing as they have other players such as Cazorla, Giroud and others that can wreck havoc.

 Posted by at 9:49 pm
Oct 162013
 

Can the Blues beat the Sky Blues?

As things stand, Chelsea are joint favourites with Man City to be lifting the Premier League title come next May. And it’s for this reason that there’s so much attention being focussed on the forthcoming match at the Bridge between the two richest clubs in English football today. But “who will win?” is the question we all need to know the answer to; particularly those of us who enjoy a bit of a punt now and again!

Well, on home ground and with the “Special One” back at the helm – Chelsea will win obviously! But what does history tell us about the battle of the big spenders?

So … since English football began way back when, the real Blues and the Sky Blues have played each other 138 times, with Chelsea leading the way on 55 wins, to  Man City’s 46, and with 37 draws so far 37.

Therefore; so far so good…

It’s a similar situation on the goals, with Chelsea having netted 195 times versus Man City’s 174. And since both clubs had the big cash injections (Chelsea in 2003 and Man City in 2008) the two clubs have played 11 times, with Man City winning 6 and Chelsea 4; not quite so good then…

But really; who would you choose if you could have one man at the helm between Pellegrini and Mourinho?

Of course, we all know the answer to that particular question. Also, if Chelsea really could really give Man City a good, old-fashioned drubbing, it would shake the very foundations of the league and put Pellegrini’s job at risk – and it seems likely that a solid home win is in store.

All in all; we’re predicting a nice three points via a two-goal margin.