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Feb 282014
 

Chelsea was unable to leave Turkey with a win last night, in what was very much a game of two halves.

The Blues took a lead in the 9th minute thanks to a fast-paced piece of teamwork which completely opened up the Galatasaray defence, with Azpilicueta playing in Torres to slot home.

The Turks were fortunate to make it to half time with only a one-goal deficit with Chelsea having dominated. Roberto Mancini gave them a much needed talking to at half-time, and they responded with some very clever attacking play putting Jose Mourinho’s side on the back foot.

Gala equalised through a Wesley Sneijder corner on 64 which was poorly defended. How Aurelien Chedjou was allowed the room in the box to volley home from close range is a joke.

The Special One tried to change the momentum of the match after the goal by replacing Schurrle with John Obi Mikel, a switch that tells me he was happy to play out the rest of the game goalless.

Didier Drogba deserves a mention just for the legend that he is, despite not having the greatest of games, but in reality it was a below-par performance all-round. He will no doubt be looking forward to returning to Stamford Bridge in 3 weeks time, despite having to play against his old friends in such an important game.

Us Chelsea fans should not be discontented with letting our 1-0 lead slip, as a draw away in Turkey is never an easy task. They have claimed many scalps in that European stronghold, including wins over Real Madrid, Juventus and (Ferguson’s) Manchester United in the past 18 months.

We should be confident of overcoming Galatasaray at home without too much discomfort, considering our home record under Jose. I can see us winning 2-0 on the 18th March but I might change my mind depending on our form over the next few weeks…

How far do you think we can go? There’s only one team I don’t want to draw in the next round…

Jul 152013
 

Branislav Ivanovic has become one of Paris Saint-Germain’s top targets, but the Serbian captain is more than happy to stay in West London.

The Chelsea right-back is a firm favourite of mine, and I would not be happy to see him leave!

The 29 year-old can play as a centre-back or as an all-round right-back. He is strong in defence, and loves to push forward. He is dangerous in the air and scored 8 goals out of defence last season. He also bagged the winner in the Europa League final in the dying minutes of the game, leaving Benfica no time to reply.

The Serb is yet to lift the Premier League title, and is looking forward to his first season under Jose Mourinho. Many people in the football world are envious of Jose. His understanding of the game and ability to get the upper hand before a game has even kicked off, is second-to-none.

This season will be a great opportunity for Branislav to pick up that illustrious Premier League winners medal, and of course would not choose to leave on his own accord. He enjoys playing for Chelsea as much as we love him in a Chelsea shirt. Is there a better all-round right-back? I think not…

Jul 122013
 

Gary Neville today warned new Manchester United manager David Moyes that he must not let Chelsea get an early lead in the Premier League, because Jose Mourinho will not let it slip.

Neville said: “You wouldn’t want to fall too far behind a Mourinho team because they would have the nerve to withstand the pressure.”

The Sky Sports pundit speaks from experience of course, having chased Mourinho’s men for two seasons back in the 04-05 and 05-06 seasons.

Mourinho made an instant impact at Stamford Bridge before he had even began his first competitive game, giving an audacious interview describing himself as ‘The Special One’, a nickname used in awe and in jest to this day. He became the centre of all English football, with his winning personality and tactical know-how, winning the League Cup and Premier League title in his debut season.

Neville added: “When he first came in, in 2004-05, we played against him on the first day.

“We’d had the experience the year before when he’d charged down the touchline and gone on to pick up the European Cup with Porto. He’d already made a name for himself. But that first season, he had an absolutely brilliant team at Chelsea.

“Make no mistake about that — Robben, Duff, Drogba, Essien, Makelele, Lampard, Gallas, Carvalho, Terry, Ferreira…

“I always think when you can name a team, you know you’ve got a great team. That was a fine side — power, strength across midfield, so difficult to play against.

“From our point of view at United, it was probably our leanest period in not winning the league from 2004-07. Going back there now, Mourinho’s got a greater challenge, but Chelsea are on the up. Everyone could see that at the end of last season.

“They won the Champions League the year before, won a trophy last season, finished strongly in the league. They’re going to be a huge threat.

“Where we lost out to Mourinho teams at United in those early years was we left ourselves too much to do.

“We weren’t slow starters but we weren’t at our peak form September to December. We got into our stride in January, February, March and on.

“The problem in the Mourinho years was we were too far behind to mount a challenge. So the critical thing this time will be to make sure you stay in contention.”

Eyes will certainly be on Chelsea and Manchester United at the beginning of next season, with Alex Ferguson’s departure and Jose’s appointment dominating headlines, and Mou will do his best to keep the spotlight off his players. Moyes is going to struggle with the Rooney saga and will rely heavily on the goal-scoring prowess of Robin Van Persie to keep up with us.

I think Manchester City will start the season well having less pressure from the outset, but it is no secret that Manuel Pellegrini has been hired to make his mark on Europe, and will struggle once the competition gets into full-flow.

The Special One to do it again..?

Jul 112013
 

Jose Mourinho pleased many fans last night by claiming that Romelu Lukaku, Kevin De Bruyne and Tamas Kalas will play their part in the new season.

Lukaku, who was signed for €22Million from Anderlecht 3 seasons ago, impressed hugely on loan at Premier League side West Bromwich Albion last season, scoring 17 goals and bullying defenders with his strength and agility. I would quite happily see him above Fernando Torres in the pecking order…

Now Kevin De Bruyne is a name some of you may not be familiar with, but he has been described as a better version of Eden Hazard by an ex-coach of the pair, and has been impressing at Werder Bremen for the past season. He has recently made the switch from the wing, into a more central role, which can only add depth to our squad.

‘They are good players with a very good value in the market and we have these players this season for free, after an investment that the club did before,’ said Mourinho, after three days of pre-season training on his return to the club.

‘After the development of the players on loan it is the right moment for them to be back. They are very young with space to develop, they will be better year after year and I can imagine in five years they are much better than today – but what they have today is more than enough to belong to this squad.’

‘We are a very young squad,’ stated Mourinho. ‘We have an average age of 26.3 and that includes Schwarzer who is 40 years old and JT, Cech and Lampard in their 30s, so if we don’t involve these players we drop to almost an Under-21 team.

‘We have a team to develop. Of course we know there are expectations already and we want to create expectations for ourselves. We don’t need other people to create them – but the reality is the best period of this team has yet to arrive because they are very young and in five, six, seven years’ time is when this team will be in the best moment of their careers.’

I have been hoping that the two Belgians would be included in our squad as I see them as the future of Chelsea, along with the current young crop already shaping our team. Kalas is not a player I rate as highly, but Mourinho’s approval is much more note-worthy.

With Hazard, Mata, Oscar already making their marks last season, our young squad will look to dominate the Premier League for years to come. Manchester who?

May 202013
 

Mauricio Pochettino has responded to speculation surrounding Luke Shaw’s potential transfer to West London, by claiming Chelsea should be more concerned with keeping their players from his clutches.

The 17 year-old defender has been an outstanding performer for the Saints this season, encouraging praise from many potential suitors and reporters alike.

The teenager made his Premier League debut in November and never looked back, making 25 league appearances in his first season in the Southampton senior squad.

Chelsea have been earmarked as his most likely destination, but the Saints boss responded to the speculation by claiming: “Perhaps we will go and get some Chelsea players ourselves.

“I think that [executive chairman] Nicola Cortese staying is the best possible news for next season.

“That is very good for the squad, for the whole club. We will talk about the summer and the budgets with Nicola.”

I would love to see Luke Shaw arrive at Chelsea, but cant imagine him wanting to join this season and fight for a starting place with Ashley Cole and Ryan Bertrand when he is receiving so much first-team football in Southampton.

I think a more likely scenario would be to sign him with the option of keeping him with the Saints for a further season allowing him to grow and learn in the first team.

It would however be great for the English teenager to come and learn from the likes of Frank Lampard, John Terry and more specifically, Ashley Cole before they leave Chelsea. Learning from the best could pay dividends on his future.

First-team football elsewhere or invaluable coaching and mentoring?

Apr 302013
 

The Chelsea versus Gareth Bale (AKA Tottenham Hotspur) game is being touted as the key in the battle for a top-four finish.

The one-man-team show that is Tottenham Hotspur Football Club have endured a fine season, with their main man bagging 19 goals so far in this campaign, including 2 in his last two games against Manchester City and Wigan Athletic.

Spurs form is all over the place at the moment, with an emphatic 3-1 win over Manchester City sandwiched between a 2-2 draw with Wigan Athletic, and consecutive 2-2 draws with Everton in the Premiership and Swiss side Basle twice in the Europa League culminating in their demise on penalties.

The Blues have only dropped the one Premier League point this month thanks to a goal in ADDED added time, in the controversial clash with Liverpool 9 days ago, and are looking quite comfortable on the pitch of late. We look like a team to be feared again, and will most definitely win the game should we null the threat of newly crowned PFA player and PFA young player of the year winner Gareth Bale.

If Chelsea could manage a win at newly crowned Premier League Champions Manchester United on Sunday, then they will have all but cemented their place in the top four. If Chelsea were to win 3 of their remaining four fixtures they would finish either second or third in the league, but that is no easy task considering those four fixtures also include a difficult trip to Villa Park and a home clash with sixth placed Everton.

I am confident we can beat Tottenham regardless of Gareth’s form. I would not be surprised to see us win all four remaining fixtures starting with a win over rivals Manchester United on Sunday. They have no urgency for points, and I believe we will battle our way to a win. Come on you Blues!

Apr 302013
 

Hamburg had been expected to make Jeffrey Bruma’s loan move permanent this summer, having spent the past two seasons at the Bundesliga club, but have declared they will be allowing him to return to Stamford Bridge.

The Dutch centre-back signed for Chelsea from Feyernoord when he was 15, and having failed to make the transition into the first-team, has spent the past 2 and a half years away on loan.

It is yet to be seen where his future will lie, and I imagine a new manager will be appointed before any decision is made. At only 21, he may still be looked at as a hot prospect for the club, having shone in the Chelsea youth set-up.

If Chelsea were thinking of keeping him on their books, then a one-year extension to his contract would have to be considered. With his current contract expiring at the end of next season, a transfer away from the club is extremely likely.

Still being a young player, I expect there to be plenty of interest for the Dutch defender, with the Bundesliga still being a likely destination regardless of Hamburg’s refusal.

Apr 262013
 

Arsene Wenger expects Chelsea to make waves in coming transfer window, with lots of speculation regarding high-profile arrivals.

Chelsea are firmly expected to confirm the signature of Andre Schurrle before the season’s end, with talks said to be at an advanced stage. They are also expected to confirm the arrival of Jose Mourinho come the end of the season, and speculation is rife regarding Radamel Falcao and Marouane Fellaini also.

“I’m afraid of what Chelsea can do in the summer,” Wenger said. “We have to be prepared for them to be one of the biggest movers in terms of investment once the window opens.

“Even though they already have a great base to their squad, notably their young players such as Oscar, Juan Mata, Ramires and Eden Hazard, I think they will be busy during the transfer window. We’ve heard a lot of talk about Falcao. Some people say it’s already a done deal but I’ve heard nothing.”

Jose Mourinho is set to hold talks with Real Madrid president Florentino Pérez at the end of the season regarding his future, with the Portuguese expected to agree a deal to leave Los Galacticos.

The Special One has been a favourite at the Bridge since his successful that started nearly 9 years ago. He won the Premier League in his debut season, and then retained the crown the following season. He has continually expressed his love for the club and their fans since his departure, and would prompt a parade around Stamford Bridge should he return.

“I think Chelsea currently have a great coach in Rafa Benítez,” Wenger said, “but if they part ways at the end of season, of course José Mourinho would be a good solution for Chelsea. Mourinho is one of the best in the world. I consider Benítez to be doing a good job at Stamford Bridge but, honestly, I’m not really well informed about the possibility of Mourinho returning to Chelsea.”

I agree with Arsene (never said that before) that Chelsea will make a huge impact in the coming window, and I sense good things for next season. We have done considerably well this campaign given our squad size and busy fixture list. With our current squad full of young and exciting players, there is not many positions that need improving. We certainly need a prolific striker to arrive, and a little bit of strengthening in midfield.

With our team having a greater understanding with each other, and the hopeful arrival of Falcao, Jose could arrive with an easy job. Chelsea Premier League champions 2013-2014? All we need is a striker and a manager who we can support…

Apr 232013
 

West Bromwich Albion boss Steve Clarke is confident of capturing Romelu Lukaku on a second season-long loan.

Lukaku has been in stand-out form for West Brom this season, finding the back of the net 13 times so far this campaign, and has recently come into interest from Swansea City, who are rumoured to be looking into his temporary capture for the whole of next season.

On the Welsh side’s interest, Clarke said: ‘I don’t there is anything in it – it’s idle gossip. I would be very surprised if he ended up there.’

The Belgian was signed for €22M back in 2011 from Anderlecht, but failed to earn a permenent spot in the first team. He was only 18 at the time, and at 20, Chelsea are still confident he will become the star warranted by such a high fee.

Many Blues fans believe he could play a part in our challenge for the Premier League title next season, with many fans praying to see the back of Fernando Torres. His inconsistencies this season have been the main fault in our bid to challenge newly crowned Manchester United in the Premier League.

Should Chelsea decide not to sign a high profile striker, Lukaku should be kept and played ahead of the Spaniard in my opinion. I do expect to see a big striker arrive, with the likes of Edinson Cavani and Radamel Falcao both expected to move clubs this summer. There could also be the opportunity to sign Mario Gomes from Bayern Munich, having fallen behind Mario Mandzukic in the pecking order. What’s do you think?

Apr 232013
 

Chelsea are hoping to use Thibaut Courtois as their trump card in their attempt to sign Athletico’s Radamel Falcao who according to paddy power transfer betting odds is likely to join Chelsea ahead of the chasing pack.

Falcao is available for around £48Million due to a clause in his contract, and with Manchester United, Man City and Real Madrid also in the hunt for his signature, the Blues will have to pull out all the stops to win their top target.

Courtois has spent the past two seasons on-loan at Athletico Madrid, and has become quite the hit in the Primera Liga. He was at the centre of a craze called Thibauting, where members of the public would post pictures of themselves trying to re-enact some of his famous outlandish diving saves. The young Belgian keeper has also been targeted by Barcelona to replace Victor Valdes who is set to leave the Camp Nou at the end of the season.

Falcao is widely expected to leave Athletico come the end of the season, but only wishes to leave on good terms. Using Courtois as part of the deal could persuade the Columbian to choose West London as his next club.

I would love to see Falcao join us, but I would also like to keep Courtois for the future. I believe Courtois holds the potential to be the best goalkeeper in the world, and is still only 20 years old! He has helped Athletico win the Europa League, and has helped them to challenge for the Champions League places this season. At only 20, we should not be letting such a talented young player leave on a permanent contract. It is frustrating that players such as Kevin De Bruyne and Thibaut Courtois are being linked with player plus cash deals out of our club before being given their chance, while Fernando Torres is continually given chances. I would love to see Falcao arrive, but without the loss of Courtois…