Feb 242013

Today is an absolutely crucial day for Chelsea, and could decide whether the rest of the season is a dogfight with today’s opponents Manchester City to see who comes second in the Premier league, or a battle with Arsenal and Tottenham for the Champions league positions.

At the moment, the Blues are at a tipping point. A win today at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester will put us just a single point behind Roberto Mancini and last year’s champions. That would put us in a clear race with City, and also pull us clear of the chasing pack.

However, Chelsea are currently just one point ahead of Spurs and two ahead of Arsenal. Spurs travel to West Ham tomorrow, so anything other than a Chelsea win today would give them the chance to go above us in the table. After such a promising start to the season, failure to get in the Champions league would be an absolute disaster and prove once and for all that Roman Abramovich should have stuck with Di Matteo.

At least Benitez can pick Demba Ba today, instead of the misfiring Torres. City did not play in midweek, so may have a slight advantage, but at least Hazard’s late goal meant we avoided extra time. The pressure should be on the home side today, as their title challenge is slipping away, so hopefully we can exploit that and heap more misery on them.

Jan 132013

Chelsea are ready to rock rivals Manchester City with an opening bid of £18million for striker Edin Dzeko, following an interview in which the forward suggested he could move on from the club.

Chelsea have been in the hunt for striking options this month, with Fernando Torres continually disappointing in the lone-striker position.

Demba Ba has already joined the Blues for £7.5million having impressed in his 18 months at Newcastle United, and Chelsea are expected to add another forward to the ranks before the month’s end.

Dzeko has put the Blues on alert, after admitting he fears his exit could be close. The Bosnia-Herzegovina ­international said: “Anything is possible. I wouldn’t rule out leaving now or in summer, but I’m trying not to think about it.

“It is up to me to try to use the opportunities I am being given at City, everything else is beyond my powers at the moment.

“We have four strikers and I suppose we can bring in another one, but only after one of us leaves the club.”

The Man City striker has been in fine form for the Sky Blues, regardless of his lack of opportunities, with the forward scoring more goals than he has starts this season for the Premier League holders.

Dzeko has made 18 PL appearances so far this term, 11 of which were made from the bench. The Bosnian has scored 6 important goals, including an 88th minute winner at White Lane, after 10 minutes of action against Spurs. He also bagged an unforgettable double with his club 1-0 down,to earn his club all 3 points despite only entering the pitch in the 78th minute.

The West-London club have been linked with various strikers over the past 6 months, with the likes of Radamel Falcao, Mario Gomes, David Villa and Wilfried Bony the most heavily linked.

Chelsea are said to be growing frustrated with Torres, and I expect this to be his last 6 months to prove his worth to the team. Should he fail (as expected), The Blues will look to bring Radamel Falcao to the club in his place.

In the mean-time, Chelsea should follow up their interest in the Man City striker, and we would be able to rely on Demba Ba and Edin Dzeko to place Torres in the shadows. I am fed up of watching him stand out like a sore thumb in our exceptional attacking side. Dzeko is under-rated by his current club, and City would pay the price for letting him go.

Jan 082013

Metalist Kharkiv striker Taison Freda’s move to Chelsea is reportedly close to collapse.

The forward´s club have set a January 10 deadline date on the move, with the second half of the Ukrainian league set to kick-off.

The Brazilian, who turns 25 on Sunday, had been confident on completing his move to the West London club after talks with the Blues hierarchy this month.

The player even had his work permit complications sorted out, but the two clubs now appear to be at loggerheads over his protracted fee.

Kharkiv are adamant that the attacking midfielder will not leave their ranks for less than £11Million, with Roman Abramovich reluctant to meet those demands.

Manchester City were reported to be attempting to hijack the deal, with a late bid, but the ball seems to be very much in Chelsea’s court, having already agreed personal terms with the player.

I’m not sure how much input the attacking midfielder will have on our season should we complete the deal, with the player unlikely to feature too much once Victor Moses returns from the African Cup of Nations. If Moses is getting more time on the pitch then Oscar then I doubt Taison will be able to start many games. Anyone think otherwise?

Jan 052013

Chelsea are said to be eyeing up a move for Real Betis midfielder Beñat Etxebarria, who is available for €20million.

The 25 year-old’s contract is set to expire in 18 months, leading various suitors to believe he could be available for a cut-price deal.

The Betis boss has refuted such claims, insisting Beñat will not leave for less than his Beñat €20M minimum fee release clause. Pepe Mel said: “Benat’s clause is €20million and he will only leave for €20million.

“To sell him for anything less would be a disaster. The club must defend its position and Benat knows that. To be able to go the market and find a replacement, the only number is €20million.

“He has one more year left on his contract and he can fulfill that.”

That fee is not likely to deter either Chelsea or Manchester City, who are also linked with the Spaniard, away from the player’s signature.

Chelsea are willing to let Frank Lampard leave in the summer, and Roman Abramovich has been actively seeking his replacement. Lampard’s contract expires at the end of the season, and the 34 year-old is expected to continue playing for another 2-3 years.

Beñat has been outstanding for Betis since joining Betis, and has since earned his international call-up, having played four times for Spain. This feat is all the more interesting given the enormous amount of Spanish talent that exists in midfield. I see the 25 year-old as a very talented individual but to tout him as a Lampard replacement would be wrong. He could however bring a new edge to the Chelsea midfield, and I would like to see him made a Blue before next season.

Jan 042013

Manchester City defender Micah Richards has reportedly become a surprise target for Chelsea FC.

Chelsea were expected to try to sign an experienced centre-back, but now appear to be chasing Micah Richards, with a view to Branislav Ivanovic returning to play in the centre, allowing David Luiz more time in midfield.

Richards is currently out injured, and expected to make his return in early February.

The Englishman was at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday night to watch Chelsea’s 1-0 loss at the hands of Queens Park Rangers, sparking various rumours to circulate. Rafa Benitez when asked, did not rule out such a move, further fuelling speculation the versatile Man City defender could be a Blue player in the near future.

Richards won his first Premier League title last year with Manchester City, in a tense final day thriller, in which City scored two goals in injury time to clinch the title, and could be Chelsea’s third January signing, after Demba Ba and 18 year-old right-back Wallace who now have Chelsea contracts. Wallace however is to spend the rest of the season with his previous club Fluminense.

I don’t personally believe buying a right-back is a priority. Ivanovic has been awesome in that position, and Azpilicueta has impressed as well. I think replacements for Ashley Cole and a centre-back to allow David Luiz to make a permanent move to midfield should be at the top of our wish-list, with a young forward like Taison Freda or Willian.

Dec 022012

Since the sacking of Roberto Di Matteo, Chelsea have fallen behind in their attempts to sign 18 year-old Gerard Deulofeu from Barcelona, with Manchester City taking prominence.

Deulofeu is considered to be the stars of the Academy and is being billed in Spain as the heir to Lionel Messi’s throne.

He has played briefly in the Champions League and La Liga this season and he is such hot property that Nike offered him a £122k deal when he was just 14.
But he is still only on a youth contract at the club and has so far refused to sign a new deal which would keep him there until June 2017, despite extensive talks between the club and his agent.

Deulofeu has scored a series of spectacular goals for the Barcelona B team this season but is already growing impatient for regular first-team football.

Chelsea we’re thought to have been in contact with the player, but reports are suggesting the instability around Stamford Bridge are putting the player off.

City were alerted to his availability by new sporting director Txiki Begiristain, who used to work for Barcelona, and it is now thought a move to the Etihad is likely.

It was only a matter of time before managers and players alike would start being put off by Roman Abramovich’s wheeling and dealing. Pep looks to have been put off by Roman and now this wonderkid is about to snub us. Rafa has to go, but that will not help our image. It is going to take years to repair, and to think we are the holders of the Champions League… Thanks Roman…

Nov 302012

FIFA agent Francois Gallardo has claimed that Pep Guardiola has a preliminary agreement to take over at Manchester City.

The Spanish coach quit Barcelona in the summer and pledged to take a year sabbatical out of football to spend some time with his family.

Premier League champions City appointed former Barcelona executive Txiki Begiristain as their director of football in October, to work alongside chief executive Ferran Soriano, another former Nou Camp employee.

The agent said: “Guardiola has a pre-deal to be the next manager of Manchester City, no matter if Milan or whoever make offers to him.”

The agent then shocked the interviewer, by saying that they will do all they can to sign Victor Valdes. adding: “It will be an offer to stun your mind, If I were Barcelona, I would be very concerned.”

I hope that this story turns out to be false, as thoughts of getting stuck with Rafa Benitez as manager is upsetting. On the plus side, Roberto Mancini may wish to stay in the Premier League, and Jose Mourinho is rumoured to be thinking outside of Real Madrid. And if Joe Hart is surplus to requirements, there could be a bidding war!

Nov 272012

With christmas songs starting to be played all around us, football clubs are starting to line up their January wish-list, which always leads to the usual rumours. There is no surprise that there is a fair share of Chelsea transfer rumours appearing in the media, especially with Torres yet to score in nearly two months.

The Daily Mirror are claiming that Manchester City will now fight Chelsea and Tottenham for Willian’s signature. Chelsea have seen first hand in this years Champions League how dangerous the player can be to defences, with the player scoring 3 goals against the blues in their 2 group games and are said to be long-time admirers of the Brazilian.

The Daily Express is claiming that Chelsea are preparing to pull off a major coup by luring Liverpool star Luis Suarez to Stamford Bridge, the player who cost Chelsea two points a couple of weeks ago, and has single-handedly been keeping Liverpool out of the relegation zone.

The Daily Express is also claiming that Chelsea are on course to sign Vitesse Arnhem striker Wilfried Bony in January. The player has been in fine scoring form for the past 11 months, and has been dubbed the next ‘Didier Drogba’.

Southampton are set to open contract talks with teen starlet Luke Shaw in a bid to keep the Premier League’s big guns at bay. Manchester City, Manchester United, Chelsea and Arsenal are all keen on the young left-back according to the Daily Star.

Last but not least, Chelsea Legend Frank Lampard is widely expected to leave Stamford Bridge this summer, and Monaco are the latest team to be linked with the England midfielder.

I wont be happy so see Frank go but it might just be the right time for him to move on. And the thought of Luis Suarez joining Chelsea has me in mixed emotions, I quite enjoy disliking the Uruguayan striker but I have a feeling he could be great for our team. What are your thoughts on Suarez at Chelsea?

Nov 262012

Rafa Benitez spoke out after Chelsea’s 0-0 draw yesterday after receiving a very hostile reception from Chelsea fans.

The former Liverpool manager was loudly booed before the game, while many Chelsea fans sang songs such as “F*** off Benitez, you’re not welcome here”. Roberto Di Matteo’s name was sung throughout the match.

Rafa Benitez claimed he wasn’t listening to the fans, saying: “My experience in England is that when the fans are singing in the stands, I don’t understand what they say, So I was just concentrating. I can understand because of the rivalry in the past. But I’m sure the majority of the fans will understand: I’m a professional, I do my job, I want to win, and I want to win for the club. I hope they share those ideas.

“I was just concentrating on the game and not listening to anything else. Just the performance of the players on the pitch.”

Benitez was asked how he thought he could win them over, he replied simply: “Win, win, win, win, win, win, win. Win every game. Only the results can help, I think so.

“It’s not a secret, it’s true,

“If we start winning games, they will come on board and they will see I’ll try to do my best. The manager wants to win every game and the fans the same. So we will win together.

“The main thing is that the players are focused on the games. If they are, it’ll be fine. I have confidence we will do well and win games. Some of the fans will realise it’s not the way to support their team. They’ll know they have a professional manager in charge, someone who wants to win games.”

Rafa’s first game in charge was a tame one, with Chelsea having just the one shot on target. The Spaniard spoke to Roman Abramovich afterwards and said the Chelsea owner was relaxed about the result and performance. adding: “Abramovich knows it was a tough game, a difficult time after the last games,” Benitez said. “He knows my opinion. He’s like me: he knows we have to win, want to win, and we keep working for that.

“The team were not performing at their level in the last games and lost a bit of confidence from the Champions League game, But this was a clean sheet after so many games. You have some positives. I’m not 100 per cent satisfied because I want to win. But there aren’t too many teams better than City in the Premier League.”

This was Chelsea’s first clean sheet since the 4-0 win over FC Nordsjaelland back on October 2, but was not a good performance all round. Fernando Torres did nothing all game and showed no improvement, and a draw was more than we deserved out of the game. Did anybody else notice an improvement?

Nov 252012

The new Chelsea interim manager has finally met with Chelsea’s Russian billionaire owner, Roman Abramovich, to discuss their current plans and targets.

When asked if Fernando Torres was the main talking point, Benitez responded: “I cannot say we were not ­talking about Torres. We were talking about a lot of things in two or three hours.

“But they can see Fernando has to improve. Everybody can see he can improve ­because he has the potential.”

Torres was in wonderful form under Rafa at Liverpool and the manager expects to see an improvement in him over the next few weeks.

Benitez said he was pleased to see Torres on his first day, but will not be going easy on the striker who he previously sold for £50m.

“If you just put an arm on the shoulder of a player, normally you are in the middle of the table,” said Benitez. “When you have to push the player, that is when you ­compete for titles.

“With Fernando, you have to put your arm around the shoulder and push him. You have to do both things.

“We will try to improve Fernando, maybe with the help of the other players. Maybe Eden Hazard can help Fernando, maybe Juan Mata. We will try to improve the team, so we create more clear chances and he will score goals.

“I tried to sign Hazard when I was at Liverpool and he was very young. If he and Torres are together, I think it will be easier for them because they are very good.

“My job now is to find out why Fernando is not scoring as many goals as he was at ­Liverpool. I have my ideas and I was talking to him about it.

“Torres is a very important player, we are not stupid. But if we continue talking about Fernando and not the others, it is not fair.

“So we will try to improve Fernando and try to improve the other players. You have to be in the right position at the right time, understand if the cross will go here or there. These little things, maybe we can work on.”

The manager was then asked he felt his chances were to win this weekends encounter with Manchester City, and their chance of winning the league.

“If you start against a very good team and win, it can be good for confidence,” Benitez replied. “Ok, it’s a challenge but the motivation will be there.

“Chelsea are as strong as City. The teams at the top are very close. The difference is how you settle down the team, if they have the belief, and maybe you will need some time for them to understand ideas. When they are more confident, they will be better.”

I don’t have a great deal of hope in us beating City at the moment but I hope our players can play for their shirt. Love Chelsea, hate Rafa.