Tag Archives: Chelsea

4 New Signings: The Potential Chelsea XI To Conquer Europe Next Year

Chelsea have enjoyed a fantastic season this term but Antonio Conte’s side face a challenge in the summer to bolster their ranks and prepare for a return to the Champions League next season.

In truth, Chelsea’s squad depth is fairly lacklustre across the board and injury problems this term could have created havoc, had they occurred. Therefore, it would be unwise to run the same risks next season by failing to strengthen.

Whilst Chelsea have been defensively solid and impressive in attack, it turns out that those areas are where the Blues are keen to strengthen most this summer- with star striker Diego Costa looking inevitable to leave, whilst veteran skipper John Terry is also on his way out.

Conte has identified targets already though and these four signings could leave the Blues boasting an exceptional side, as shown by this incredible line-up.

GK: Thibaut Courtois

Chelsea’s goalkeeper is widely regarded to be one of the best in the world and the Blues will face a battle to retain his services in the summer, with Spanish giants Real Madrid reportedly eyeing the Belgian as an alternative to long-term target David De Gea.

Courtois seems loyal to Chelsea though and the Blues would command an audacious fee for any move to materialise, so it seems highly likely that the goalkeeper will remain at Stamford Bridge for the forthcoming Premier League campaign.

European giant hand Chelsea boost by ending interest in star-man

Chelsea’s fantastic season is at risk of being handed a blow this summer, should star players decide to leave Stamford Bridge this summer in search of new challenges abroad.

One of the big names regularly linked with an exit this season has been that of Eden Hazard, who has been linked with a big-money move to Real Madrid. With Zinedine Zidane a keen admirer, and Hazard seeing the Frenchman as an icon, it’s easy to see why it would appeal to the Belgian ace.

However, The Sun now claims that Real Madrid have ended their interest in Eden Hazard as they will instead focus their attention of developing the talents of young Marco Asensio- who has exploded onto the scene this season.

Instead of spending what could end-up being a three-figure sum on Hazard, Real Madrid’s development of Asensio, who cost them just £3.5m, would see Los Blancos boast a new homegrown hero amongst their ranks.

Could it still happen?

As with any transfer report, you have to take it with a pinch of salt. Whilst Real Madrid may want to develop Asensio, turning down any opportunity to sign Eden Hazard wouldn’t be wise- especially in the coming years as Cristiano Ronaldo approaches the end of his career.

Real Madrid have established themselves as a club who boast some of the best players in the world and missing out on the likes of Paul Pogba and then potentially Hazard and Antoine Griezmann could really cause issues in their fanbase.

On a personal level for Hazard, moving to a club that have won two Champions League finals in three years would be understandable as Chelsea are unlikely to challenge for Europe’s elite crown anytime soon.

Is Asensio the real deal?

Simply put, yes. The 21-year-old has impressed at the Santiago Bernabeu following spells with Mallorca and Espanyol, scoring four goals in 18 La Liga appearances. Here’s also impressed in the Champions League, scoring two goals in five appearances- including a strike against Bayern Munich in the quarter-finals.

He’s now made his international debut for the Spanish national team and is one of the youngsters to watch at the World Cup next summer, where he could make his full emergence onto the world stage.

Alternative Premier League Team Of The Year Ft. Alderweireld, Alexis & More

The PFA Team of the Year was announced this morning and it’s fair to say the majority of people were underwhelmed by the selections, with the announcement going down like a lead balloon.

Naturally, the team was dominated by players from Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur, who currently sit in the top-two positions in the Premier League, but both sides can feel aggrieved by certain members of their team that missed out.

Arsenal, Manchester United, Everton and Manchester City fans will also share their frustrations, as they’ve had star performers overlook in favour of some rather questionable choices from the PFA.

Here at FreshFootball, we’ve also been left underwhelmed by the selections (seriously, Sadio Mane) and rather than discuss who should be in or out of the side, we’ve elected to select an entirely new team altogether.

Have we missed anyone out? Let us know in the comments below!

GK: Hugo Lloris

Spurs’ number one has been an ever-present figure this season between the sticks for the most resilient defence in the Premier League, with the Lilywhites conceding just 22 goals so far- significantly lower than anyone else.

Whilst David De Gea at Manchester United has been similarly impressive, and being selected in the PFA Team of the Year as a result, overlooking the goalkeeper for the league’s best defence is a decision that doesn’t really add up.

3 Key Battles That Will Decide The Result Of Manchester United vs. Chelsea

Is this the biggest game of the season for both clubs? If Chelsea win, the title will surely be theirs, if United win, their bid for the top four will look strong. Mourinho cannot afford another embarrassment against his old club, we take a look at 3 key battles that will decide the winner of this game. 

The game is being shown live on Sky Sports on Sunday afternoon (4pm kick-off UK time) and you can get a NowTV day pass and watch the game for just £6.29 with our fantastic 10% off a day pass offer.

1 – Antonio Valencia vs. Eden Hazard

Valencia has arguably been the best right back in the league this season, but on Sunday he will come up against a hugely talented Eden Hazard, and he doesn’t have to defend against this calibre of player very often.

Hazard is in the mood this season and has been a vital part of a Chelsea team that is close to winning the Premier League. Another big performance from Hazard could potentially win Chelsea the title on Sunday. If Conte’s men take three points at Old Trafford, they can surely be considered the Champions – they will have passed nearly every test. For Chelsea to get the three points, Hazard needs to be at his best. At the same time for United to get anything from the game, Valencia needs to show why he is being touted as the best in the league – and stop Hazard from performing.

De Gea & Lingard In: The Man United XI To Beat Chelsea On Sunday

Manchester United face a huge battle to secure a top-four finish in the Premier League and they need a victory against Chelsea to boost their chances. Fortunately, they have a strong squad and this side should be good enough to take all three points.

GK: David De Gea

Widely considered to be the best goalkeeper in the Premier League, David De Gea has been an ever-present figure in a Manchester United side that have conceded just 24 goals during their league campaign- a number only Tottenham Hotspur can better.

Absent last week through injury, although some reports have indicated Jose Mourinho kept him out of action for other reasons, the Spaniard will return to the Manchester United line-up for Saturday’s crucial clash with Chelsea and he’ll have to be at his best.

The game is being shown live on Sky Sports on Sunday afternoon (4pm kick-off UK time) and you can get a NowTV day pass and watch the game for just £6.29 with our fantastic 10% off a day pass offer.

Fabregas In, Matic Out: The Chelsea XI To Dent Man United’s Champions League Hopes

Chelsea are on-course for Premier League glory but can hand a huge blow to rivals Manchester United this weekend with a victory. Here, we’ve selected the team Antonio Conte should select to win the match.

GK: Thibaut Courtois

Chelsea’s Belgian stopper has been a mainstay in Antonio Conte’s side throughout the season, starting all 31 Premier League fixtures for the Blues. During that time, Chelsea have kept 13 clean sheets- the highest amount in the division.

The Blues have also conceded just 25 goals in the Premier League, a number only Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester United can better, and Courtois has been vastly important to Chelsea’s solid defensive structure.

The game is being shown live on Sky Sports on Sunday afternoon (4pm kick-off UK time) and you can get a NowTV day pass and watch the game for just £6.29 with our fantastic 10% off a day pass offer.

Chelsea On-Verge Of Securing Major Summer Signing

Chelsea boss Antonio Conte is not resting on his laurels this summer and is expected to go big in the transfer market to help establish the Blues as contenders for Champions League glory.

Whilst his West London side have stood as the frontrunners in the Premier League title chase throughout the season, and look set to win their second league trophy in three years, the squad at Conte’s disposal does need improving in particular areas.

Conte is determined to boost his options in attack, with Diego Costa struggling for form since the new year and facing question marks on his own future, and it seems a major deal is edging towards completion- and it could be a club-record deal.

Quoted by MetroItalian journalist Massimo Marianello told Sky Italia that Romelu Lukaku’s return to Stamford Bridge is almost complete.

What was said?

‘I think many big players will join Chelsea in the summer as Conte wants the Blues to become credible contenders for the Champions League win,’

‘I can say Lukaku’s Chelsea move is almost done deal and reports in England claim Alexis Sanchez will also play for Chelsea next season. Many other players could also arrive [at Chelsea].’

Will it happen?

Romelu Lukaku made it clear he would not extend his deal at Goodison Park but he has spoken recently about his desire to make history with the Toffees. However, the Belgian is unlikely to stay if a lucrative offer comes in.

Everton, for there part, don’t want to sell but a reported price-tag of around £70m would be extremely difficult to turn down and would allow Ronald Koeman to have plenty of room to recruit in the transfer market.

Incidentally, a figure that high would also set a club-record fee for Chelsea, surpassing the £50m they paid Liverpool for Fernando Torres, and would stand as one of the highest fees in Premier League history- although still a way off the £89m Manchester United paid for Paul Pogba.

Chelsea Identify Two Summer Targets To Replace Victor Moses

Chelsea have stormed through the Premier League campaign this season but Antonio Conte is set to make significant changes in the summer transfer window to bolster his squad ahead of their return to the Champions League.

One area the Blues are focusing on strengthening is at right-back, with The Daily Mirror stating Conte’s side have identified two prime-targets to bolster the squad; Atalanta’s Andrea Conti and Hoffenheim’s Jeremy Toljan.

Chelsea scouts have watched the pair recently, keeping tabs on Conti during Atalanta’s 5-0 victory over Genoa at the weekend, where he scored the opening goal, whilst German U21 international Toljan was watched against England and Portugal during the international break.

Conte has eyed Toljan since his days as Juventus manager and Conti has risen up his wish-list with his performances this season.

Who’s more likely to move?

Both Toljan and Conti could be on the market this summer as they seek to give themselves a chance of featuring for Italy and Germany respectively at the World Cup next summer but the signature of Conti from Atalanta could be easier to secure.

Sat third in the Bundesliga standing, eight points above fifth-place, Hoffenheim are on-course for Champions League football next season and Toljan, who has risen through the youth ranks at the club, may be keen to be a part of that historic campaign.

The German outlet have never played in Europe, having only secured a place in the Bundesliga in 2008, so the youngster is set to achieve something that the squad has never accomplished before.

Atalanta, meanwhile, sit fifth in Serie A but are six points behind Napoli and the Champions League places. Europa League football for the club is a great achievement but the prospect of playing in Europe’s elite tier with Chelsea could be too difficult to turn down.

How much would they cost?

TransferMarkt values Andrea Conti at around £5.1m, whilst Toljan is valued at the low price of £2.98m. However, Chelsea would have to pay well over those figures to secure either player as the selling club holds a strong negotiating position.

Conti is tied down with Atalanta until 2021 but Toljan’s contract is due to expire in 2018, which means Chelsea could swoop and secure the player for a smaller fee this summer. As mentioned though, he may opt to extend his deal and stay with Hoffenheim for their upcoming Champions League adventure.

Batshuayi in, Costa out: The Chelsea XI To Beat Man City On Wednesday

Chelsea surge towards Premier League glory was halted by Crystal Palace at the weekend and there’s a real danger that they could concede their advantage in the league standings over the coming weeks.

The Blues hold a seven point advantage over Tottenham Hotspur heading into the midweek Premier League fixtures and that could be cut to just four points by the end of play tomorrow, should Chelsea lose to Manchester City and Spurs beat Swansea.

Antonio Conte’s side need to treat the defeat to Crystal Palace as a wake-up call and make sufficient alterations to their side as a result, to ensure the squad is kept fresh and, crucially, doesn’t get complacent as we approach the latter end of the season.

With a few tweaks to the side that lost to Palace at the weekend, Chelsea can return to winning ways against Pep Guardiola’s side. Here, we’ve selected the ideal XI to tackle the Citizens.

GK: Thibaut Courtois

The Belgian goalkeeper has been an ever-present figure for the Blues this season, playing all 29 games of the Blues charge to the top of the Premier League. During that time, he’s conceded just 23 goals- a number only Tottenham Hotspur (21) can better.

With 13 clean-sheets, the highest in the league, Courtois has been an important member of a Chelsea defence that has been extremely difficult to break down. They’ll need him to be at his best against Manchester City, who have scored 56 goals this season.

Report: Chelsea Open Talks To Sign Arsenal Player

Arsenal face a difficult summer ahead of them as the Gunners risk missing out on Champions League football, whilst there could also be a wealth of departures from the first-team.

Amongst the stars tipped to move away from the Emirates Stadium this summer is two-time Copa America winner Alexis Sanchez, who is rapidly approaching the final 12 months of his contract with the Gunners and seems increasingly unlikely to pen a new deal.

His situation has attracted a wealth of interest in his services and French outlet RMC Sport has stated Chelsea and Paris Saint-Germain have opened negotiations with the Chilean, whilst The Daily Telegraph adds Alexis would prefer a move to Stamford Bridge.

Naturally, Arsenal would prefer not to sell to a Premier League rival but Alexis’ contract situation does not put them in a strong bargaining position and any reluctance to sell could leave the door open for the 28-year-old to leave on a free transfer next summer.

Who leads the battle?

As mentioned, Chelsea are keen to bring Alexis Sanchez across London and the Chilean prefers a move to Stamford Bridge. However, the Blues’ strong rivalry with Arsenal makes a deal unlikely- and the same can be said for Manchester City.

In Europe, the likes of Juventus, Paris Saint-Germain and Inter Milan have been linked with the Chilean’s signature, whilst there has also been a mention of interest from Sevilla, but Alexis’ likely demands for Champions League football could rule Inter out of the race.

That would leave Juventus and PSG as the big-hitters for Alexis’ signature and a move to the French capital would seem more likely, as the oil-rich club have far more weight to throw about in the transfer market than their Turin counterparts.

Is there any chance of Alexis staying?

Alexis Sanchez could still stay at Arsenal but his decision is unlikely to come down to money and will instead to built around what he believes he can achieve with a transfer. If he were to stay in North London, Arsenal would need to show significant improvements.

Finishing the season strongly would be unlikely to be enough to convince Alexis to stay and they’d have to show the Chilean they’re determined to turn things around- which could involve a major squad overhaul, replacing Arsene Wenger or going all-out in the transfer market.

Arsenal spent over £110m last summer but don’t have too much to show for it performance wise, so any persuasion on the transfer front would likely come from the calibre of players signed rather than the money spent.

‘Taking His Place For Granted’ Chelsea Fans Urge Conte To Drop Misfiring Player

Chelsea’s assault on the Premier League title suffered a major blow this weekend, as a shock defeat to Crystal Palace opened the door for a late charge from their rivals.

The Blues 2-1 defeat at Stamford Bridge to Palace, accompanied by Tottenham Hotspur’s 2-0 victory over Burnley, saw the Lilywhites cut the deficit to seven points and Mauricio Pochettino’s side will be hopeful of a late push towards the title.

Chelsea still boast a comfortable advantage but face a huge test in midweek against Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City, where defeat could open the door for Spurs to cut the deficit to just four points- and spark a major tussle at the end of the campaign.

The Blues may consider the defeat against Crystal Palace to be a wake-up call and fans on social media are calling for a big change this week, as they’re desperate to see misfiring striker Diego Costa dropped amidst his poor form.

Costa has struggled since having his head turned from interest in China during the January transfer window and his decline of form in front of goal has raised question marks as to whether the title race is really over.

With so much to lose, Costa’s form is a problem and many fans want him to be taught a lesson by being dropped in the coming weeks.

Unstoppable? A Look At How Chelsea Could Line-Up Next Season With Alexis Sanchez

Chelsea are already the Champions elect this season, but the news of what they might be about to do in the transfer market will have their Premier League rivals scared. 

Conte has already assembled a brilliant first XI and it looks as if he is going to strengthen it further with some key summer signings. Here’s a look at how his side could line up next season.

GK – Thibaut Courtois

It goes without saying that Chelsea do not need to replace Courtois between the sticks. With interest from the likes of Real Madrid, they may have to ensure that the Belgian international is not tempted by a move elsewhere this summer, but should Conte make Chelsea Premier League winners again, why would he want to be anywhere else?

Chelsea Set To Make Decision On Pair Ahead Of £70m Swoop

Chelsea have excelled in the Premier League this season but Antonio Conte is ready to shuffle his deck during the summer window to ensure his side remain competitive next term.

With Diego Costa’s future remaining under scrutiny, Antonio Conte is likely to enter the transfer market for a new striker as the Blues could lose the services of their Spanish forward, whilst Michy Batshuayi has failed to impress following his move from Marseille last summer.

The Sun states Chelsea are prepared to splash as much as £70m on a new striker but are debating whether to bring Romelu Lukaku back to Stamford Bridge or push to land Alvaro Morata’s signature, with the Spaniard frustrated with a lack of game time with Real Madrid.

Belgian ace Lukaku has refused to pen an extended deal with Everton and is expected to be a big mover this summer, whilst Morata is also likely to be on the market after failing to establish himself in Zinedine Zidane’s plans following his return to Madrid from Juventus last summer.

Who’d be the better fit?

With Romelu Lukaku already well established in the Premier League and having previous links to Chelsea, the Belgian striker could be the perfect fit into Antonio Conte’s side and his physical presence is comparable to that of Diego Costa.

However, Alvaro Morata would likely be significantly less expensive and is keen to prove himself ahead of the World Cup next summer. Taking that into consideration, many may feel that the Spaniard presents the best solution for Chelsea.

Signing Lukaku would be a real statement of intent from the Blues though, as they’d have to spend a club-record on their former striker, and it would show they’re happy to go toe-to-toe with both Manchester clubs in the transfer market.

Which deal is more likely?

Whilst Romelu Lukaku is pushing for an exit from Goodison Park, Everton have a decent standing in negotiations as the Belgian striker is still penned down to a contract and boss Ronald Koeman is keen to dig his heels in and prevent a summer sale.

Pushing for Lukaku’s signature will likely be a long, drawn out process and Chelsea may prefer to swoop for Morata, as a deal for the Spaniard would be easier to complete. However, negotiating with Real Madrid could result in Los Blancos pushing to land the links of Thibaut Courtois or Eden Hazard in return.

All in all, there’s no simple solution to Chelsea’s search for a new striker but they’re likely to have cash in hand to spend, as Costa is expected to seal a lucrative transfer away from Stamford Bridge and that sale will boost Conte’s spending money.

Analysis: Chelsea Set To Offer Key Man In Deal For Ligue 1 Target

Chelsea have stormed to Premier League success this season but Antonio Conte will have work to do in the summer, with the Italian boss being aware the challenges next season will be significantly harder.

The Blues have no doubt benefitted from a lack of European involvement this season and their return to the Champions League next season will give Conte’s squad plenty to do, as they seek to remain competitive across all fronts.

Movement on the transfer market will take place and Italian outlet TuttoSport suggests the Blues will look to use Diego Costa’s uncertain future at Stamford Bridge to their advantage, by offering the Spanish striker as make-weight in a deal for Paris Saint-Germain’s Javier Pastore.

27-year-old Pastore is a target for Conte in the summer and Costa, who pushed for a return to Atletico Madrid last summer and attracted vast interest from China in January, could be sacrificed to make a deal happen.

What would Pastore give Chelsea?

Chelsea’s side this season has been near-perfect in their push for Premier League glory but on paper the squad needs improving significantly, especially if they’re to go toe-to-toe with the big guns in the Champions League next season.

Pastore would likely partner N’Golo Kante in the middle of the park at Stamford Bridge, in front of Conte’s preferred three-man defence and with wing-backs supporting on either side. Pastore would add creativity to Chelsea’s deep midfield pair, without sacrificing the blanket offered to the defence.

In a 3-4-3 system, Pastore would become a crucial player for the Blues and a potential midfield partnership with Kante would give Conte’s men a real platform for success.

Will Costa leave this summer?

The likelihood is that Diego Costa will end his stay with the Blues at the end of the season, following two seasons shrouded with controversy. Last year, before Jose Mourinho lost his job, Costa struggled to perform to the required standard and only upped his performance levels at the back-end of the season.

This year, the Spaniard has returned to his best in front of goal but has hit a decline in form following a very public clash with Conte in January, which came after the former Atletico Madrid man had his head turned by interest from the Chinese Super League.

Chelsea will want a player that’s committed to their cause and pushed to sign Celtic ace Moussa Dembele in January, with the Blues likely to revive that interest at the end of the season.

Chelsea look to keep star-man with record-breaking new contract

Chelsea have excelled in the Premier League this season but face a fight to keep their star-men this summer, as Europe’s elite look to make a move in the transfer target.

Real Madrid continue to eye the services of Belgian ace Eden Hazard but The Sun states Chelsea are ready to fend-off the interest of the Spanish giants by handing their star-man a contract worth £300k-a-week; which would make Hazard the highest paid player in the Premier League.

Talks of a renewal were set to start at the end of the season but, given Real Madrid’s growing interest, the Blues have brought forward discussions as they aim to prevent Los Blancos from sealing a major transfer this summer.

Zinedine Zidane has been very public with his admiration for Hazard and many feel he’s the perfect long-term replacement for Cristiano Ronaldo, who has limited years left at the top of European football. Naturally though, Chelsea are desperate to keep him.

How important is Hazard?

Eden Hazard’s performances over the past three seasons for Chelsea have been mixed, as he was a key-part of their title-winning success under Jose Mourinho but performed poorly last term. This season though, Hazard is back to his best and is again proving to be a huge catalyst for the Blues’ success.

Keeping Hazard is crucial for the side’s set up but the most important factor is the message that it would send to their rivals, as it would show the Blues are capable of going toe-to-toe with both Manchester clubs to boast the best names.

By handing Hazard a Premier League record-deal, Chelsea would show their willingness to fight and match the spending from Manchester United and Manchester City. If he was to leave, Chelsea would find it hard to replace him and it would also issue a negative message.

Is Hazard worth it?

Hazard’s performances for Chelsea have made him a fan-favourite at Stamford Bridge but many do expect more from him and the Belgian can expect to receive further scrutiny if he was to command this record-breaking deal; as we’ve seen with Paul Pogba this season.

To be classed in the same calibre as the likes of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, Hazard will need to find consistency and perform domestically as well as on the continent. Having only just turned 26 though, there’s plenty of time for him to adjust.

Securing this deal would allow Antonio Conte to continue building a side around the Belgian, which is likely to include the arrival of a new striker this summer as question-marks on the future of Diego Costa consider to be raised.

Chelsea Striker Discusses Potential Transfer, Names Surprise Destination

Chelsea could face losing some key-players this summer despite a season of success under Antonio Conte and one player has discussed a surprising move.

French outlet Telefoot quote Chelsea striker Diego Costa as being open to a move to France, as he praised the likes of Paris Saint-Germain, Monaco and Marseille.

The Spaniard’s name has regularly flooded the media throughout the past year, as he was heavily linked with a return to Atletico Madrid last summer and attracted the interest of the Chinese Super League during the mid-season window.

As the current campaign rapidly approaches it’s conclusion, with Chelsea set for Premier League success and pushing for glory in the FA Cup too, fans will be starting to get concerned about the futures of some players and Costa seems to be edging closer to an exit every day.

What was said?

It’s true that Marseille has a great project and is growing upI’m very happy with Chelsea, but in football everything can happen, and if we have to change, France is a place where I’ve never been to I never played, so why not.”

“The PSG, everyone knows that it is a respected team in Europe. Monaco also has a great project and great players.

Will he move?

One thing that’s for certain is that Diego Costa’s name will be mentioned with a transfer this summer and Chelsea could approve a departure for a number of reasons. Firstly, they’d be able to replace the Spaniard and, perhaps more significantly, they’re probably fed up with hearing him discuss a transfer.

Costa admitted he tried to secure a move to Atletico Madrid last summer and the January fiasco surrounding interest from China left an unsavoury taste in the mouths of many. Whilst the bridge with Antonio Conte has been fixed, there is parts that may be irreparable.

Amidst all the uncertainty though, it’s difficult to see Costa moving to France and China is still his most likely destination- especially as his standing with the Spanish national side isn’t too strong, which means he isn’t guaranteed football at the World Cup next summer.

Should Chelsea Consider This Swap Deal For Eden Hazard?

Spanish giants Real Madrid are keen to sign Eden Hazard from Chelsea this summer and could be prepared to offer a stunning swap deal.

The Daily Mail, citing claims from Spanish outlet Marca, claim that the Belgian star has held ‘positive’ discussions with Zinedine Zidane’s side ahead of a potential move at the end of the season- with Los Blancos being long-term admirers of Chelsea’s attacking wizard.

However, Chelsea are keen to ensure they do not come out of a deal empty-handed and are looking to exploit the situation to land Colombian ace James Rodriguez in return- who’s set for an exit this summer after struggling to make a regular stake for first-team football over the last three-years.

A deal could end working out well for all parties but fans may be concerned about a potential swap deal, as they’ll question whether James would fill the void left by Hazard.

How to they compare?

Hazard has played significantly more football to James this season, with Squawka showing the Belgian has played 2155 minutes compared to James’ 683, but there has been enough in the Colombian’s performance to suggest he’d be a decent asset to Chelsea’s ranks.

James boasts 87% passing accuracy this season, compared to Hazard’s 84%, and has contributed with five assists in 14 games- whilst Hazard boasts four assists in 24 matches. In front of goal though, Hazard has a significant advantage of 11 goals compared to James’ two.

All in all, James has been a direct part of seven goals in 14 appearances whilst Hazard has been involved in 15 in 24 matches- meaning both have been impressive this season and it shows that James could be able to fill Hazard’s void.

Would James fit in?

Perhaps the most pressing concern would be whether James Rodriguez fits into Antonio Conte’s set-up at Stamford Bridge as, whilst capable of playing out wide, the South American asset is most effective playing just behind the striker.

In conte’s 3-4-3 set-up in West London, there isn’t really a central role where James could slot into the side and the Colombian would have to play out wide- where he’d slot into Hazard’s vacant position, should he seal a move to the Santiago Bernabeu.

Therefore, Chelsea may find it better to pursue an alternative target to James as they’d be able to get a quality wide-man with the figure they would receive for Hazard’s services and James himself would probably be better off moving elsewhere.

Fans React As Chelsea ‘Agree’ €40million Deal To Sign Quality Midfielder

Chelsea have reportedly agreed a £35million deal to bring 22-year-old Monaco midfielder Tiemoue Bakayoko to the club in the summer and Chelsea fans are reacting on social media to the news

Bakayoko has been one of many impressive players in the Monaco team this year and according to TuttoMercatoWeb, he is ready to put pen to paper on a five-year deal after Chelsea and Monaco agreed a fee. Arsenal and Manchester United are amongst others clubs to be linked with a move for the midfielder, so Conte may still have work to do if he is to lure Bakayoko to the club.

Chelsea fans must be excited to see Antonio Conte already planning ahead in the transfer market, even with his side cruising to the Premier League title. Bakayoko would provide competition for places in central midfield, with the energetic midfielder likely to partner N’Golo Kante in what would be a fantastic midfield partnership. Bakayoko’s arrival would give Chelsea all sorts of options, with Cesc Fabregas more than likely to move on should this deal be completed.

Here’s some of the reaction on Twitter to the news that a deal for Bakayoko has been agreed. 

However there have been some concerns over the duo of Kante and Bakayoko and their technical limitations…

In my opinion, Bakayoko is a great player and with him in the squad, Chelsea will be an even stronger force than we’ve seen this season. Kante has perhaps been the best player in the team this season, but next season they cannot afford to rely on him as much, and Bakayoko, whilst not being the same in style, has stamina in abundance and would be able to fill the energy void if Kante were to pick up an injury.

Bakayoko is a box-to-box player that has thrived playing alongside the defensive-minded Fabinho at Monaco. Chelsea would be even harder to break down if he were to partner Kante in the heart of midfield. Bakayoko would bring something to the Chelsea midfield that I don’t believe they have currently, someone who can dribble with the ball through the middle and use their physical advantage to transition the ball from defence into attack.

I get the argument that neither Bakayoko more Kante are the most technically gifted, but that should not be an issue with the right players around him. I also think Conte needs to keep Fabregas, or bring in a creative central midfielder as an alternative option when the game requires it.

Chelsea Considering Selling Midfielder, Could Move To Manchester United In Summer

Chelsea are said to be considering the sale of one of their midfielders, with Manchester United previously listed with an interest.

Chelsea have been extremely successful so far this season but that has been the case for all the individuals in the team. With Chelsea’s success has come a stable and consistent team, but that has meant that Antonio Conte has repeatedly left several players out of the starting line up. One of those who is becoming frustrated on the sidelines is Brazilian midfielder Willian.

Perhaps Chelsea’s best player last season, it is understandable that the 28-year-old would be considering a departure, particularly with his age in mind. With 43 caps, a seasoned international and over 100 games for Chelsea, Willian would be an asset for most teams in Europe.

Conte is clearly not his biggest fan, so it could be in everyone’s best interests for him to leave this summer. Manchester United could be a potential destination, with the Daily Star reporting Mourinho is on red alert about potentially bringing the midfielder to Old Trafford.

Willian thrived under Mourinho when he was Chelsea manager so Jose knows only too well of his abilities. Chelsea would surely be reluctant to sell the player to a Premier League rival, but that didn’t stop the Juan Mata or Petr Cech deals from being completed in the recent past. Willian is settled in England and a move to Manchester could be the best thing for him.

With Wayne Rooney probably leaving the club in the summer, there could be a space in the number 10 role, a position Willian is capable of playing. He’s got a fantastic work rate and Mourinho loves that in all his midfielders, whether you’re playing at number 10 or on the wings.

But with the likes of Juan Mata and Henrikh Mkhitaryan still in the squad, would Willian be assured of the game time he desires. I wonder if Mourinho will sell Mata this summer, as he is a player that he has never been a huge fan of.

There’s the potential that Willian could be tempted by a big-money move to China, especially with him nearing the end of his playing career. He did move to Russian club Anzhi for financial reasons earlier in his career, and I’m sure Chelsea would also rather sell to China due to the money involved and to avoid selling to a direct Premier League rival. Of course, former Chelsea midfielder and Brazilian compatriot Oscar has recently made the move to Asia.

Real Madrid aiming to raid Chelsea for signatures of star duo

Spanish giants Real Madrid are looking to take advantage of Chelsea’s success this season by launching a raid for two of the Blues’ most crucial players.

The Guardian reports that Zinedine Zidane’s Champions League holders are looking to launch an assault for the signatures of both Thibaut Courtois and Eden Hazard this summer, in a move that would leave Chelsea’s ranks severely depleted.

Real Madrid are looking to reshuffle this summer with the future’s of the likes of Alvaro Morata, Isco and James Rodriguez hanging in the balance, whilst they’re also preparing for life without Cristiano Ronaldo- and Hazard could be the ideal fit.

Between the sticks, Courtois is seen as a significant upgrade on Costa Rican Keylor Navas and the move sees Los Blancos cool their interest in long-term target David De Gea from Manchester United, as Zidane’s side seek alternative options.

How likely is a deal?

Chelsea would command a hefty figure for both players but could find it difficult to fend off the interest of Real Madrid, specifically when it comes to Thibaut Courtois. Whilst he has insisted he’s happy at Stamford Bridge, his family still lives in the Spanish capital from his time on-loan with Atletico Madrid.

With Hazard, the Belgian may feel the opportunity to succeed Cristiano Ronaldo is too great an opportunity to turn down and his arrival at the Santiago Bernabeu would see Los Blancos shift away from their ‘BBC’ attacking trio- with Ronald likely moving central and Hazard filling the gap on the left, whilst Gareth Bale operates on the opposite side and Karim Benzema misses out.

However, Hazard still has three-years remaining on his current deal at Stamford Bridge and discussions have been held to extend his deal. Despite that, the Belgian reportedly remains open to a switch to Spain.

How much would they cost?

Both Courtois and Hazard would command a hefty price on the transfer market but Real Madrid could subsidise a deal by offering Alvaro Morata in exchange; as the Spanish striker is unhappy with the opportunities that have come his way since he returned to Madrid last summer.

Formerly of Juventus, where Antonio Conte used to manage, the Italian boss is a keen admirer of Morata’s talents and unsuccessful enquiries were made last summer. This year though, the situation could be different and Chelsea will be prepared for the possibility of losing Diego Costa.

Money is no object for Real Madrid though and they’d be looking to make a real statement of intent to respond to the growing prices of the Premier League, especially as Manchester United broke the transfer world-record last summer with their capture of Paul Pogba.

It wouldn’t be a surprise to see Hazard’s signature fetch the same sort of price Pogba’s did last summer and Courtois himself could surpass the long-standing record for a goalkeeper, which currently stands at the fee of over £50m Juventus paid for Gianluigi Buffon.

Analysis: Would Verratti be better for Man United or Chelsea

Manchester United and Chelsea have received a boost via the recent comments from Marco Verratti’s agent, as The Daily Mirror suggests the Italian is unhappy at Paris Saint-Germain.

24-year-old Verratti is one of the finest young midfielders within world football and interest from top clubs, including that of Barcelona, is likely to be high. Now, Verratti’s agent Donato di Campli has handed any interested party a boost in the quest for his client’s services.

“The situation is very complicated – he has a very good contract until 2021. He wants to win and PSG, like it is, cannot win. He has been in Paris for five years now and he has to make a decision: earn a lot and not win or earn and become a champion.”

“It is not a problem of money. Whoever signs Verratti will pay him a lot of money. One thing is certain: if he leaves PSG, it will be for a top European club. There are some top Italian clubs but I have my doubts Italy will be his final destination. Spain, the Premier League or the Bundesliga? A top European club.”

Both Chelsea and Manchester United already have a wealth of talent in midfield but Verratti would be a significant addition, though it begs the question of where he’d be the best fit. Here, we’ve taken a look.

Which style works best?

Manchester United and Chelsea both have contrasting styles under Jose Mourinho and Antonio Conte, with the latter adopting a three-man defence and utilising wing-backs; which means the midfield duo, which this season has largely consisted of N’Golo Kante and Nemanja Matic, needs to be solid defensively.

United, on the other hand, usually adopt a flat back-four but their shape doesn’t have too much space for another creative midfielder, with Paul Pogba playing further forward whilst Ander Herrera or Michael Carrick sweeps up the danger.

If Verratti were to arrive at either Premier League side, he’d need to be strong defensively to fit into the current set-up; although there is a chance that the tactics could be tweaked if his future does lie in England.

Is Verratti defensively strong?

Squawka statistics show Verratti can hold his own defensively but there is certainly work to be done, with the concerning aspect showing the Italian international has picked up five yellow cards this season and committed a hefty 26 fouls.

On a more positive note, 45 successful tackles and 15 interceptions make for good reading but winning three aerial duels show’s he’s not quite suited to a defensive role. Clearly, he’s better in attack than he is in a deeper role.

With that being the case, Chelsea seems to be an incredibly unlikely destination with Antonio Conte’s current tactics but the Italian link could work. Meanwhile, United would equally have to adjust their set-up.

Looking at it this way, Barcelona would probably be the best fit for Verratti and he’d certainly be a top-quality successor to Andres Iniesta in the Catalan side’s ranks.

Conte’s No.1 transfer target ‘ready’ to join Chelsea this summer

Chelsea are in with a chance of finally signing Antonio Conte’s number one transfer target. 

According to The Metro, if Massimo Allegri remains at Juventus, then star defender Leonardo Bonucci could be looking to leave because of their poor relationship. The duo recently fell out on the touchline during a match and reports suggest that they have failed to recover from this event.

Allegri’s future is up in the air himself, but he does have a contract beyond this season at Juventus currently and it is looking more likely that the Arsenal and Barcelona target will remain in charge of the Italian Champions next season.

According to Yahoo, Bonucci is prepared to leave Juventus for the Premier League with Chelsea and Manchester City heavily interested, but the former favourites for his signature. Bonucci would almost certainly break the world transfer record for a defender.

How would Bonucci fit in? 

Wonderfully. The Italian would thrive in Conte’s 3-4-3 system and probably replace Gary Cahill. Alongside Luiz and Azpilicueta, Chelsea would perhaps have the best central defence in the whole of Europe. A man with Bonucci’s experience would need very little time to settle in, despite moving to a new league. He’s worked under Conte before too, so the manager would be able to handle his implementation into the team with ease.

How likely is this? 

We know Conte is a big fan of Bonucci and he tried to sign him during his first window in charge. Instead, Conte got David Luiz, and that’s turned out pretty well, but I have no doubt that if Bonucci were to come on the market, then Conte would do everything in his power to add him to what is already an extremely resolute Chelsea rearguard.

I think if Allegri stays at Juventus and Chelsea are prepared to spend like they normally are, then there’s every chance of this deal happening in the summer.

How much would he cost?

As I say, it would certainly break the world transfer record for a defender, I think Juventus wouldn’t listen to anything less than £60million, which seems a lot for a 29-year-old, but remember how much they spent on Gonzalo Higuain and how much they managed to sell Paul Pogba for. Bonucci is more integral to Juventus than Pogba ever was. The club will be desperate for him to stay and as well as paying a lot of money, Chelsea will have to hope that Bonucci forces the move, otherwise Juve will keep him at the club.

Chelsea, Arsenal or Manchester United? A Look At Where Lukaku Will Be Next Season

Romelu Lukaku revealed he would not extend his contract and in an interview, appeared to question Everton’s lack of ambition. The Belgian forward would like to extend his career and move to a bigger European club. 
Manager Ronald Koeman was not happy on Thursday when discussing his star striker.

‘Of course I’m not happy about that interview because first, if Everton is not a club with a lot of ambition I wouldn’t be the manager,’ Koeman said.

‘The second – and I spoke with Rom this morning – is I know it’s difficult, if you’re a player, prepare yourself to play good and score goals. He is one of the best.

‘The rest needs to be done by the manager and board.

‘First you speak with the player, then the board and we’ll see what happens. We have time to decide what we need to do.

Will Lukaku score at the weekend when Everton welcome Hull City? Take a look at LBS.co.uk for the latest betting odds.

With Lukaku seemingly on the move in the summer, we look at 3 possible Premier League clubs that Lukaku could move to.

Arsenal

Arsenal have lacked a natural number 9 for some time now and Lukaku could be the answer. My worry with him is he is lacking a quality first touch and I think that could see him struggle in Arsenal’s system.

This is perhaps the destination where Lukaku is most likely to get first team football. Arsenal have Olivier Giroud and Alexis Sanchez as options through the middle, but Alexis could be on his way in the summer and Giroud will be 31 this year. Lukaku could easily make the number 9 spot his own at Arsenal, whilst there would be more competition at Chelsea and Manchester United. Remember he left Chelsea originally due to a lack of first team football.

Chelsea

Could a return to his old club be on the horizon? Lukaku would need first team assurances so that would force Conte to change to a 2-man attack, or perhaps part ways with Diego Costa. Costa almost left the club in January with interest from China and Atletico Madrid unsettling the forward, so he could possibly be on his way in the summer. That’d open the door for a Lukaku return.

Manchester United

United could be on the lookout for a striker in the summer, especially if Zlatan does’t extend his current contract. However I think a move is unlikely, as there is Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford also competing with Zlatan for a central role currently. Rashford and Martial are both already reportedly unsettled by their lack of game time, so adding another top striker to the mix would surely unsettle the talented youthful duo.

‘Shocking Performance’ Football Fans On Twitter Criticise Manchester United Midfielder

It was a miserable night for Manchester United as they crashed out of the FA Cup in the quarter-final of the competition.

Ander Herrera may have been the man to really let United down by picking up two silly bookings, but it was Paul Pogba who frustrated the fans most as the Frenchman once again failed to deliver in a big match.

Despite pretty much all fans saying Pogba was poor against Chelsea, Mourinho amazingly declared Pogba ‘the best player on the pitch’. There was one player that was certianly better, and that was N’Golo Kante.

The international compatriot of Pogba arrived at Chelsea for just a margin of Pogba’s fee, but Kante has been the more impressive player all season and the difference in form showed in this game. One area Pogba is perhaps regarded as being better than Kante is in attacking areas, but in this FA Cup game, Kante was even more effective than Pogba in the final third. Kante scored the only goal of the game with a long-range effort that crept past De Gea into the bottom corner.

There’s been criticism from United fans themselves, rival fans and pundits. Here’s a sample of the reaction…

Pogba is starting to have one too many poor performances and when you cost £89million, that is something you really cannot afford to do. The likes of Mesut Ozil do not get away with it and Ozil cost less than half of what Pogba did. He’s still young, but Pogba needs to start making the difference in the big games sooner rather than later.

I do have a bit of sympathy for Pogba on this occasion because Herrera let him down early in the game getting those two bookings. It is hard enough having to handle Kante with a fully stocked midfield, but when one gets sent off it makes it pretty much impossible. Pogba’s attacking influence was restricted and he was forced to chase the game and work hard defensively, not his forte’ to say the least.

All The Player Ratings: Chelsea 1-0 Manchester United

These are Fresh Football’s ratings for the FA Cup Quarter-Final tie between Chelsea and Manchester United at Stamford Bridge.

Chelsea

Thibaut Courtois – 7

The Belgian came up with a crucial stop in the second period, denying what would have been Manchester United’s equaliser through Marcus Rashford’s left-footed strike at goal.

César Azpilicueta – 6

Impressive at the back, less so going forward.

David Luiz – 7

Luiz was able to boss the circulation of possession, even throughout United’s sharpest spells.

Gary Cahill – 6

Noted as the weak link in Chelsea’s backline, exemplified by the rare surrender of possession in sight of United’s pressing traps, but such pressure was eventually eased on the ex-Bolton Wanderers man.

Victor Moses – 6.5

The former Crystal Palace and Wigan Athletic winger got up and down the flank well, despite it being crowded by a defensive-looking United line-up.

N’Golo Kanté – 8

The man of the match, N’Golo Kanté proved to be the decisive difference between the two FA Cup hopefuls with his goal from range.

Nemanja Matic – 6.5

Positive and tidy in possession, which boded well for Chelsea’s game plan in the second half.

Marcos Alonso – 6.5

Another to put in a decent performance, as his influence on proceedings grew in the second half.

Willian – 7

Sharp, direct and unlucky not to have earned himself a goal and assist along the way.

Eden Hazard – 8

Along with Kanté, Eden Hazard was as expressive as ever in the final third, escaping the aggressive press-traps from Man United and inflicting lasting damage.

Diego Costa – 5.5

This wasn’t the Diego Costa we’ve become accustomed to seeing in recent times, taking the bait when embroiling himself in physical battles with Marcos Rojo and missing a couple of dead-cert goals on another day.

Subs:

Cesc Fabregas – 6

Accentuated Chelsea’s dominance after coming on in the second half.

Kurt Zouma – N/A

Michy Batshuayi – N/A

 

Manchester United

David De Gea – 7.5

The Spaniard was the main reason why Manchester United kept Chelsea away from the lead in the first half, as the Blues dominated proceedings following Ander Herrera’s red card.

Antonio Valencia – 5

Plenty of fouls coming from a man who was visibly frustrated with his team’s performance. Antonio Valencia was a poorer player, as a result.

Phil Jones – 6

The Englishman was fairly sound at pressing higher up the pitch in the early stages, but Eden Hazard and co. soon had his number, as he succumbed to mistimed tackles.

Chris Smalling – 6

Few complaints hang over the centre back’s head as far as the result is concerned, but as a captain, and United boss José Mourinho also joins him in this equation, Chris Smalling perhaps could have done more to prevent his teammates from losing their cool in battle.

Marcos Rojo – 5

Rash and aggressive, Marcos Rojo was another to tread on a fine line with regards to his discipline.

Matteo Darmian – 5.5

Mirroring Phil Jones’ duties in pressing a little higher up the pitch, almost like a fourth centre back, Darmian also collected his fair share of failed attempts.

Ander Herrera – 5

Man United fans may bemoan Michael Oliver’s decision to red card the midfielder in the first half, especially after such a positive impact in the early exchanges, but the visitors should also be disappointed in Herrera’s foolish actions just seconds after the referee’s general warning.

Paul Pogba – 5

Little inspiration came from the French playmaker, in particular after being paired up with Marouane Fellaini.

Ashley Young – 4.5

Totally retracted, whereas Chelsea’s preference to attack down their own left-hand side saw Young come into the picture at a sporadic rate.

Henrikh Mkhitaryan – 5

Appeared fairly lively in and around the box, but the Armenian star was the one to be hooked early in response to Herrera’s red card.

Marcus Rashford – 5.5

Kept Chelsea on their toes, but the striker will be disappointed to have not finished a very good chance he managed to fashion for himself in the second period.

Subs:

Marouane Fellaini – 4.5

The Belgian never got into the game, much to United’s detriment.

Jesse Lingard – N/A

‘A Machine’ Chelsea Fans Heap Praise Onto This Chelsea Man Following West Ham Win

Chelsea opened up the gap at the top of the table to ten points once again as the league leaders beat West Ham 2-1 on their first Premier League visit to the London Stadium.

West Ham started the match strongly as they looked for Andy Carroll up top, who aimed to cause the Chelsea defence problems all night. However, it was Chelsea who took the lead on 25 minutes. N’Golo Kante nicked the ball to spark a Chelsea counter-attack. Eden Hazard stayed onside before rounding Darren Randolph and slotting into an empty net to give the Blues a first half lead.

The home side failed to create any notable chances before the end of the first half as Chelsea went into the break one goal to the good. It was Chelsea who extended their lead just after the break. Diego Costa couldn’t believe his luck as he was left with a tap-in from a corner to hand Chelsea a two-goal lead.

Antonio Conte brought on Nemanja Matic and pushed Hazard up front alongside Costa to hold onto his lead. He was successful in doing so, but failed to keep a clean sheet as Manuel Lanzini pulled one back just a minute before the full-time whistle.

One player that impressed once again for Chelsea was Kante. The defensive midfielder has turned out to be one of the signings of the season, and put in yet another trademark performance in the Chelsea midfield on Monday night.

One of the areas where Kante has picked up criticism in the past is with his passing. But in this game he managed to impress with a 90% pass success rate. As usual, he was running around blunting the home attack throughout, and he managed 4 tackles and 1 interception in Chelsea’s 2-1 win against a West Ham side that has improved in quality recently.

Kante may have felt hard done by by not being awarded PFA Player of the Year last season, but after (almost certainly) winning back to back titles and being an integral part of both teams, surely Kante will be awarded the best player in the division for this campaign. He’s been phenominally consistent for Chelsea, and on the back of last season, he has shown that he, unlike some other Leicester City players, was not a one season wonder.

‘He Must Start Every Game’ Chelsea Fans Impressed With Midfielder vs. Swansea

Chelsea managed to get past a resilient Swansea City side on Saturday with a 3-1 win. The Welsh side grew into the game after scoring an eqauliser against the run of play and at 1-1, the game could have gone either way. But Chelsea again found a way to win and move comfortably 11 points clear at the top of the league. Cesc Fabregas came in for Nemanja Matic and he proved to be the player that made all the difference on the day.

Fabregas has had to sit on the bench for much of the season but his performances in recent weeks will have done his chances no harm whatsoever. Alongside Kante, Fabregas has more creative freedom to roam and make the difference in possession – the duo compliment each other extremely well and we are certainly seeing a more confident and better Fabregas next to Kante rather than Matic.

Cesc was the heartbeat of the Chelsea team, with 127 touches during the game – crucially he picked up a goal and an assist. The Spaniard is a much more creative option than Matic and that was shown not only with his goal and assist but also with his 5 key passes.

He completed a huge 108 passes with a 86% success rate – that’s more passes than anyone else on the pitch. Despite playing in a central position, he attempted 7 crosses, and 8 long balls with 5 of them accurate. Fabregas was not afraid to shoot either, he had more shots (5) than any other Chelsea player, with two of them finding the target.

Here’s how the Chelsea fans reacted to his performance on Twitter.

In my opinion Fabregas should be in the first team regularly, I think he has been better than Matic this season, although Matic of course has his benefits for when the game is more physical or Chelsea may be required to do more defending.

It’s great that Antonio Conte has options outside his first eleven though, as injuries could start to kick in in the latter stages of the season. Conte will also be keen to win the FA Cup and next up is Manchester United in the quarter final – he’ll certainly need his squad players to contribute then.

3 Must Have Players In Your Fantasy Football Premier League Teams This Week

As Manchester United and Southampton prepare themselves for a special night out in Wembley for the EFL Cup final, subsequently taking Arsenal and Manchester City out of the firing line for a hot minute, life in the Premier League continues with important clashes in and around parts of the table.

But in the absence of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Alexis Sanchez, Sergio Agüero and others, the question of who to turn to as captain will be the one that looms large for many of us Fantasy Premier League players this weekend. That’s nothing that a little friendly advice from Fresh Football can’t fix, however.

1. Diego Costa

Club: Chelsea
Position: Striker
Price: £10m

It’s the week of the heavy hitters for us and fewer names have been as synonymous to the skipper’s armband as Diego Costa’s this season. The Chelsea forward has supplemented the Blues’ title charge with 15 league goals from 23 appearances, making him a top favourite for the Golden Boot this season.

We fully expect to see the Brazilian-born Spain international reinforce his bid for the hotly-contested end-of-season gong this weekend, as Chelsea welcome a few familiar faces back to Stamford Bridge.

Paul Clement, the former assistant manager of the London outfit under Carlo Ancelotti’s tenure, as well as his sidekick, Claude Makélélé, another to don the Chelsea blue, have turned fortunes around at what was once considered to be a relegation-bound Swansea City side.

The team from South Wales have made steady strides since Clement’s appointment to find themselves 15th in the Premier League table, but that does little to the fact that the West Londoners are overwhelming favourites in this clash, as they look to take another step towards the league title.

It may or may not be easy for Blues, but Costa has come up with his fair share of clutch moments up top for Antonio Conte’s side in the best and worst positions, so we expect the ex-Atlético Madrid striker to deliver.

‘Chelsea’s Best Player’ Defender Praised For Another Great Performance vs. Burnley

It’s a funny old game. Who remembers the reactions surrounding David Luiz’s Chelsea comeback in the summer? Some of you may choose to forget it all.

The Brazilian defender first joined the Blues from Benfica back in 2011 for £21.25 million, and despite conquering the hearts of those at Stamford Bridge, Luiz never quite convinced the doubters in comparison to John Terry and Gary Cahill.

José Mourinho’s second stint in west London saw him incline towards the same pairing, so it was with great disbelief that much of the football world saw Chelsea receive a record-high bid for the out-of-favour defender, as he joined Ligue 1 champions Paris Saint-Germain for an initial fee of £42 million in 2014.

Luiz’s flaws were then on full show, alongside many of his Brazilian teammates, as his national team were infamously thumped 7-1 on home turf against Germany, the eventual winners of 2014 World Cup, with the queries into his reliability as a central defender escalating further.

Football in Ligue 1 took the ex-Benfica man out of the limelight, somewhat, so it’s perhaps no surprise to see the amount of eyebrows raised when his eventual return had been announced.

Chelsea had formerly been interested in other big names to fill the void Antonio Conte believed needed to be plugged in, as they failed to land the likes of Leonardo Bonucci and Kalidou Koulibaly.

The opportunity to bring back Luiz arose on deadline day, adding a scent of panic buy to the deal, but the Brazilian has silenced those critics by coming on leaps and bounds since his latest transfer.

Chelsea’s latest bout versus Burnley accentuated the £30 million man’s growth in popularity, with social media quick to show their appreciation for the curly-haired character.

Such has been Luiz’s zero-to-hero rise that, even with a heavily strapped knee away to a physically imposing Burnley side, he’s kept club legend John Terry and hot prospect Nathan Aké parked on the bench, becoming Conte’s go-to-guy in the lauded 3-4-3 formation.

The Brazil international’s typically good construction of play shun through the pain barrier, a role maximised by the added cover of two more central defenders either side of him, whereas Luiz also racked up the most amount of interceptions (8) in a tight contest.

Luiz continues looks a shoe-in for the PFA’s Team of the Year, as Chelsea set their sights on the Premier League title. Not bad for a panic buy!

Fans Call For Midfielder To ‘Never Play For Arsenal Again’ After Awful Performance vs. Chelsea

Arsenal put in another limp performance at Stamford Bridge, losing 3-1 to see their title hopes all but ended at the hands of Antonio Conte’s men, who will surely go on to lift the trophy in May. 

Chelsea were not brilliant, but they were ruthless, and Arsenal were a lot worse. The Gunners started the game pretty brightly, but the second Chelsea went ahead through Marcos Alonso, Arsenal fell flat and never really looked like getting anything from the game from that point on. It was an all too familiar performance from Arsenal at the Bridge, and many fans have questioned the manager because of the result.

Whilst the manager certainly can be held accountable, several individuals were extremely poor on the day. The big boys, Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil did not turn up, whilst Petr Cech, another senior figure in the squad, was simply horrific. He doesn’t look comfortable passing out from the back and his reactions are worryingly slow.

But a lot of the blame will fall on the shoulders of midfielder Francis Coquelin. With Ramsey, Elneny, Cazorla and Xhaka unavailable, Wenger did have little choice but to select Coquelin, but his performance was truly worrying. Arsenal missed a midfielder that could dictate the play from deep, as Coquelin seriously struggled to get a grip on the game. His individual error saw him fail to stop Eden Hazard in the build-up to Chelsea’s second goal, which killed the game.

Coquelin completed just 82.8% of his passes, completing 0 of his attempted crosses, and 0 through balls. With just 58 passes in total, the Gunners needed someone to take more control of the game in Coquelin’s position. Xhaka would’ve been perfect, and the Gunners desperately need him back.

Defensively he made 0 interceptions – considering he offers pretty much nothing in an attacking sense, it is vital that he does more defensively, especially in big games like this.

Here’s some reaction to Coquelin’s performance from Twitter. 

Personally I think Coquelin is a good squad player, but honestly he is no more than that and deserves no more than that. A team like Arsenal, who try to control games, need a more efficient deep lying playmaker. Coquelin didn’t even do his defensive duties well today. It was a game to forget for him, and pretty much all of the Arsenal eleven. It will be interesting to see how Wenger selects his team for the crucial Champions League trip to Bayern Munich in 10 days time.

Arsenal need a fresh approach, players like Coquelin need to get out of the eleven and perhaps we need a new manager.