Tag Archives: Diego Costa

Chelsea Expect £30m Asking-Price To Be Met As Atletico Become Desperate

Chelsea boss Antonio Conte is making major changes to his Premier League champions this summer and a wealth of significant departures could occur in the coming weeks.

The Blues missed out on the services of striker Romelu Lukaku, who sealed a move from Everton to Manchester United, but have added Willy Caballero and Antonio Rudiger to their ranks ahead of a Premier League title defence.

Conte is still focused on getting further deals done, as he eyes a new striker and a midfielder, and his transfer kitty is likely to be bolstered by a sale of Diego Costa, who has been informed he’s surplus to requirements.

Atletico Madrid, despite their transfer ban that would leave any signings unable to feature until the new year, are keen to bring the striker back to the Spanish capital and The Guardian indicates Diego Simeone’s side are growing increasingly desperate.

That’s left Chelsea confident their asking-price of £30m will be met, with Atletico’s transfer plans falling apart.

What’s happened with Atletico?

Things started relatively positive for Atletico Madrid as they retained the services of Antoine Griezmann amidst interest from Manchester United, securing the Frenchman to a new contract, but their transfer ban was upheld- casting major problems for the club’s recruitment drive.

Initial agreements were in place to sign Alexandre Lacazette, Vitolo, Diego Costa and Sandro before their ban was confirmed to still be going ahead. Since then, Lacazette has joined Arsenal, Sandro has joined Everton and Vitolo is set to sign a new deal with Sevilla.

Simeone’s frustration means that Atletico don’t really have a strong bargaining position when it comes to negotiations with Chelsea and will probably have to pay whatever the Blues desire, although a £30m fee wouldn’t be the end of the world for the Spaniards.

Five Strikers Chelsea Simply Must Consider After Transfer Embarrassment

Romelu Lukaku’s career will remain in the northwest of England. Though a transfer to Chelsea was seemingly nailed on for the Belgian, a twist towards Old Trafford has led Everton’s dominating striker to join up with his good friend Paul Pogba and former boss, Jose Mourinho. Whatever went on in the background to secure the deal is as good as irrelevant now; Manchester United have got their man and Chelsea are floundering in the market once again.

Antonio Conte might be furious, the Italian may even consider walking out of the club, but Chelsea cannot afford an internal crisis or post-mortem right now.

With Diego Costa edging towards an Atletico Madrid return, Michy Bathsuayi out of favour, Tammy Abraham on loan at Swansea and Bertrand Traore sold to Lyon, Chelsea’s line-leading options are perilously short. Lukaku’s signature was a matter of when, not if, until Mourinho swept in to snatch his man and the once Special One has potentially delivered a knockout uppercut to the club he once called home.

All is not lost for the Blues, mind, and here are FIVE players who can give them hope…

Three vital contests as Chelsea look to complete double

Chelsea and Arsenal have not met in an FA Cup final since 2002. The Gunners were victorious that day, with each club having enjoyed numerous Wembley successes since. Didier Drogba has dominated this fixture in the 2000s, but the Ivorian is now no more than a nightmare for Arsenal.

Antonio Conte’s Chelsea are Premier League champions and are shooting for a double on Saturday. Arsenal, meanwhile, remain a club on the cusp of turmoil. Stan Kroenke is a man criticised frequently, Arsene Wenger’s future is unknown and key players are yet to sign on the dotted line.

With defenders missing and off the back of an underwhelming campaign, Arsenal are underdogs. Strong underdogs at that, too, with Wenger a man splitting opinion. Everything can change under the arch, and Arsenal have a good recent record at Wembley, but Chelsea are a fearsome unit led by a manager a driven as anyone in the game.

The man-to-man duels could decide this encounter. We don’t want controversy, we don’t want it to be decided on a foolish red card, we want a classic final showdown. These three matchups will be crucial if that is to happen…

Chelsea’s Italian Love Affair Destined To Continue At Wembley

Gianluca Vialli, Claudio Ranieri, Carlo Ancelotti, Roberto di Matteo and Antonio Conte. Chelsea adore Italians.

Roman Abramovich flitted with Barcelona imitation, but when that fell short, the Italian norm returned. Vialli was widely admired, Ranieri loved as the nicest man in the sport, Ancelotti brought dazzling football and a double, Di Matteo finally delivered that elusive Champions League and now Conte could produce a double of his own.

Chelsea have only won one double in their 112 year history. Ancelotti’s team in 2010 scored more goals than anyone has done in the Premier League era and entertained throughout as they teamed power with exceptional talent. Irrepressible at times, that team is one of the best in recent memory. It was a joy to watch as stalwarts Didier Drogba and Frank Lampard were accompanied by a magnificent Florent Malouda, graceful Nicolas Anelka and destructive Michael Ballack. They wrapped up their title with an 8-0 final day destruction of Wigan. Fitting.

Saturday evening brings Conte’s chance to emulate his journeyman compatriot in completing a debut season double. Conte’s would be all the more remarkable.

Chelsea finished 10th last season, they were abysmal despite being reigning champions and were a club in turmoil once again. Players were almost universally unrecognisable, controversy rumbled and they were once again being led by a caretaker manager. When Jose Mourinho joined Manchester United, Pep Guardiola joined Manchester City and Conte signed at Stamford Bridge, even a top four finish would have been deemed a stellar campaign.

Fans split over Mourinho’s departure, fans bickered over the role of the players in the sacking of their greatest ever manager. Everything looked bleak.

Then followed a summer transfer window dominated by the pursuit of Kalidou Koulibaly. Left-back was still an issue, and no one knew whether Eden Hazard and Diego Costa in particular would return to their dominant form of 2014/15. The window ended with Michy Batshuayi, Marcos Alonso, N’golo Kante and David Luiz arriving at Stamford Bridge.

Alonso suffered from the Premier League centric thinking that costs English football, Luiz’s harsh reputation went before him, Batshuayi’s price tag sat heavily on his shoulders and Kante’s brilliance at Leicester was yet to be truly accepted. Alonso, Luiz and Kante set about becoming crucial players in a Chelsea team that equalled the league’s consecutive wins record and notched 93 points. Batshuayi was a threat when called upon, but remained on the bench for the most part as Costa’s lack of injuries surprised us all.

Conte glued together a fractured squad, he showed tactical adaptability and reinvigorated careers. It should not be a surprise after a quick glance at his glorious CV, but the Italian picked up a club from the doldrums and charged to an emphatic title.

We may never know quite what happened at Chelsea in 2015/16. Conte, though, found a way to make sure it was a freak blip rather than a startling regression towards upper mid-table suffering. Chelsea could have gone the way of Liverpool and post-Ferguson Manchester United, it was down to Conte that they did not.

Their league dominance makes them clear favourites on Saturday. Fairly so, but it also takes the pressure off. Whatever happens under the arch, Chelsea have had a season far beyond the most optimistic of predictions.

Abramovich craved Chelsea recreating Guardiola’s Barcelona, but the Italian way has so often been the way for the Blues.

Analysis: Would Alvaro Morata Be An Improvement On Diego Costa?

Chelsea will certainly need a striker in the summer if Diego Costa leaves. The Spaniard has refused to rule out a move to China, whilst their remains interest from former club Atletico Madrid. It did seem back in January that Costa would move on as there appeared to be a rift between the manager and himself.

Whilst his goal scoring form has faded since the turn of the year, Costa has still managed to score 19 league goals and in my opinion, when he is focused he is the best center forward in the Premier League. The question is, is he focused now? For me it appears he might already be angling for a move away in the summer.

Chelsea will face a very tough task in replacing Costa though, I recently looked at 3 possible alternatives to Romelu Lukaku they could sign.  One player that continues to be strongly linked is Costa’s international compatriot Alvaro Morata, who continues to struggle for regular game time at Real Madrid. If he can’t get that though, the question is, is he good enough to spearhead a Chelsea attack that will not only be looking to win the Premier League, but also compete in the Champions League?

Chelsea have already secured Champions League football and look the most likely to win the league, could Costa finish at the league’s top scorer and increase his value? Compare free bets and make the most of the Premier League title run in.

Morata physically looks well built for the Premier League. He’s strong and can bring others into play, something Costa also does for his teammates. But is Morata as deadly in front of goal? Considering he has only been given 15 starts (and 19 sub apps), Morata boasts a pretty impressive return of 18 goals this season. It’s worth considering that in La Liga there is the potential to ‘pad’ your stats against the lowly sides, but Morata has always had a reputation of turning up in the big games, and he has shown that at Madrid and Juventus previously. He’s also picked up 5 assists during his limited game time.

Morata has always been a player rated highly wherever he has been and that is telling. Something he has lacked in recent years is a killer instinct in front of goal but now 24, he is coming of age and becoming more prolific in front of goal.

It looks like Lukaku and Morata are the two front runners to replace Costa should he leave. Chelsea fans, who would you prefer? For me, Morata could be a shrewder purchase and he’d probably be a fair bit cheaper than Romelu, with Everton reportedly asking for £100million to sell him. A bid of half that amount would surely be enough to persuade Madrid to part with their second choice striker, especially with the Spanish giants seemingly looking to fund a major move for Monaco forward Kylain Mbappe.

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.

3 Big Name Players Who Could Be Set To Leave Chelsea This Summer

Chelsea are having a brilliant season on the pitch, but off the pitch it looks like they may have some issues to deal with come the summer. Here are three players that could reportedly be leaving the club in the summer…

1 – Diego Costa

Costa started the season in brilliant form but since the rumours of a move away started in January, he has struggled to score consistently. There have been rumours he is not happy in London and these appear to have been confirmed in his latest quotes.

Costa revealed after his team beat Bournemouth at the weekend: “I am happy at Chelsea, I am not necessarily saying that I am happy with my life in London. But that is something totally different.”

Costa is a player who plays with emotion and when his head is not in a good place, his performance certainly suffers. At his best and his most focussed, in my opinion, he is one of the best number 9’s in the world. It will be very hard to replace him, but the likes of Lukaku have been linked.

‘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.

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 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.

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.

‘He’s The Best In The League No Doubt’ Twitter Reacts As Chelsea Star Gives Them 3 More Points

Much has been made of Diego Costa in recent weeks, with the media fuelling speculation that the striker could be on his way out of the club amid a huge bid from China. The Spaniard was rumoured to have a fall out with Chelsea boss Antonio Conte, with the manager not happy with Costa’s supposed injury troubles that have seen him out of action for the Londoners.

However, Costa scored on his return to the side as Chelsea strengthened their grip on the Premier League title, moving eight points clear at the top. The Blues top goalscorer was applauded throughout the match by the home fans, as his side won against a struggling Hull City side.

He got the opening goal of the game, converting Victor Moses’ low cross from eight yards out  and his celebration of moving hands seemed to put an end to speculation of his departure – much to the delight of Chelsea fans, I’m sure.

Here’s how Twitter reacted to Diego Costa’s performance. Do you agree?

Costa has been at the heart of Chelsea’s title bid this season, proving a real handful for defences with his strength and finishing ability. The Spaniard was the only player to have more than one shot in the side (6) and his return to the side couldn’t have been better timed, with the Londoners set for a showdown at Anfield next weekend.

It could have been a very different game had Costa not found the net just before the half time interval, with Hull doing well to frustrate the home side. They looked at risk of not making the most of their rivals shortcomings over the weekend, but Costa, once again, delivered when it mattered.

The mood following kick-off was a stark contrast to last weekend when Chelsea’s run was halted by Spurs. Diego Costa’s future was up in the air and fans were understandably worried about what that could mean for their title hopes. His return, and goal, will have certainly lightened the mood at the club as they moved closer to another Premier League title. Any risk of instability or distraction has dissipated – Chelsea are back in control and continue to roll on.

Any risk of instability or distraction, after the defeat at White Hart Lane and Costa’s wantaway strop, has been seen off now. Chelsea are back to normal, back in control, and looking likelier than ever to stroll to this year’s title.

Costa’s record at the club speaks for itself, with the 28 year old’s quality clear for all to see. Coming up with important goals for Chelsea, he is the most important player to club have, thus Antonio Conte and co. will be delighted to have him back. It would take surely take something miraculous for Chelsea to not end up lifting the trophy at the end of the season.

Could This Bayern Munich Man Be On The Way To Chelsea?

Chelsea could be lining up a Diego Costa replacement from Bayern Munich, according to reports. Chelsea fans, would you be happy with this?

The Express claim an ‘Exclusive’ that Chelsea are targeting an unsettled Thomas Muller to replace Diego Costa should the Spaniard leave the club. Conte stressed that Costa missed the game at the weekend due to a back injury, but widespread reports suggest that this is not, in fact true. Costa appears to have fallen out with the hierarchy at the club and could move on. Chelsea won’t sell him cheap though, with a £80million price tag touted by several sources.

If he was to go, Chelsea would have a large fund to try and find a replacement. But there is a lack of top number 9’s on the market right now. This might mean the club will have to opt for an alternative option. It seems Muller could be just that and perhaps he could be amongst a very small group of top players that could transfer in January.

Muller is reportedly unhappy at the German Champions after failing to hold down a regular spot in the Bayern Munich team under Carlo Ancelotti. He has started just 10 Bundesliga games this season.

“The last game against Leipzig was not optimal for me personally, since I did not play,” Muller told German newspaper Bild.

“There was more space than in the games before. It was a game I could have enjoyed. Of course, I’m not sitting there with a grin on the bench.”

That’s a very public statement of frustration. The reports suggest that Muller would be allowed to leave for a fee in the region of £75million. A huge amount of money, and something similar to what Costa would probably move for.

I can believe that Bayern would be open to selling him for such an amount, especially because he has not been an important player for them this season. They have recently signed the young attacking duo of Renato Sanches and Kingsley Coman, as well as handing a contract extension to Arjen Robben. Muller is no longer an integral part to this Bayern Munich team under Carlo Ancelotti.

But would swapping Costa for Muller improve Chelsea? Personally, I think Costa is perhaps the best number 9 in world football right now, and even with Muller at the club, I think Chelsea would be better off with Costa. He’s more of a natural 9 that is incredibly well suited to the style of play under Conte and I think that at least initially, Muller would struggle to make such a profound impact and difference.

Both players are in the prime of their careers, with Muller one year younger than Costa. They are both natural goalscorers but I feel Costa has that aggression and clinical attitude that makes him a slightly better player than the German, or at least, more suited to the Premier League.

I’m interested to hear about what Chelsea fans would think about swapping Costa for Muller. Although he is not a natural striker, Conte showed that Chelsea worked well with Hazard in the number 9 role at the weekend. Does the 3-4-3 formation require a traditional number 9, or could Muller work there?

Combined XI: Tottenham Hotspur vs. Chelsea

With yet more points dropped between the likes of Liverpool and Arsenal at the top end of the table, Tottenham Hotspur’s clash at home to Chelsea tonight sets itself up to be of the greatest importance for both sides.

For the Blues, a record 15th consecutive win opens up a nine-point-gap between them and 2nd place Liverpool, whereas a triumph for Spurs over their London rivals not only keeps Manchester United off their backs, but also sees them leapfrog 3rd and 4th placed Manchester City and Arsenal, as well as reducing the distance between themselves and top spot to seven points.

As both sides go toe-to-toe in tonight’s heavyweight encounter, Fresh Football has consulted its bubble of imagination to compile what we think an All-star Chelsea and Spurs combined XI would look like, relative to form. Here’s what we’ve conjured up:

Goalkeeper: Hugo LlorisTottenham Hotspur

There is, without a doubt, very little between Hugo Lloris and Thibaut Courtois, who stand as two of the greatest shot-stoppers in the league, if not, the world.

Both come into the game with envious defensive records; Courtois has 11 clean sheets in the league to Lloris’ seven, but the latter has conceded just one more goal than the Belgian.

Last year was a totally different experience for Courtois, however, under-performing alongside his teammates in a season to forget for Chelsea. At the same time, no Premier League side conceded less than Spurs (and Man United), which is why Lloris takes our number one jersey.

Right Back: Kyle WalkerTottenham Hotspur

As impressive as Victor Moses has been in his new-found right wing back role, there’s the argument that the Nigerian formerly considered “deadwood” would struggle defensively without the added back-up of a third centre back in Antonio Conte’s lauded 3-4-3 system.

Further north in London, there’s few who operate better at right back than Kyle Walker. Blistering pace, coupled with well-built physicality and technical ability sees the Englishman boss the entire right flank more often than not, making him vital to the way Spurs play.

Moreover, Walker already has four assists to his name this season from defence, one more than he managed last season, and so concludes one of the easier decisions we’ve had to make in this line-up.

Centre Back: Toby AlderweireldTottenham Hotspur

The Belgian’s transition to English football has been no less than impressive, joining the north London club from Atlético Madrid to steal some of the thunder surrounding his compatriot, Jan Vertonghen, in becoming the main man at the back.

Reliable, refined in possession and a notable aerial threat, Alderweireld combines traits that sees him stand as one of the league best centre halves, therefore taking this spot in our combined XI ahead of the likes of Gary Cahill and John Terry without question.

Centre Back: David LuizChelsea

Many a human welcomed Chelsea’s £30 million signing of David Luiz, a man often synonymous with erratic defending, with smiles and laughter.

In its kindest form, his signing was branded as a complete panic buy in response to Chelsea’s failure to land the likes of Leonardo Bonucci and Kalidou Koulibaly in the summer, but the Brazilian defender and Chelsea fans alike will be sure to be giving some stick back to the numerous critics.

Since the Blues’ tactical reinvention, Luiz has seen the defensive set-up form around himself at the at the heart of the defence, subsequently seeing the 29-year-old go from strength-to-strength in his return to Stamford Bridge.

So much so has been his success with Conte’s tactical shift that he’s now touted as one of the favourites to finish the campaign in the Premier League’s Team of the Season, so it’s only fair that he sits Vertonghen out of this one.

Left Back: César AzpilicuetaChelsea

Much like Kyle Walker, Rose plays a pivotal in Mauricio Pochettino’s high-pressing side, doing so well, but meanwhile the Spurs product excels going forwards, César Azpilicueta comes up trumps going in the opposite direction, hence why he’s played across Chelsea’s backline across the years. The Spaniard gets our vote.

Right Midfield: PedroChelsea

Pedro looked to be on somewhat of a downward spiral in the past couple of seasons, falling out of favour at Barcelona before failing to crack life at Chelsea last season.

Things just abruptly clicked, however, after the Blues’ heavy 3-0 defeat away to Arsenal back in September, with Pedro scoring four goals, including one versus Spurs, and assisting six since the debacle at the Emirates.

With Erik Lamela still out injured and Willian only just now beginning to find his feet in the west Londoners’ new look outfit, Pedro claims his spot.

Centre Midfield: N’Golo KantéChelsea

The first name on the team sheet. By now you will have already heard that N’Golo Kanté picked up more points alone than any other team in the Premier League since joining Leicester City in the summer of 2015. The man is just ridiculous.

Centre Midfield: Mousa DembéléTottenham Hotspur

In the same vein as Kanté, Dembélé is equally crucial to a side hoping to get their hands on the coveted Premier League trophy.

Following recovery from injury in October 2015, Spurs didn’t lose once in his presence. Contrarily, once the Belgian was suspended for his ill-tempered altercation with Diego Costa back in May 2016, Spurs picked up just 12 points from their next 11 league games.

He was, undoubtedly, the cerebral driving force among the high praise solely directed at Dele Alli, Harry Kane, among others, and the aforementioned stars proved to be a lot poorer without Dembélé in the side. An underrated entity.

Left Midfield: Eden HazardChelsea

A shining light in Chelsea’s side, Eden Hazard finally looks to be back to his best in a free role given to him by Conte.

Nine goals and two assists in the league sees the Belgian playmaker spearhead his way as one of the favourites to take the Player of the Year gong, so he’s got his place reserved in our squad.

Striker: Diego CostaChelsea

Rivalling his teammate, Hazard, to Player of the Year award has been Diego Costa, so, again, there was little chance of us leaving him out of this combined XI.

The Brazil-born Spain international has been taken to the next level by Conte, at least from a disciplinary perspective, as the 28-year-old leads the goal-scoring charts with 14 league goals so far.

Striker: Harry KaneTottenham Hotspur

For the second season running, after Euro disappointment, Harry Kane started the season rather tentatively, but alas the constant stream of goals appear to be following the Spurs number 10.

The striker’s brace versus Watford in Tottenham’s 4-1 win saw the Englishman hit double figures in the league for the season, his 59th overall after 100 Premier League games, making him hard to overlook.

3 Big Investments You Need To Make For Your Fantasy Football Teams This Week

There’s every chance that it could be another weekend filled with goals, given the sheer amount of relegation “six-pointers” and high-profile clashes coming our way in Gameweek 17 of the Premier League.

Arsenal’s trip to the Etihad Stadium and this season’s first instalment of the Merseyside derby stick out like a sore thumb, but pay special attention to West Ham United hosting Hull City, the clash down on the south coast between Bournemouth and Southampton, Sunderland versus Watford, and many more potentially goal-infested games.

With the festive period over the horizon, we appreciate Fantasy Premier League won’t be the first thing on your mind, which is why this week’s edition of Fresh Football’s tip-offs is dedicated to those players you should look to invest in while you take your eye of the ball. Here are our choices:

Michail Antonio
West Ham United
Position: Midfield
Price: £6.7m

After appearing totally downbeat a fortnight ago in response to West Ham’s 5-1 meltdown at home to Arsenal, Slaven Bilić and his men have managed to grab onto some form with a bounce-back 2-2 draw at Anfield to Liverpool and a 1-0 win over a resilient Burnley side in midweek.

The picture looks brighter ahead of Hull’s trip to east London, with the Irons taking on Swansea City and Leicester City following Saturday, all subsequently languishing alongside them in the bottom half of the table.

West Ham have the opportunity to kick-start a revival and in Michail Antonio, the goal scorer in their 2-2 draw against Liverpool and currently with seven league goals to his name, they have a potential hero guide them out of a precarious situation.

2 – Alexis Sanchez
Position: Midfield
Price: £11.7m

Sunday’s clash sees a reunion between Alexis Sanchez and his former Barcelona boss, Pep Guardiola, who’s had his fair share of success up against Arsenal in European competitions over the years. The Gunners will be without key man Shkodran Mustafi, sorely missed in their 2-1 defeat versus Everton on Tuesday, but list of absentees in the blue half of Manchester also goes a long way into opening up this clash.

Sergio Agüero headlines the list of players Guardiola can’t count on ahead of their next fixture, as he serves part of his four-game suspension, whereas midfield general Fernandinho and Nicolas Otamendi are joined by İlkay Gündoğan on the sidelines, likely to be out for up to eight months!

Guardiola will be tasked with averting Arsenal’s recent unbeaten run against City, currently without a loss in their last five league meetings, but if they continue to expose themselves as much as they have done with expansive football directly from the back-line, in particular with Sanchez and co. sniffing around, they could land themselves in deep trouble.

The Chilean leading the line for the Gunners has proved to be a revolutionary feature in north London this season, thus far leading the Premier League’s goal scoring charts with Chelsea’s Diego Costa on 12 goals, and with a double-header at home coming up against West Bromwich Albion and Crystal Palace into the New Year, there could well be more to come from Sanchez, starting Sunday.

Theo Walcott is a valid alternative, despite his poor show at Goodison Park this Tuesday, off the back of two goals in Arsenal’s last two home games, as well as occasionally popping up on the score sheet against City over the years.

3 – Diego Costa
Club: Chelsea
Position: Forward
Price: £10.2m

Winning ten out of their last ten games in the Premier League, leading the table by six points, Chelsea are without a doubt the in-form team in the division. A portion of that is owed to Diego Costa, goal scorer of the winning goal versus West Brom last weekend and owner of 11 more throughout this season, with the Spain international promising more from his startling performances.

Next up for Antonio Conte’s man is a date with Crystal Palace; an away trip that is sure to test the Blues’ endurance in what can be considered a gap year for the side relieved of its European duties in midweek, as opposed to many of their title rivals. Chelsea’s last outing on Wednesday saw them settle for a 1-0 win against relegation candidates Sunderland.

Crystal Palace are coming off a strenuous task themselves, however, as they were sunk by an 88th minute Zlatan Ibrahimovic winner in a 2-1 defeat at home to Manchester United, so the fitness worries are also there for the club that’s conceded 31 goals already this season.

Can Costa add to that count? We wouldn’t bet against it, whereas the all-action striker also has winnable home fixtures against Bournemouth and Stoke City to top up his goal scoring antics following Saturday’s early kick-off.

‘He’s A Blessing’ Chelsea Star Dubbed As Best In The World After Great Performance vs. Tottenham

Chelsea retained top spot after a well fought battle at Stamford Bridge against London rivals Tottenham Hotspur. Christian Eriksen gave the away side the lead after a thunderbolt strike but goals from Pedro and Victor Moses saw the three points remain with Antonio Conte’s men as they extend their run to seven consecutive league wins.

We take a look at the numbers behind the Blues top performer, Diego Costa, after another majestic performance saw the Spanish international grab an assist whilst giving Spurs defence something to worry about every time he was on the ball.

The 26-year-old was influential for the Blues, his assist for the winning goal was excellent – the way he drived past Dembele / Wimmer was so impressive, he glided past with ease showcasing a bit of neat footwork before driving the ball into the on running Moses’s path.

Although Costa did not get on the score sheet like he has so many times this season, he was showing why he is more than just a goal scorer with two key passes, one leading to the winning goal. What is most impressive about Costa’s game, which other strikers shy away from, is when the going gets tough, he gets tough. The Spanish international does not mind getting back for his side and doing the defensive work, with the Chelsea striker managing four clearances against Tottenham Hotspur.

The striker is working very hard for his teammates if things aren’t going their way, he will chase down any long ball which can relieve pressure on his side, this is the attitude Conte has managed to bring out of him after a below par season last term.

In another excellent display, Costa had 44 touches, making 25 passes finishing with a 72% pass accuracy. The Chelsea man helped his side take maximum points which see them sit top for another week, after another quality display we take a look at how Twitter reacted to Costa’s performance.

As you can see, Costa’s performance did not go unnoticed and rightly so, he was excellent once again and proved why he is arguably the best number nine on the planet at this current time in his deadly form. If he is not scoring, he is creating goals, if he is not creating, he is working tirelessly. A truly brilliant player who could fire his side to Premier League glory once again if Antonio Conte’s men were to keep up this supreme form.

‘Best In The Country’ Huge Praise For Chelsea Star After Middlesbrough Performance

Chelsea have been marvellous in recent weeks and on Sunday they moved to the summit of the Premier League with another impressive win and clean sheet. The goal came from Diego Costa, the Spaniard is just one player that is performing much better under Antonio Conte. 

Since the move to a 3-4-3 Costa has had more attacking support from the likes of Eden Hazard and that has seen him move to the top of the goalscoring charts. With the defence keeping 6 clean sheets in a row, Costa’s goals have proved crucial in winning games for Chelsea. He’s now netted 10 in the Premier League, that’s two more than his closest rival Sergio Aguero.

Costa was deadly in his debut Premier League season but last year he really struggled, along with most of the Chelsea squad. Conte has crucially managed to get Costa and Hazard back to their best. Doing that has ensured that his team are much more clinical going forward and he defensive re-shuffle has enabled the team to also be extremely efficient defensively.

On top of all his goals, Costa has shown his ability to be a team player and has managed 3 Premier League assists, in comparison Aguero has none. Costa’s overall ability has led to many calling him the best forward in the league. Not only is he a clinical player, but Costa fights hard for his team, using his physical attributes to create space and opportunities for his teammates.

Of course his goal was the most important contribution to the game for Chelsea on the day, but it wasn’t his only one. Here’s some more stats from the big man’s performance. Costa had 3 shots, and made 4 key passes against Middlesbrough. He also completed 41 passes, 1 through ball and 2 dribbles. Defensively Costa put in his usual shift and made 2 interceptions – overall he earned an impressive WhoScored match rating of 8.31.

Here’s how the fans are reacting to Diego Costa’s most recent performance on Twitter. 

As an Arsenal fan I have to declare my admiration for Costa. He’s a truly brilliant striker and the perfect player to play as a lone frontman in the Premier League. He has everything and aged 28, in his prime, Chelsea must appreciate they have one of the best players in the Premier League right now. With him and Hazard in form, of course they can win the league.

Despite Aguero’s obvious brilliance, I think if I had to choose one player to have at Arsenal right now it would be Costa. The man is a real winner, hard as nails and everything you want in a front man. He’s got more to his game than Aguero and is capable of performing against many different types of defences.


Chelsea vs. Manchester United: 3 Key Battles That Will Decide Who Wins

It may seem as though José Mourinho has a grudge match scheduled for every weekend these days, but this one is truly eye-catching. The Portuguese manager returns to Stamford Bridge on Sunday, only this time he’ll be sitting in the opposing dugout, as Chelsea welcome his Manchester United side.

Just how fractious Mourinho’s decision to join a competitive rival has been for his relationship with his former club remains to be seen, as both teams go head-to-head in what undoubtedly looks to be the main event this weekend.

We’re not sure whether there’ll be any love lost, be we think we may have a pretty good idea where the crucial three points may be won on either side. Here are the three key battles to look out for:

1 – David Luiz vs. Zlatan Ibrahimovic


John Terry may well be on the brink of a return to the first-team after a spell out injured, but time will tell whether the Man United game comes too soon for the Chelsea skipper.

In his absence, David Luiz has deputised, somewhat unconvincingly next to Gary Cahill in the big games, and he could well find his stint in the starting XI extending itself for another week if Terry isn’t fit enough to start.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic often combats with the right-sided defender, in this case Gary Cahill, but it’ll be interesting to see if Mourinho instructs the big Swede to target his former Paris Saint-Germain teammate.

Contrarily, Chelsea may use Luiz’s knowledge on the fiery Swede when formulating a defensive duo in light of Terry’s potential return.

‘One Of The Best In The World’ Twitter Reacts To Chelsea Stars Stunning Performance vs. Leicester

Chelsea picked up three vital points on Saturday as they hosted the Premier League champions. One Chelsea player who really stood out on Saturday was Diego Costa, who was once again on the scoresheet and his overall performance left many viewers incredibly impressed. 

Whilst Costa’s goal will get the headlines, it was perhaps his industrious defensive work that impressed fans most. When he is at his best and in the mood, he is a very good defensive forward, hustling and harrying defenders from the front and putting pressure on the opposition, forcing mistakes and creating more room for the midfielders around him. Statistically he made 1 tackle and 2 clearances, but the Spaniard’s work rate cannot be put into a statistic. If you ask the Leicester City defenders what they thought of Diego Costa today, they’ll say that they are relieved to hear the full time whistle, as Costa is always a nightmare to defend against. There’s not only a technical battle to have with him, but it is the physical and mental battles where Costa often comes out on top.

In an attacking sense, he had just 2 shots, scoring 1 and he also made 1 key pass. Of course his clinical nature in front of goal is what is helping Chelsea rack up the points at the moment.

Whilst Costa was not the most involved today, the fact that he has scored again is really promising for Chelsea fans. In fact, he is the top goalscorer in the Premier League. If he can win the golden boot then Chelsea have a great chance of finishing in the Champions League spots – and that has to be the main aim for this season after last campaigns disappointment.

Here is some of the reaction to Diego Costa’s performance on Twitter. Even opposition fans are in awe of his goalscoring form. 

Diego Costa has had a wonderful start to the season and Chelsea fans will hope that can continue for the entire season. It is his third campaign in England, the first of which was also wonderful for the Spaniard, he won the title and scored goals for fun. But like much of the Chelsea team, Costa really struggled last season (Costa’s 2nd). This summer the press linked Costa with a return to Spain, with Diego Simeone incredibly keen to bring him back to Atletico, and you can see why. But Conte will be delighted he stayed put as he is incredibly important to this team.

3 Players You Need To Put In Your Fantasy Football Team This Week: Ft. Arsenal & Chelsea Stars

With the England international scene in a bit of a sorry state, the Premier League returns in good time to hog our attention span. Spoiling us with big match-ups, such as Manchester City versus Everton, Crystal Palace’s London derby against West Ham United and the eagerly-anticipated Liverpool – Manchester United clash on Monday night, Fresh Football will also be on the scene to point you in the right direction with regards to your Fantasy Premier League choices. Here are our three hotpicks:

1 – Laurent Koscielny

Club: Arsenal
Position: Defender
Price: £6.2m

Arsenal’s backline appears to be in good nick, so much so that the newly-formed duo of Laurent Koscielny and Shkodran Mustafi have conceded just once in their last four games together. On their way to the Emirates Stadium this weekend are Swansea City, who, in Bobby Bradley’s debut as the Swans’ manager, may be more concerned with thwarting the in-form Alexis Sanchez and Theo Walcott than anything else.

A more committed approach to defending from the visitors is sure to improve the odds of another clean sheet for Arsenal, who will have to keep an eye open for the aerial threat conveyed by Fernando Llorente, Borja Baston and Leroy Fer, among others. In the meantime, Koscielny could also arise as a goal scoring threat at the other end when the opportunity presents itself.

‘Best Of His Kind In The World’ Twitter Reacts To Chelsea Stars Superb Performance vs. Hull City

Twitter was full of praise for a certain Chelsea player on Saturday after his brilliant performance saw the London side run out 2-0 winners. 

Chelsea have not been in the best of form recently, but one player who keeps working is Diego Costa. He was again hugely influential in helping Chelsea to a positive result on Saturday, assisting Willian for the opener before scoring a brilliant second goal to seal the 3 points. Those points are crucial in helping Chelsea maintain pace with their title rivals, they had slipped behind after London rivals Arsenal comfortably beat them 3-0 last week. It was important for Chelsea and Conte to bounce back fast in the unforgiving Premier League and Costa’s brilliant individual performance helped them do just that.

So a look at the stats; firstly Costa was named the WhoScored man of the match with a very impressive rating of 8.81. The Spaniard’s most telling contributions were, of course his goal and assist, but his impact were not just limited to these vital moments. Throughout the game Costa used his superior strength and clever tactical approach to get the better of the Hull defenders. He managed 4 shots, 3 of which hit the target. He was also creative throughout, making 3 key passes and 38 passes overall. Costa could be described as the whole package: he’s got brilliant strength, pace, goalscoring and technical ability. He showcased this again on Saturday, making three successful dribbles.

Here’s some of the reaction from Twitter after the game. 

Chelsea fans will now hope that Costa can maintain his brilliant form. His start to the season will need to continue if Chelsea are to have a realistic chance of finishing top of the Premier League, or perhaps even in the top four. After a catastrophic campaign last time around, Chelsea need to re-establish themselves as a Champions League club, and the focus should be on ensuring that they manage to finish in the top four – anything less would be another terrible season for a team who won the league under Mourinho just two seasons ago. Football moves fast, and who knows, maybe they will quickly swing back to the top again? Saturday, albeit against Hull, was a solid performance all round, especially from Costa.

Fantasy Football: 3 Premier League Players You Need In Your Team This Week (ft. Liverpool, Chelsea)

Following the EFL Cup interlude, the Premier League returns with a series of games to draw our eyes to, in particular the London derby between Arsenal and Chelsea, Leicester City’s visit to Old Trafford ahead of their clash against Manchester United and Tony Pulis’ return to the newly-named Bet365 Stadium, where his West Bromwich Albion side face-off versus former club Stoke City.

As always, Fresh Football will be here to attempt to aid your Fantasy Teams, as we switch our attentions to a list made up entirely of potential goal-getters ahead of Gameweek Six. You can read more advice in our Fantasy Football section. Here are our three hotpicks:

1 – Sadio Mané
Position: Midfield
Price: £9m

Liverpool, with two wins against Leicester City and Chelsea in their last three Premier League games, have emerged as potential candidates for the league title this season, as they welcome a Hull City side, currently winless in their last three outings prior to this week’s league cup clash, to the newly-renovated Anfield stadium.

The Tigers struggled to cope with Arsenal’s pressing game last weekend in their 4-1 defeat at home, a style so synonymous with Jürgen Klopp’s Liverpool; meanwhile the Reds will be boosted further by the likely returns of Daniel Sturridge, Roberto Firmino, Adam Lallana and Georginio Wijnaldum following a 3-0 win versus Derby County in midweek.

In front of an excited home crowd, we’re tipping Sadio Mané to cause Hull’s defence all sorts of trouble in what *should* be a routine victory for Liverpool.

Player Ratings: Swansea City 2-2 Chelsea

These are Fresh Football’s player ratings for Swansea City’s home Premier League game against Chelsea:

Swansea City

Łukasz Fabiański – 7

Very good at claiming low crosses and safeguarding the goal as best as he could.

Kyle Naughton – 5.5

Struggled to thwart Eden Hazard in the first half, but his performance gradually improved.

Federico Fernández – 5

Arguably culpable in Chelsea’s first goal, as his headed clearance found itself to Oscar.

Jordi Amat – 5

Often embroiled in physical disputes with Diego Costa, Jordi Amat was fairly fortunate not to be red carded throughout the game.

Stephen Kingsley – 5.5

Shifted from centre back to left back and did okay with the little support he had on that particular flank.

Neil Taylor – 4.5

The Wales international was taken off shortly before half-time, with his team generally on the back foot in his presence.

Jack Cork – 5

Left a few gaps behind him by being sucked into pressure, which could have been costly with the right decision-making.

Ki Sung-yueng – 5

In combination with Cork, struggled to get ahold of the midfield and protect the back five/four.

Leroy Fer – 6

The Dutchman was a bit of a let down in the first half, but grew as the game went on, scoring Swansea’s crucial second goal.

Gylfi Sigurðsson – 5.5

Struggled to get on the ball, but the former Spurs man was on hand to fire the Swans level with a penalty in the second half.

Fernando Llorente – 5

Left isolated up top for the best part of the game.


Modou Barrow – 7

Swansea owe much of their change in fortunes to Modou Barrow, who worked the channels brilliantly and played the pass that saw Gylfi Sigurðsson win a penalty for the South Wales side.

Àngel Rangel – N/A


Thibaut Courtois – 5

A shaky performance from the Belgian. His distribution was often nervy-looking and inviting, whereas his misjudgement of Barrow’s pass to Gylfi Sigurðsson in the first half gifted Swansea a comeback.

Branislav Ivanović – 6.5

The Serbian offered quality in his support to Willian on the right flank in the first half, but Barrow’s introduction soon exposed the gaps left at the back.

Gary Cahill – 6

Won his fair share of duels versus Llorente throughout the game, but there’s a case to be made for the ex-Bolton defender being at fault for Leroy Fer’s goal, as he went down easily in surrendering possession.

John Terry – 7

A strong, solid performance from John Terry right throughout the game.

César Azpilicueta – 6

Quiet stuff from Azpilicueta, as most of the action came down Ivanović’s flank.

N’Golo Kanté – 6.5

The Frenchman was super effective at recovering possession, but his grip on proceedings began to wear off as the game progressed.

Nemanja Matić – 7

A performance reminiscent of the good times for Matić, especially going forwards.

Willian – 6

The winger was typically quick and direct, but his execution in dangerous areas was lacking.

Oscar – 6.5

A decent performance from the Brazilian, whose most notable contribution was an assist for Diego Costa’s first goal.

Eden Hazard – 7.5

A menace to both Kyle Naughton and right-sided centre back Federico Fernández. The Belgian looked the likeliest to turn the screw completely in Chelsea’s search for a winner late on.

Diego Costa – 8

Two goals in an action-packed afternoon for Diego Costa sees Chelsea earn a vital point for their second-half troubles.


Cesc Fàbregas – 6

Didn’t have too much time to leave a lasting impression on the game, but Fàbregas did offer a threat with one or two defence-splitting passes.

Victor Moses – 5

Like Fàbregas, Moses didn’t have time on his side with regards to making an impact and, well, he didn’t.

3 Replacements For The Banned Aguero In Your Fantasy Football Team

So Sergio Aguero is banned for 3 matches. Can you really afford to keep such a valuable asset not scoring points for 3 weeks? We don’t think so and because of that we’ve drawn up a list of three possible replacements for your Fantasy Football teams.

1 – Zlatan Ibrahimovic

Price: £11.8m
Next 3 matches: Man City (h), Watford (a), Leicester City (h)

First, the obvious option. Zlatan has already scored three Premier League games and as a man of the big occasion, you would expect him to play a big part in the Manchester derby this weekend against a Manchester City defence that still looks rather frail. After that United have two games that they will be heavy favourites for, but remember that both Watford and Leicester can set up rather strong defences against the big teams. Zlatan’s ability to score in every way though, makes him very hard to defend against and that makes him a reliable, albeit expensive, option for your Fantasy Football teams.

It may be a case of one or the other for your teams when Aguero does return. Between them they cost just short of £25m, making them an incredibly expensive duo to have should you want to include both. If you opt for Zlatan to replace Aguero then it may be a 3-week trial for the Swede to see if he’s capable of replacing the Manchester City striker permanently.

Player Ratings: Chelsea 2-1 West Ham United

These are Fresh Football’s ratings for Chelsea’s home game versus West Ham United in the Premier League:


Thibaut Courtois – 6

A generally quiet night for Courtois, who was left stunned by James Collins’ half-volley in the 77th minute.

Branislav Ivanovic – 5.5

The Serbian defender was always willing to bomb forward, typically, but his execution was lacking.

Gary Cahill – 6.5

Cahill lost his fair share of aerial duels to Carroll, but remained solid for the best part.

John Terry – 6.5

The Chelsea captain saw little traffic in his neck of the woods, often found circulating possession from the back.

César Azpilicueta – 6.5

Despite being a little detached from attacking phases, Azpilicueta popped up at the right time to win his side a penalty in the second half.

N’Golo Kanté – 8

The former Leicester man looked in total control of midfield from open play, despite being limited by a yellow card that was picked up as early as the second minute.

Nemanja Matić – 6

Matić was regularly involved in Chelsea’s build-up play, but much like his compatriot Ivanović, that final pass was a little bit of an issue.

Willian – 7

The Brazilian caused havoc on the right wing in combination with the roaming Oscar before being subbed off for Pedro.

Oscar – 8

Among the Blues’ most creative components, Oscar also demonstrated through his combativeness just why Antonio Conte could opt for him over Cesc Fàbregas.

Eden Hazard – 8.5

The star of the show, Hazard looked his usual self again on the left flank, torturing the likes of Michail Antonio and Sam Byram before tucking away his first league goal from the spot.

Diego Costa – 6

Nothing seemed to come off for Costa, totally man-marked by Collins, but when Chelsea needed it most, he came up with a goal to clinch all three points in the 88th minute.


Pedro – N/A

Michy Batshuayi – N/A

West Ham United

Adrián – 6.5

Made a couple of good saves to deny Chelsea the first goal of the game, but could ultimately do little to stop Hazard’s penalty or Costa’s late strike.

Michail Antonio – 4

Tormented for much of the night by Eden Hazard, Antonio also made the mistake of trying to dribble out of his own box, subsequently losing the ball to César Azpilicueta and giving away a penalty. The England hopeful was hooked off soon after for Sam Byram.

Winston Reid – 6

Kept things fairly tight at the back before Batshuayi’s entrance saw him and his centre back partner become a little stretched.

James Collins – 7

West Ham’s goalscorer kept Costa under wraps for the best part of the game, but saw the Spain international escape his grasp late on to steal a victory.

Arthur Masuaku – 5

Not the easiest of official debuts for the ex-Olympiacos full back, who was pegged back all game in Willian’s presence.

Håvard Nordtveit – 4.5

The former Arsenal and Borussia Mönchengladbach player was left chasing shadows before making way for Dimitri Payet.

Cheikhou Kouyate – 6

Kouyate looked up for the battle in the middle of the park, which he eventually lost.

Mark Noble – 6

The West Ham skipper attempted to bring the Hammers out of their own half on numerous occasions, often via the long ball to Andy Carroll, but saw his influence silenced by Chelsea’s dominance.

André Ayew – N/A

Injured and replaced in the first half by Gökhan Töre.

Enner Valencia – 4

Plenty of running and nothing else from the Ecuadorian.

Andy Carroll – 5.5

The target man won his fair share of headers, but was starved of action for most of the game.


Gökhan Töre – 4.5

A difficult game to come into for Töre, who also went totally unnoticed.

Sam Byram – 4.5

The right back came on to thwart Hazard, didn’t quite do so before the Belgian’s substitution, but his case to start at right back may have grown stronger after Antonio’s display.

Dimitri Payet – N/A

Not Lukaku: Chelsea Could Seal £60million Transfer This Month

Chelsea could be still involved in some serious business before the window closes this month.

With all the speculation surrounding a move for Romelu Lukaku, there could be transfers that fund that move. According to reports in Italy, Chelsea have already rejected a £51million bid from Napoli for Diego Costa. The rumour is that Costa could leave the club to return to former club Atletico Madrid, but Napoli are now also armed with a war chest of money following the £76million sale of Higuain to arch rivals Juventus.

It looked recently as if Costa would remain with Chelsea but the interest from Napoli may have changed everything. Aged 27, Chelsea will be desperate not to lose a striker of that calibre for the peak years of his career.

Costa was one of the main reasons Chelsea won the league in the 2014/15 season and despite his poor form last campaign, Chelsea fans will be keen to keep hold of the Brazilian.

Because of the money Napoli have, the club are armed with some serious power in the market and they could financially blow Atletico out of the water. There have been rumours that Arsenal are willing to pay Griezmann’s £70million release clause, a transfer that could send all sorts of dominos flying.

Time will tell..

Analysis: How Alvaro Morata Could Fit In At Chelsea

Chelsea manager Antonio Conte has refused to give up hope in their pursuit for Real Madrid striker Alvaro Morata, despite reportedly having bids rejected previously. 

Madrid signed the Spanish international this summer after triggering his buyback clause in his contract. Morata finalised a move to Spain for just £23million and it has been widely reported they want to immediately sell their new man for a hefty profit.


With Diego Costa possibly moving back to Atletico Madrid, Chelsea are looking to sign a new striker. Morata remains first choice but Belgian international Romelu Lukaku who left the Blues in 2014 has been seen as a viable back-up option if they fail to agree terms with Madrid.

Chelsea have already signed one striker this summer after securing the services of Michy Batshuayi for a fee of £33million. Although they still have Spanish international Costa in their ranks, they appear to be in the market for one more prolific striker ahead of the new season, as uncertainty remains over the future of Costa.

Morata has been on the lips of everyone this summer, he showcased his ability for Juventus last season and one performance that really stood out was his individual performance against Bayern Munich last season at the Allianz arena, there are few players as gifted as Morata and he certainly showcased it that day. Morata often impresses on big European nights and he typified the Juventus courage in their loss to Bayern. Morata single handily demolished the Bayern back line with delightful skills and high pressure, he made their defence surrender into making mistakes, which led to the forward bagging a deserved assist.

Another big occasion which Morata thrived off was in the Coppa Italia final, Morata came off the bench to score the winning goal in the 110th minute to win 1–0 against AC Milan.

A clear weakness of the 23-year-old is his killer instinct in front of goal, scoring just 15 goals in two seasons in Italy, it will have come as no surprise if many clubs didn’t want him because of that record. But, he still oozes brilliance and the goal-scoring will surely follow as he matures. He is still very young and will no doubt flourish and realise his potential as he moves into his peak years. Standing at 6ft 2′, he uses his power and pace to get at defenders and uses his trickery to dazzle defences.

Morata is well suited to many roles he is told to play in, a well-rounded forward, Morata is of course best in his natural role as a main striker, but he has superb traits in linking up play between the lines and can often drift out wide to collect the ball if needs be.

Morata has many aspects to his game, he is very good in the air and can hold up the ball with neat close control, quick feet and excellent movement sees Morata shine on the pitch, with a clinical presence hopefully to follow soon. The Chelsea and Arsenal target stood out for his energy and work-rate on the pitch, and although I have talked a lot about his lack of killer instinct, he has scored several crucial goals due to his positional brilliance.

How different is he to Diego Costa?

Diego Costa has a real eye for goal and has impressed in his short time in England thus far, his finishing stands out over Morata, managing 36 goals in 78 appearances for Chelsea since arriving from Atletico. The Blues forward has a real tendency to make a key pass and this is seen as a real strength of Costa’s play. He has an obvious weakness though and that is his offside awareness which could certainly annoy Conte, with the Spaniard’s attitude deemed lazy at times.

His stature and physical style of play which saw him settle very well in England. His style of play suits the Premier League down to the ground. The 27-year-old has strong dribbling abilities which has helped him out massively in his career, as he can also create chances for himself and not rely on his team-mates. Although he doesn’t possess dazzling skills, Costa uses his strength to glide past defenders, and when he is in form, there are few defenders in Europe that are capable of stopping him.

The real question most Chelsea fans will be thinking is can Costa play with his Spanish compatriot Morata, or will a move to Stamford Bridge open up the exit door for Costa? If the duo combine well they’d stand a great chance of winning the league. Here are the latest Premier League odds.

Both players possess unique abilities in their game and are near enough different on every level. Unlike Morata, Costa is a mean striker with a killer instinct in and around the 18-yard box. Morata drops deep and plays as number 10 at times as he is most comfortable when collecting the ball, whilst Costa often sticks between the centre-backs and looks to finish off counter attacks. Both bring different traits to their game and it would be welcomed at Chelsea as they would benefit from playing together, with Morata dropping off and feeding Costa. But, contrary to reports suggesting Costa will stay with the arrival of Morata I cannot personally see it happening.

Chelsea have just signed a very young exciting striker in Batshuayi who scored 17 goals in Ligue 1 last season. At the tender age of just 22 Batshuayi is already a mature clinical presence. He is strong and fast, similar to Morata and he’s quick and deceptive with his feet. He will love the skill and speed of the Premier League.

He has already developed into a very mature and instinctive finisher with fantastic movement in and around the penalty box – I don’t think he will be happy on the bench.

Chelsea will find it hard to fit all three players into the squad and keep each of them happy, Conte is even looking internally with Ruben Loftus-Cheek allegedly learning to play as a striker, he has previously played predominantly in central midfield.

The arrival of Morata could see his Spanish teammate depart London, Costa has come under strong criticism of late due to his “foul” play and seemed very unhappy last season. Atletico are desperate to land their former star and a return to Vicente Calderón Stadium could certainly be on the cards this summer after just two years away.

Perhaps Batshuayi and Morata could be the new strike partnership in a 3-5-2 formation for Conte?

Reports: Chelsea Look Set To Complete These 4 Transfers Now That Conte Is Back

New Chelsea boss Antonio Conte expects the club to have a massive summer ahead of the new Premier League season. Chelsea are close to completing a deal for Michy Batshuayi and two other players have been identified for this summer as well as one main departure, we take a look at three ins and one out which are set to take place at Stamford Bridge this summer.

1 ) Kalidou Koulibaly

According to reports, Chelsea have won the race to sign Napoli defender Kalidou Koulibaly and are expected to pay in the region of £30 million to secure his services.

The Senegalese international has decided to leave Italy this summer, having failed to reach agreement over a new contract with the Serie A club.

New Chelsea manager Antonio Conte who will start his reign in seven days after Italy’s elimination from the Euros wants to build his side around the 25-year-old, and the Blues have stolen a march on London rivals Arsenal who were also keen.

Koulibaly has represented France u20’s 10 times before opting to play for Senegal nation team where he has started five games.

Koulibaly has arguably had his best season of his career this year. Napoli pushed Juventus for the title and he was certainly a main factor to that. Diego Maradona labelled him the best defender in Serie A.

The Gunners, who are desperate to sign a centre-back this summer were very interested in Koulibaly, but, the player appears to have opted for Stamford Bridge after interest from Arsenal, and other Premier League clubs coming too late.

Chelsea Prepare £20million Package To Sign Big Improvement On Diego Costa

Reports in France have claimed Chelsea have offered 34-year-old Paris Saint-Germain striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic a two-year deal worth almost £10million a season. The news follows Ibrahimovic’s comments as the striker recently revealed he will “not be at PSG next season” unless PSG replace the Eiffel Tower with a statue of him, of course. 

The transfer of Zlatan Ibrahimovic could be a shrewd piece of business by Chelsea, who are looking to bolster their attacking options to compete for major trophies next season after what looks to be a disappointing campaign. Having won the league title everywhere he has gone, Ibrahimovic would provide Chelsea with much-needed experience and a winning mentality following the club’s loss of its spine in recent years – players such as Petr Cech, Frank Lampard, Didier Drogba and now John Terry have all departed.

Stat Focus

Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s stats from the 2015/16 campaign highlight the quality he could provide Chelsea. In 24 Ligue 1 appearances for the recently crowned champions, Ibrahimovic has scored 27 goals, contributing to an impressive 35% of the goals scored by the French giants in their Ligue 1 campaign. In comparison, Chelsea’s main striker Diego Costa has scored just 11 goals in 24 Premier League appearances. Loic Remy (30 apps 8 goals) and Radamel Falcao (9 apps 1 goal) also have a poor goal scoring record when compared to the Swedish striker.

The 34-year-old’s stats also challenge certain conceptions, such as that he is a selfish player – Ibrahimovic has provided 14 assists in 38 appearances this season, compared to Diego Costa’s 6 assists in 37 appearances. Ibrahimovic also has an impressive pass completion rate of 79.5%, compared to Costa’s 78.1%. Although being 34 years of age, and with the 27-year-old Costa unlikely to be satisfied with sitting on the bench, these stats show the Swedish striker could provide Chelsea with some much needed healthy competition. Other than just goals, Ibrahimovic provides assists and quality link-up play, whilst also bringing experience, a winning mentality, and he would certainly keep Diego Costa on his toes.

Chelsea will  however have to face-off interest from a number of other clubs looking to bring in Ibrahimovic, including Premier League rivals Arsenal and Manchester United. French newspaper L’Equipe have claimed Manchester United are leading the race for the Swedish International, and Football Insider Dean Jones has said Zlatan Ibrahimovic should be in an Arsenal shirt. Thierry Henry has also revealed on Soccer AM that Ibrahimovic would be interested in a move to Arsenal.

However, with Chelsea’s need for a consistent goal scoring striker and the addition of winning mentality and experience to their squad, combined with their strong financial resources, it would not be a surprise for the Swedish striker to be wearing blue at the start of the 2016/17 season.

‘Embarrassing And Deluded’: Twitter Hits Out At Chelsea Boss

British TV viewers were treated on Sunday morning to Jose Mourinho live on Sky Sports’ Goals On Sunday, where the Chelsea manager went into overdrive complaining about referees and particularly yesterday’s 1-1 draw with Burnley.

The Blues felt aggrieved yesterday as they had two shouts for penalties turned away, including one blatant incident involving Diego Costa. Whilst Mourinho had every reason to be upset, rival fans were not happy with his comments- whilst Chelsea fans were loving it.

Whether the Premier League takes actions if they feel Mourinho crossed the line remains to be seen but Twitter made their own judgement- and here’s some of the best.